Introduction to Morphing in After Effects
Morphing in After Effects is used to do a seamless transition from one image to another. So, it can be any image or shape or vector graphics. The origin of morphing can be traced back to the 16th century when a painting named Tabula scalata with two images was divided over ridged or grooved surface as each image was visible only from a particular angle. Morphing occurred when changing from one angle to another. Mechanical transformation leads to morphing in the 18th century like the use of mechanical magic lanterns slides which change the appearance of the figure.
In this article, we will morph shapes in after effects. We will look at 2 examples in which we will morph rectangle to the triangle, and then we will morph triangle to rocket.
Examples to Create Morphing in After Effects
Below are the two different examples to create Morphing in After Effects:
Example #1 – Morphing Rectangle to Triangle
Step 1: Create a new project and you will get an interface as shown below. If you do not see as shown below then go to Window > Workspace > Default which should bring us on the same screen.
Step 2: Now right-click in project window to create a new composition and give a name and leave other things as default.
Step 3: Next in the timeline window right click and create New > Solid.
Step 4: After creating the solid background click on lock icon and set the shy switch to on so that we do not accidentally select the background.
Step 5: Now select a rectangle tool or press Q and create a square by pressing shift and if the anchor is not in the center then select pan behind the tool and adjust the anchor to center. You can press ctrl to snap to the center. So when we do animation the transitions are calculated from the center.
Step 6: Now select the polygon tool and match its size to rectangle and center everything aligning both square and triangle to the composition. Also, set polystar path 1 points to 3 so we get a triangle. Reduce the opacity of both shapes so we can see the path to modify. Press T for transparency from which you can directly change the opacity.
Step 7: This is the important step to select the path of both layer and convert to Bezier path.
Step 8: Now ungroup the rectangle shape so we can get the path to animate and also rename the shape layers triangle and square respectively.
Step 9: After ungrouping set a keyframe for the path attribute at around 15f on the timeline by clicking on the stopwatch icon and it turns blue which means the key is set for the frame selected in the timeline. Then move the slider to 20f and adjust the shape of the rectangle to the triangle.
Step 10: After adjusting the path of the rectangle as a triangle. After moving the timeline to about 1-second press N which will reduce your work area and you can test repeatedly without clicking the timeline to zero.
Step 11: To view the final render, we can either export it from after-effects or use adobe media encoder which is a separate program used for encoding and video rendering.
Step 12: Now we will use media encoder to export since the advantage of it is that we can keep working on the project while the encoding and rendering will happen in the background. If we choose to export from after effects than it would not matter in small projects but in large projects, it can take a long time depending upon the settings.
Example #2 – Morphing Triangle to Rocket
Step 1: Now you know the basics of morphing as you have transformed rectangle to the triangle. We will now morph triangle to a more advanced shape of a rocket.
Step 2: For this section, I will use and illustrator vector file which has the shape of a rocket and morph its path to a triangle to get a cool effect.
Step 3: We will create a new composition as multiple compositions can be created in one project.
Step 4: We have created a solid with a dark gray background and hidden it and set the shy so we do not change the background.
Step 5: Double click on the project window and import the rocket.ai file. You can create your own file or you can download any ai which contains demo shapes of the rocket.
Step 6: Using a polygon tool creates a triangle as done previously. Then convert the .ai file to shapes by right-clicking the .ai file and create > create shapes from the vector layer. We can delete the original .ai file.
Step 7: Add an effect by going to effect > generate > fill and Select white color.
Step 8: Add a keyframe for the path attribute for the rocket. Now we have to transition those points into a triangle.
Step 9: Adjust the path of the rocket to the triangle as shown below. Also, reduce the opacity so we can see the changes in the path.
Step 10: All path points of the rocket should be aligned to the triangle as shown below. To properly align you should use Bezier handle which will change the length and the angle of the curves.
Step 11: Now hide or delete the triangle shape as it is not needed anymore. You can now see that after playing the animation on the timeline that the rocket is converted to a triangle. So, what will do is that select the keyframe of transition to the triangle and put it ahead of the rocket.
Step 12: After playing the animation you see that the triangle is morphed into a rocket-like sci-fi movie which shifts the shape of the character to achieve a morph effect.
Step 13: Finally, we can do some enhancement as now we can see that the animation is linear. We can add some easing which will give us a nice effect.
Step 14: To do that add it to select all the keyframes by drag selecting and right-click and select keyframe velocity. In the popup set the influence to 75% for the incoming velocity and the outgoing velocity.
Step 15: Some helpful shortcuts. Hold ALT and double click on any keyframe it will bring the keyframe velocity popup. Hold CTRL and click on any keyframe will remove easy ease
We have successfully completed the basics of morphing in after effects as we have converted shapes from one form to another. Similar techniques can be used to achieve advanced morphing of faces and images.
This is a guide to Morphing in After Effects. Here we discuss an introduction and two different examples to create Morphing effects in the step by step manner. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –