Man to monster-- morphing?

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  04 April 2002
Question Man to monster-- morphing?

I work in MAX 4.2, and I want to make a character whose entire body goes through a diabolical sort of transformation-- from a fairly normal looking man to a sinuous, spiky monster that moves like something out of Aliens. The number of limbs is the same, thankfully, except for the addition of a tail. I'm wondering, is morphing even the way to try to do this, or is there some other method? What with all the new joints, spikes, exposed bony structures, and whatnot, the monster model will be MUCH more complex than the man's, how the heck do I give them both the same number of vertexes? It'll take forever to line up all the extra ones in the man for him to look right, seems like there'd be a better way. I'm just starting out with this stuff, I've never tried anything that complex before, so I thought I'd ask before trying a bunch of things that have no chance of working.
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  04 April 2002
This will be tricky to accomplish convincingly.

You can't morph directly between two different objects because Max's Morpher modifier requires that both objects contain the same number of verts (and indeed those verts need to be in the same order).

Here's what i would do:

1)Take your human character and clone it. Now, without altering the vert count in any way (so no welding, creating detail, deleting, cloning etc), edit the mesh to get as close an approximation of your alien mesh as possible. Apply a Morpher mod to the original human character and capture the edited clone as a target.

2)Now do the same for the alien character (tweek it to look like the human, capture it as a target).

3)Once that is done all that is left to do (yeah right) is to animate the transition. You'll need to have both characters in the scene and use visibility tracks to blend between them and you will need to use a lot of judgement to keep tweeking until it looks right. Of course, you may have to work out how to blend the materials a bit better.

Personally though, I would be tempted to use a traditional 2D morphing package to achieve this effect. I am pretty sure the results would be better.
  04 April 2002
So, basically, a stunt double effect... where I have to cover up the spot where the actor disappears and the double comes in to do the jumping... or in this case, snarling and clawing... damn, that's what I was afraid of. For the scene I have in mind, it absolutely would not work, I want to really dig in and show the details of the transformation happening, especially in the face. Guess I'll have to put off this little disaster waiting to happen until later, when I'm the sort of Godlike Modeling Entity that could acheive such a thing.... *wistful sigh* :(

  01 January 2006
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