Software That Lets You Blend Images The Way Hollywood Does

Morphing is coming to the masses. Short for metamorphosing, the computer-based special effect has become a staple in movies and on TV. In Michael Jackson's Black or White music video, for instance, it helped create the eye-catching sequence in which faces from all around the world blend into each other seamlessly. San Diego-based Gryphon Software Corp. has adapted the technique for home computers, too. Its Morph program for Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh recently won a Software Publishers Assn. award for personal creativity. In May, Gryphon released Morph for IBM-compatible PCs that run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows.

The $169 program can morph just about any still image into another. Their colors don't have to match, but they must have the same resolution and roughly the same dimensions. The tricky part is choosing the key spots of the first image that are to blend into corresponding spots on the second image. The program guides you through the process, one step at a time, and eventually produces a smoothly animated sequence of images that resembles a video clip when displayed. The software was scheduled to make an appearance on the Joan Rivers Show on May 26 to morph the comedian-host into hunk actor Mel Gibson.