I have bit of a difficulty figuring out a simple morph effect.
I need to have a shape of a map's outlines morph into a word. From what I gathered so far, I can only do this if my map is a mask and the end result (i.e. the word) is one mask, so I must create the text so that the letters are close to each other and overlap, and let go of inner 'holes' or any extras after I use 'Layer>Auto Trace'. This leaves me with a word that's not so legible, so I would have to then create another text layer and somehow fade into that to complete the effect.
I wondered if there's a smarter way to do this in one move, and if there's a way to let me have better control over how the mask's points are morphing.
Look into using Mask Interpolation. You will find this in the Window Panel.
Also, the way you're doing it sounds about right because you can only morph from one SINGLE mask shape into another SINGLE mask shape. And since your text has more than one shape, what you're doing sounds about right.
THe Mask Interpolation Panel has lots of parameters which will be very handy BUT not perfect for your needs.
You can also do the first stage of your morph using the Reshape effect. Here's a COW TUtorial by Chris Zwar - Morphing in AE 5.5.
Another option for you is to create the larger map using (with smaller sized mask shapes) the same number of masks as your text characters.
This way, each mask shape from the map can morph into individual text characters, thus allowing you to do everything in a single pass.
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Sorry, I didn't see your response until now..
I ended up using paint stroke morphs, as I've seen on Eran Stern's tutorial http://library.creativecow.net/articles/stern_eran/Paint_Strokes_Morph/vide...
This way I morphed a brush-stroke painted map into a word that was also painted,
and faded that out into a real text layer. I added force motion blur because the motion blur wouldn't work.
It ended up looking not too bad.
But I still want to try the mask interpolation way you've described, it might lead to different looks.