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A morph is how an object changes from one state to another. Morphs are normally using character animation to control facial expressions, for example to make a character smile or look sad. We're going to use that same technique to open and close our shark's mouth. This is just our shark, as it was left off at the end of the modeling chapter, and it's got the body here as polygonal object and the gums for the upper and lower parts of the mouth. Now, what we want to do is create a morph for this lower jaw that gives the illusion that the shark's mouth is opening and then closing back up again.
So in order to do that, I need to add a Morph tag to my cube. I'm going to right-click on the cube and go to Character Tags > Morph. When I do that, I see the properties for the Morph tag and it already has Morph Target highlighted. Now this Morph Target is what's called a morph state. The Base Morph is how your object look before you edit the Morph tag and the Morph Target is the state that you'd like your object to change to. So let's rename this and call it Open. We need to edit the polygons in the geometry of this shark and make his actual mouth open so that it will match the word Open here on the state.
So, in order to do that we're going to, in Point mode selection geometry for just the lower part and then drag the points down and open the mouth up. So first thing I need to do is select all the geometry that is on the lower jaw. So I'm going to go into Polygon mode. I think that's going to be little bit easier to do. I'll select the first few points on the object. Now double-check and make sure that you have Only Select Visible Elements selected for your Selection tool and I will grab just these polygons on the front of the shark.
Now I'm going to use a command under the Selection menu called Grow Selection. I'm going to tear off this menu, so I can repeatedly hit the Grow Selection command. I hit Grow Selection and look what happens. My selection expands to the adjoining polygons. Now I'm going to hit Grow Selection one more time, it expands one more time and I'll hit it one more time after that. Now I need to double-check and see which polygons are actually selected. I want to start to add in any polygons that aren't there. I want this little triangle right here and I want this little guy right here on the other side.
I want to be very careful that only select the polygons that I want, but more importantly I have to make sure that I have them on both sides of the object. Now I've orbited inside the shark here. I want to HyperNURBS off for just a second. Now let's hide the selection palette and I'm going to hold down the Shift key and grab those polygons right there underneath and grab these two polygons at the back of the throat and I think we've got just about everything we need.
So if I orbit around to the outside, if I grabbed the axis handle for these and on the y-axis and drag them down, I should be able to see all of those polygons moving. Now if I'd the missed a polygon, you'd see one left behind there and it could create a weird deformation in my object. So I'll undo that. Now I know I've got all the polygons selected. So all I have to do next is rotate them. So I'm going to some to rotate these polygons down a little bit and then move them just a bit so that my shark looks like his mouth is open.
You can see that as I orbit around, it looks pretty open. It's a little bit jutted out though. I really want to have it pushed back a little bit. So I'll switch to Point mode and make some fine adjustments of these guys. I want to add in Point mode, grab just these points that are inside the mouth and just drag them down so that the gullet opens up a little bit. Then grab the points that are in the front part of the mouth and pull them back a little bit. His jaw is extending too far forward as it opens and so I want it to actually be just a little bit tighter, and closer in to the back of the throat.
So let's grab the Rectangular Selection tool and in the side view, I'm going to bring that to the foreground here and grab just these points and then move them back a little bit. There we go. I think that's looking pretty good. Now I'm going to get out of Point mode and then go back to my Morph slider. You can test your morph,= by clicking on the Animate button. When I click on that as I move this slider, it leaves you in the 100% mode which is the morph state, and as I move this back to zero now, it goes back to the original state.
So when 100% is open, 0% is closed. Now I think that open is looking not too bad. It's a very normal part of the process to need to go back and forth between the Edit and Animate state. Sometimes you get lucky like I just did and hit a pretty good morph on the first try and then other times you need to go back and tweak it. All you need to do to do that is to click on the Edit button, select the Open state and then continue moving your polygons around and your points. Let's turn HyperNURBS back on and just see how our shark looks as it's morphing with the HyperNURBS on.
If I twitch my mode back to Animate, I can adjust that slider and you see it gives a very smooth transition from the open state to the closed state and back again. So a morph is a really powerful tool for animation and it really makes something that would seem complicated, like opening a shark's mouth, very easy to accomplish.
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