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'Poser 7 Revealed': Create Morph Targets

In the latest excerpt of Poser 7 Revealed, Kelly L. Murdock describes how to use the Morphing Tool to create morph targets.

All images from Poser 7 Revealed: The e frontier Official Guide by Kelly L. Murdock.

This is the next in a new series of excerpts from the Thomson Course Technology book Poser 7 Revealed: The e frontier Official Guide. In the next few months, VFXWorld readers will develop the skills needed to create, render and animate scenes and projects using the amazing tools offered by Poser 7. We will offer step-by-step tutorials for each task, followed by projects that allow readers to apply each new skill.

What You'll Do

In this lesson, you learn how to create morph targets.

Once a figure is deformed using the Morphing tool, you can use the Create panel, shown in Figure 1, to create and save the deformed object as a morph target.

New Poser 7 Feature

The Create panel of the Morphing tool is new to Poser 7.

Creating a Morph Target

Once the surface of an object is deformed, you can use the deformation to create a new morph target. Morph targets appear within the Parameters palette as a new named parameter. Dragging the Parameter dial changes the deformation between the full deformation amount (with a value of 1.0) to an inverted deformation (with a value of 21.0). Morph targets provide an easy way to create subtle surface changes and they can be animated.

[Figure 1] Create panel of the Morphing tool (left). [Figure 2] Brush size is displayed (right).

Within the Create panel are several methods for deforming the morph. They include:

Push. Causes the vertices to be pushed inward toward the center of the object.

Pull. Causes the vertices to be pulled outward away from the center of the object.

Smooth. Causes a general smoothing over the entire surface, thus eliminating any extreme peaks or valleys.

Restore. Causes the vertices to gradually return to their original location.

The position the vertices are moved as you drag over them and the move can be based relative to the Surface of the object, or relative to the Screen. You can also choose the Brush size and Feathering options using the Presets or with the Radius and Magnitude parameters.

The Accumulate option stacks the changes on top of one another so that more painting yields more of a change. The Stroke option lets the vertices move only one magnitude value for each time you drag over the vertices. You can also select the group that the changes are applied to. This helps prevent changing the wrong sections.

The Display Mesh option shows the original mesh under the morph changes. The Display Brush option shows the brush as a cursor over the surface of the object, as shown in Figure 2. This option provides some feedback about the size of the current brush. The brush also displays a gradient showing the areas where the effect is a maximum and how the brush's power falls off with distance. The hard edge brush doesn't have a gradient.

The Mirror option includes selections for defining the symmetry axis. When enabled, any changes on side of the object are mirrored to the opposite side automatically. This is a great way to make sure that changes on either side of the face or body are symmetrical. Zero Morph resets the vertices to their original position.

Saving a Morph Target

The Save a Copy As button in the Create panel opens a dialog box where you can name the new morph target. This new target is then added to the Parameters palette where you can test out the changes.

Spawning a New Morph Target

With a deformation set to its maximum value, you can create a new morph target using the Object, Spawn Morph Target menu command. This command opens a simple dialog box where you can name the morph target. This name appears in the Parameters palette for the selected object. Figure 3 shows a new morph target created for a serious condition called Chipmunk cheeks caused by stuffing nuts in your cheeks.

Deleting Morph Targets

To delete a morph target, open the Hierarchy Editor, locate and select the morph target and press the Delete key. Morph targets will be visible when the Show Parameters option is enabled. The morph target will be located under its object. You can also delete the morph target using the Delete Morph command in the pop-up menu to the right of the parameter.

[Figure 3] Chubby cheeks morph target. 

Creating Full-Body Morphs

If your figure includes several morphs that you want to include together in a single morph target, such as a figure flexing all his arm muscles, you can create full-body morph targets using the Figure, Create Full Body Morph menu command. This command makes a simple dialog box appear where you can name the morph target. The morph target appears in the Parameters palette when the Body actor is selected.

Splitting Morph Targets

You can split an existing morph target into its right and left halves using the Split Morph option in the pop-up menu. This creates two new parameter dials labeled right and left with the original name.

Create a Morph Target

1. Open Poser with the default figure visible.

2. In the Camera Controls, switch to the Face Camera to get a close up on the head.

3. Select the Morphing tool in the Editing Tools and click on the Create panel. Choose the Push mode and the smallest brush. Then enable the Display Brush option.

4. Drag the brush over the forehead to add some deep creases. Then drag around the edges of the mouth and to the side of the nose, concentrating on the left side of the face.

5. Once the left side of the face looks good, choose the Mirror, +x to 2x option to apply the wrinkles to the opposite side of the face.

[Figure 4] Aged face. 

The wrinkles add some age to the figure, as shown in Figure 4.

6. Click on the Save a Copy As button and name the morph target wrinkles.

The wrinkles parameter dial appears in the Parameters palette.

7. Select File, Save As and save the file as Aged morph target.pz3.

Split a Morph Target

1. Choose File, Open and select and open the Aged morph target.pz3 file.

2. Open the Parameters palette and select the Split Morph option from the pop-up menu to the right of the Wrinkles parameter dial.

Two new parameters, one for the left side of the face and one for the right side of the face, are added to the Parameters palette.

[Figure 5] Now, only half the face has aged.

3. Set the Wrinkles_Left dial value to 1.0 and the Wrinkles_Right dial value to 21.0.

This causes only half of the face to be wrinkled, as shown in Figure 5.

4. Select File, Save As and save the file as Split morph target.pz3.

Find out more about how to put the power of Poser 7 to work as you learn how to use the new Talk Designer to automatically sync facial animations to an audio track, combine the power of Poser 7 with other software packages, create new motions using the new animation layers feature and much more. Check back to VFXWorld frequently to read new excerpts.

Poser 7 Revealed: The e frontier Official Guide by Kelly L. Murdock. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology, 2007. 592 pages with illustrations. ISBN 13: 978-1-59863-296-5; ISBN 10: 1-59863-296-5 ($29.99).

Kelly L. Murdock has a background in engineering, specializing in computer graphics. He has worked on several large-scale visualization projects, created 3D models for several blockbuster movies and has worked as a freelance 3D artist and designer. Murdock is the author or co-author of several books, including seven editions of the 3ds Max Bible, two editions of the Illustrator Bible, Adobe Creative Suite Bible, Maya 7 Revealed, LightWave 3D 8 Revealed and Poser 6 Revealed. He works with his brother at his co-founded design company, Logical Paradox Design.