Morphing and Motion Control

Morphing

Morphing is not a new technique, and one of the earliest forms of morphing is the cross fade, used in many 20th century films. A cross-fade is where the image slowly fades from a character or object to another object or character. Morphing, comes from metamorphosis and  means blending and it is an editing technique where images are blended into one another or drastically change over several frames. The trick is to do this smoothly. The first time it was used in Hollywood was in the film Willow (1988).

Initially morphing was a novelty effect, but from the 1990s it has been replaced by computer software and nowadays it is heavily used and in a way that is not visible to the eye.

Motion Control

Motion control is a technique or process controlling a camera and its movement, in respect to its position and rotation in 3d space. The aim is to create a flawless repetition of movement in a scene, of characters. In pre digital times it was extremely difficult using  traditional camera work to film the same scene with the same action twice in exactly the same way. Nowadays you can control camera movements with the help of computer programs.  The only realistic alternative to motion control is using the virtual camera in CG software.

Motion control is roughly used in seven ways:

1) Repeat Moves: You can make elements disappear and reappear, duplicate crowds, film actions at different speeds, change back/foregrounds, etc
2) Miniatures: You can film miniatures, rotate camera moves and match scales
3) Camera movement control (incl. lighting)
4) Combine live action with CGI
5) CGI Import: Used for complex/impossible moves, weird shapes. It stands for any move-data that is transferred from 3D CGI software to a motion control camera
6) Bullet-Time – Mixing live-action and time-slicing (the Matrix)
7) Audio timecode triggering, used in music videos.

Matrix Bullet Time explained:

Interesting reads:

Examining The Evolution Of Motion Control Techniques

The 7 uses of Motion Control

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