Help creating dissolve effect the follows topology for animation


I’m looking to create a dissolve effect that can start from multiple origin points which then expands to follow the topology (rather than a radius to the origins) until its covered the entire mesh.

I can create this effect based on radius but key technical issue is I want it to follow the flow of the topology like when you grow selection in the edit mode tab or expand selection in zbrush.

some ideas I’ve thought about

  • using a vertex gradient to drive a mesh mask with smooth enabled
  • using geometry nodes like shortest distance to find the and expand to the next poly over time
  • using empties and meshes for origin points (intersections with mesh) that tart the effect that I can quickly reposition to find the best results
  • I tried geometry nodes and a shader but both need a way to expand along the topology and I don’t know blender that well
  • manually painting gradients or baking them is way too slow and looking for a dynamic solution

Here’s a link to my old example I created in zbrush that I want to replicate in blender

Example effect

a wip of the updated version just using voronoi noise

Any ideas are much appreciated. I’m also considering putting proper hair on her and also using a basic rig with blend shapes to give her some subtle movement.


A new blender convert from the grind of 3ds max and Maya and loving how powerful fast and flexiable it is!

I think geometry nodes would be the best solution to this, maybe using edge neighbors or face neighbors instead of nearest geometry.
You would probably have to loop it.

There is also work going on with loops by the devs that is not in master yet.


@DNorman Wow thanks for sharing this!, I’ll look into face neighbors with this tutorial. Geometry nodes seems intimating but I’ll jump in and see if I can modify that scene.

Much appreciated!

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They are and even worse they are addictive! :rofl:

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