Database for Animation Studies


Developing Expressive Ani-Morphs

The expressive potential of the morph is most fully realized in animation, a technique known as the ‘ani-morph’. Though ani-morphing has a fascinating history, there is no critical systematization of this technique that allows for direct comparison of one such transformation to another. This article introduces a taxonomical framework that provides a consistent and organized method of examining the visual expressivity of the morph, enabling comprehensive comparisons to be made between diverse morphing sequences. This framework is particularly useful in evaluating the practice of ‘continuous ani-morphing’, or the use of multiple morphs in sequence. The article begins by entering into a detailed taxonomical analysis of several ani-morphs, first by typifying each category of the taxonomy, and then following with a full cataloguing of their progressive stages. A case study supports the conclusion that high expressivity in continuous ani-morphing exists in sequences that employ a range of object relationships and feature-based mid-morphs, particularly through highly active and spatial transformations. The stylistic development of the ani-morph ultimately is instructive in predicting the future of the photo-real or digital morph. Though continuous photo-real morphing has yet to demonstrate the level of expressivity apparent in the history of continuous ani-morphing, the evolution of ani-morphing ultimately suggests how the expressivity of the photo-real morph will develop in the future.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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