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Morphing a globe

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Jack CookMorphing a globe
by on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:59:36 pm

I,m trying to morph a globe using displacement maps. I've got a bunch of both grayscale and matching color maps of the Earth in numerous prehistoric geological states and I want to morph them sequentially using the grayscale maps to morph the geometry. I also want the corresponding color maps to morph at the same time. The only thing I can get Cinema to do is to dissolve between the various states, not actually morph from one to the other. I've made the sphere an editable object.

I've tried changing materials over time, changing the texture maps within one material and key framing it, and the Morph deformer. I can't seem to get anything to work. Is it even possible to do this in Cinema 14?

thanks, Jack

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Adam TrachtenbergRe: Morphing a globe
by on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:50:06 pm

There's no direct way to morph a texture in a material, but there are several approaches to approximate what you're after:

1. Layer Shader fade or cross fade:
Create a layer shader in color and/or displacement channel and then right-click on the word Layers in the shader properties. Select the User Interface>Show Sub-channels option.

At the bottom of the properties you'll now see a new set of sliders which can be keyframed or addressed by Xpresso to create a fade or cross-fade between textures. In my sample file I've created a simple Xpresso setup with user data on the parametric sphere.

2. pose morph tag to morph displacement:
Not difficult, but some more steps involved. First, you'll need a high resolution sphere because you're going to use the displace deformer to create the displacement. You'll need three copies of the sphere because you're going to use the "current state to object" command to bake the displacement into the mesh.

So create your two displacement materials and place on one sphere and the other on another sphere. Now add a displacement deformer to each sphere and set the mode to emulation. That tells the deformer to use the material displacement channel. Adjust the displacement height and then run current state to object on each one. Delete the original objects that have the deformers, and remove the materials from the new objects.

Now, on your undeformed sphere, add a character>pose morph tag. Then drag your displaced spheres into the Poses box. You should be prompted to select Yes for absolute or no for relative. I used absolute, but I think either would work.

Check the "Animate" radio button and now you can animate your displacement morph. Unfortunately this doesn't work for color, but you could combine the two methods.


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Jack CookRe: Morphing a globe
by on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:55:51 pm

Thanks, Adam, I'll be playing with these techniques. I hadn't thought of using Layers in the material.


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