Review: Morpheus Photo Animation Suite

Take a photo and alter it for fun or profit! (October 31st, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: Morpheus Software, LLC.

Price: $49.99 US

The Good

  • Easy to use. Powerful program for the price. Universal application.

The Bad

  • Some graphic glitches. Would not import some photos.

Morpheus Photo Animation Suite is a compilation of three products: Morpheus Photo Morpher, Morpheus Photo Warper, and Morpheus Photo Mixer. The application suite lets you combine two photographs, create morphing animations between a series of images, and exaggerate or alter the features of a photograph. It is reminiscent of Kai's Power Goo from a few years back.

Morpheus Wizard

The application starts with an easy to understand Morpheus Wizard window. It lets you pick the type of photo edit you want to try. The wizard is the easiest way to start, because the menus are a bit intimidating at first, until you learn the terms that Morpheus uses. I experienced one Wizard glitch where the preview window didn't show the photo colors correctly. Once I moved on, the images were fine and ready to be morphed.

Wizard screen


Morpheus Wizard

Easy to Understand Interface

The layout is similar for each of the three types of project. So, it is easy to understand all of them once you learn how the program works. Having used photo-morphing software previously, it was easy for me to figure out the interface and method. New users can read the steps on a small text window that accompanies your project.

By placing color-coded dots on either of the images, and moving them to the desired position, you instruct the program what you want to move where. For example, when morphing two different faces together, you would match up all of the facial features so that you don't get a nose morphing into an eye, unless that's what you want to do.

Once you like what the preview window shows, rendering the image is quick and easy. A slider bar in the preview area lets you change the degree you would like to morph or mix the photos. If you are making a morph animation, the rendering time depends on the format you choose, how many frames are included, and what kind of compression you want to apply.

The Output

My final images rendered well, but included some minor hiccups that existed because I didn't spend a lot of time placing and moving the dots. In one instance, one of the photos drew at the wrong dimensions. My animations turned out well. One bit of advice for your animations: If you want to make an animated GIF file, it is best to use a similarly colored background for your subjects, because GIF files are only capable of 256 colors. I found the resulting gradient between two different colored backgrounds was messy looking.

Photo Warp

Warping a photo works similarly to what you see in the Photo Booth distorting effects, except you decide where the distortions happen and to what extent. This is fun for families who want to send silly holiday greetings or in marketing to make caricatures for advertisements.

 galenmorph1  galenmorph2
Galen Normal Galen Warped

Summary

Overall, Morpheus Photo Animation Suite is fun to create a variety of pictures. For basic users, it is straightforward to use. For those who desire more functionality, the application has an advanced mode that enables many different functions for fine-tuning the output of the animation or blend. How practical the application is depends on the person using it, but I feel that it is worth the price based on the feature-set and that it is quite approachable.

Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9, 400MHz G4+ or Intel, 256MB RAM. Most of the tests were completed on an Intel 20" 2.16GHz iMac in Mac OS X 10.4.10. The software functioned well on an Intel 24" 2.3GHz iMac in Leopard also. It seemed to choke a bit on a G4 1.67GHz PowerBook.

by Galen Wood with ilene Hoffman


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