What is Morph Blender?
Morph Blender is messiah's system for creating facial animation through morphs. (Of course it has other uses, but it seems to get most of its use doing lip synch and other facial animation.) It is similar to Morph Gizmo, so if you're familiar with that, you'll have no trouble with Morph Blender.
Why do I want it?
Because it's the easiest and quickest way yet to do facial animation. The sliders give you complete control over the morphs.
How do I use it?
Well, naturally, the first thing you need to do is create your base object and its morph targets. The number of targets you can use is virtually unlimited, although it's usually best to keep everything as simple as possible. Unless it's an effect you are intentionally going after, overdoing it with face targets is one of the big pitfalls of character animation.
Setting everything up in messiah is simple. Just load your base (default) object, then add the Morph Blender effect from the Setup tab. Next, click on Load Cluster/Object (on the Cluster Create block) and load in all of the targets, then click on New Slider at the bottom of the block. Now, use the pulldown lists on the Cluster Value block to select which object you want to control with each slider. When you're finished, click over to the Animate tab and start animating.
What else should I know?
Morphs work based on an object's points, so you can save some room in RAM by killing all of the polygons in the morph target objects (for example, press k in LightWave's Modeler).
The morphs work based on the difference between the location of points compared to the base object. For example, if you have a target object that has the eyebrows raised but no other changes compared to the base object, then Morph Blender will allow other targets to affect other parts of the face. So each slider (morph target) will only affect the portions of the object that are changed in that target. If you ever used the old Morph Gizmo plug-in (written by the same two programmers), it worked the same way.
Since effects can be layered, you can make the character's head into a separate object and use Puppet Master to attach it to the body. That way, your morph objects are just for the head-- much more manageable than the whole body would be.
By default, morphs are applied before any transformations (move, rotate, scale). If you would like the morph to happen after (which can be tricky to work with), click on the Morph Blender link below for information about the Process After Transformations option.
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