Distort morph is a total train wreck

I am having such a super buggy problem with morph using distort its literally driving me insane has anyone had much luck using it, I am on the current software and don’t remember having so many problems with it
Besides the fact that it seems so long overdue for an update , no icons selected view, no planar tracker it just seems this is a really neglected area , granted I only need to use it about 3 times a year.

yeah, It hasn’t been touched in a looong time. The gmask shapes are old gmasks.

I was having an issue with it and someone on here suggested I make old-gmasks and then load them into the distort node, which worked great. Maybe that’s an option?

it’s a bummer because the tool is so powerful and with some love could be one of the go-to solutions for Flame.

yea its a real bummer they should rehaul it a bit to modernize it a keep it up with gmask tracer, if you so much try and retime or adjust everything it all goes haywire its very temperamental and it really shouldn’t be.

Sam Edwards did a great tutorial on FXPhD a few years ago doing morphs in Action with extended bicubics

https://www.fxphd.com/details/474/

Cheers
Tony

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yea its not really using it I kind of get the flow of the procedures its more the if you step outside and try and do anything different or shift timings, track, icons that’s sort of thing it can break pretty quickly. I just slid the shot using a bfx which I usually do and all the keyframes were stacked in the animation curve so that broke it.

I guess I would like to add I think this tool would be amazing candidate for machine learning tools as well with some manual meshes would be really neat. I think the amount of times I use ML timewarp for morphing its pretty amazing how that can deal with it

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I’ve used the method Tony linked, and I think it was Sam that demonstrated. Move the UV’s of a bicubic to features on the before image, track the UVs. Do the same on the after image, line up those vertexes and dissolve between the two. You can also animate the vertexes moving from the before image to the after image locations for the kind of stretchy morphing in old school 90s morphs.

if you have an FXPHD membership @john-geehreng did an episode (class?) on the distort module. You will need to abandon any logical thinking whatsoever with distort but once you grok distort you can do a lot with it.

https://www.fxphd.com/details/407/

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I think I used distort for Power Rangers morphs back in the 90’s, then it was apparent they weren’t touching it again and I bailed.

@justinbromley and I were bunt pretty badly by a bug in distort when using Flame 2018

There are only two layers in distort and it mostly goes un noticed but the top layer is the layer that fades off during the morph. Both layers can be distorted but only the top layer can fade.

Half way through the job the priority order changed! No setting we could adjust. It just wigged out.
All of our warping keyframes wasted and pointless because the bottom layer that doesn’t fade off, came to the top and just stayed there :angry:

Since then I have just gone for extended bicubics in action. Love the FXPH btw @SamE @TonyRichards that talks about extended bicubic morphing :heart_eyes:

There is no doubt that the spline distort is far superior to the old skool warp (desktop) or the extended bicubic but I just got burnt and found a replacement.

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I am starting to get a rhythm down now , but its totally temperamental and you absolutely have to do things in a certain order or it freaks out and trying to recover it is almost pointless. It is an amazing tool and does work better than anything else in flame but it certainly showing its age and lack of any development love in a long time, I know I don’t use it all that much but its definitely one of those tools when you have multiple morphs on a show its nice to have it just wish they could revise it and modernize it and take some of those bugs out.

Ah distort node…

It is PERFECT for some tasks that are a total pain in the arse with extended bi-cubes.

But as @PlaceYourBetts pointed out @space_monkey it is as buggy as hell. I really, really got totally burnt by it in 2016, and managed to use it again in 2019 without it fucking up too much, but then a job in 2020, once again, it totally flipped out and was un-usable. Once that thing corrupts, all pervious versions that were fine when you saved them, become corrupt as well… It ALWAYS seems to happen on super complex morphs with many (like 12 or more) splines in the mix…

It’s a pity becasue it is a useful tool for those morph jobs…

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Have to give a shoutout to the deform mesh. It has its own issues, like the Outside button, but I think its a better all-arounder than bi-cubics or distort.

I love Distort for slightly smushing pixels around.

Since Distort doesn’t require a spline to be closed, I most often make a single-point spline and track it to the feature I want to work on (say a button on a shirt). Then you can grab the destination spline and move it around, say to align that button to all the other ones that are in a straight line.

Sometimes I’ll add additional non-closed splines (lines, arcs, etc.) around the initial point spline to protect the surrounding area from being transformed.

Other random thoughts…
– I almost always lower the Range value to 5% (the minimum) to keep the effect of the distort as close as possible to the splines.

– The default Resolution value noticeably softens the image so I always end up lowering it all the way. At that point there’s zero image degradation but boy does the node slow down!

– I wish F1 & F4 worked to show Front & Result like every other Batch node.

– Why can’t Axes be hidden?!

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Never knew there was a way around the degradation! Thanks for the tips!

the icons hidden thing is a giant red flag that they haven’t circled back and made it more consistent with the rest of the software, if they could at least add icons off , icons selected and planar tracker that would go a long way imho.

I have the established habit of re-view a tuto for make morphs once every three years. :laughing: :man_facepalming:

Anyway, it’s not only morph. I think the distort mode based in curves (not grid) is great . Sometimes better and more accurate than extended bicubic/uv vertex specially with animations.