Morpheus Photo Animation Suite - Fun Software with a Few Caveats
written by: Andy Dunn•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/24/2009
Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard does a great job of morphing animations. The creation process is both simple and fun. The results are quite pleasing. Unfortunately, it seems that making profit by up-selling and installing unwanted software may be more important for this company.
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Morpheus Photo Animation Suite has three different versions: standard, professional, and industrial. This review pertains to Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard. Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard is a fun piece of software that allows you to make several different kinds of morphing animation. The creation process is easy and the results are very good. However, the quality of the software is spoiled by a couple of unexpected and unwelcome issues.
First, Morpheus Photo Animation Suite is the entry level to a more expensive product. Allume Systems, which makes Morpheus Photo Animation Suite, doesn't provide a simple up-sell on the website or through an infrequent pop-up. The company chooses to fill the basic product with all of the menu options and toolbar buttons of the more advanced version and attach a dialog box essentially saying 'please buy the more expensive version.' It makes the basic product look far richer than it really is and gets very annoying when you can't remember which items are enabled.
The second and, in my opinion, more serious issue is the addition of two 'bonus' packages, which are fairly well hidden in the installer as part of accepting the end-user license agreements (EULAs). We are all accustomed to choosing the affirmative answer at the EULA to get on with the program. If you are not careful and don't read every dialog box you will end up with copies of Dealio and SnapViewer installed. Neither appear to have any value to the core product and both install browser add-ins that you probably don't want.
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Price to Value
Rating What's Hot: Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard is currently available for $29.95. It allows you to create three kinds of morphing with basic control on the morphs and has many common output formats. It's a powerful piece of software at that price. The professional and industrial versions cost more but come with more features.
What's Not: Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard would be a better value if the company charged $5 more and didn't include the unwanted software. That additional software, by the way, is not mentioned anywhere on their website.
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Installation & Setup
Rating What's Hot: The installation process of Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard is standard and well done.The application automatically detects newer versions and asks if you wish to upgrade.
What's Not: The upgrade process in Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard is where the Dealio and SnapViewer applications are installed. They do not appear to come with the base install, at least not in the review copy I was provided with. However, when the upgrade runs you are presented with three EULAs to accept. The first one is the EULA for Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard and the next two are for Dealio and SnapViewer. Most folks are very used to glancing at these pages and clicking 'I agree.' However, in this case, the radio button says 'I agree and please install Dealio/SnapViewer' whereas the other option says 'I do not agree and do not install.' I'm sure that Morpheus justifies this by saying "but we give you the option."
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Rating What's Hot: The user interface in Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard is very clear. There are the usual menus and toolbar buttons. A wizard pane give you clear instructions on what to do next. The main work areas show the start and end images and a third pane shows you a real-time preview of the current morph, which can be played back at any time.
This is the only real UI in Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard and it serves its purpose very well. From this screen you add and move control points on the left and right images. The control points control how the image moves from the original to the destination. A large screen will really help when using this application. [See image 1]
What's Not: Several options that appear enabled initially in Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard are actually up-sells to the professional version. Each time you run the application these buttons and menus re-enable themselves, which is very confusing.
I initially had some confusion when control points were added that were white on a white background which meant I lost them. It's possible to change colors on the control points once you discover this issue.
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Rating What's Hot: Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard has three basic morph types: Morph between images, warp images, and photo mix (which allows you to blend 2 images).
You can also choose to add futher morphs using the timeline editor to create a whole series of animations.
The output is in SWF (Flash) or animated gif. Individual frames can be output in all of the common image formats. In addition, you can share your animtion with your friends at a hosting blog provided by Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard.
Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard ships with several well done samples for you to learn from.
What's Not: There is no AVI option in Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard.
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Help & Support
Rating What's Hot: Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard has forums for support that appear to have staff or experts answering questions. They do not allow email or phone support.
Morpheus Photo Animation Suite Standard has built in help, FAQs, and a set of tutorials.
What's Not: When I tried to contact Morpheus via email to discuss the bundled software and how it gets installed they ignored every email sent to them. (Note this is not product support but sales support, and with a contact they provided for such interaction.)
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1. Lose the 'bonus' software or at least make it opt-in by default. 2. Detect the background color behind the control points and ensure they do not match.
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For just under $30 Morpheus Photo Animation Suite is a great product and a lot of fun to play around with. I'm sure you will lose many hours turning pictures of your friends and family into animals and more.
However, be very careful during the installation process to avoid downloading Dealio and SnapViewer.