Whatever happened to …

… morphing images?

It was one of our first trips into the realm of multimedia.  Our goal, at the time, was to do more with multimedia applications that simply taking pictures.  Our authoring program of choice was Hyperstudio.  Then, they came on television as a commercial.

Remembering the California Raisins!

One of the ladies that was part of our team had been to a MACUL Conference and had attended a workshop inspired by the California Raisins and the animation techniques used to create them.  And, more importantly, how it could be brought into the classroom.  That took us down the path of clay animation.  This led us to purchasing Clay Animation kits – there was only one one the market at the time.

It wasn’t a totally new concept – we all grew up playing with Play Dough – but somehow having the coloured clay and the sculpting tools inspired us to do more.  The best part was the software that allowed us to “stitch” pictures together using the technique of frame animation.

It was tedious work.

You would take a picture and then change the character a bit and then take another picture.  Do this enough time and you could then make yourself a movie.  There was another aspect to this.  The software could actually create additional frames between the pictures that you took.  You would pick focus points and the software would do its best to make a smooth transition between the frames.  Repeat until your movie was complete. Some of the best products could be as long as 30 seconds!  Mine would typically be shorter; it was real work.  But, in the hands of students, they would create very inspirational pieces.  Part of the kit included “googly eyes” that seemed to make their way into every production.

By today’s standards, the software was pretty single purposed but it did the job for us.  For a while, every computer project had some sort of morphing aspect to it, it seemed.

As usual, my kids would be my guinea pigs for new ideas.  Here are a couple of pictures from a movie my daughter created and eventually became “Bub’s Rose”.  In post-production, obviously we cropped out the background noise but she had created this rose that was closed and leaning to the left.  A bunch of pictures later and it had straightened itself and opened itself to reveal what was inside.  Kudos to green pipe cleaners (chenille sticks).

Your thoughts?

  • do you remember the California Raisins?
  • have you ever created something with frame animation?
  • where do you see the elements of morphing today?  (I can think of all kinds of examples)
  • in these days of “making”, do you see a place for morphing images?
  • have we lost the desire for this with the ease of doing other things with cameras and tablets?

As always on a Sunday, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Please share them via comment.

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts?

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

2 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Back in the early 1970’s we didn’t have much in the way of graphics. A group of us did play with line drawings. Specifically we would start with one shape and have it morph in several steps to another one. I wonder if I should have students do the same now?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recall a time when my two children would do a series of drawings, each with a small adaptation, to be flicked into movement upon completion. They were always delighted with their mini movies.

    Liked by 1 person

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