How to animate vertices?

Hi,

I want to create an animated GUI in blender. Of course it is not a real GUI, its just a gui which is placed upon a monitor inside my scene. So the GUI should be some technical, modern and animated gui, with sliders, buttons, etc.
First i thought of simply using planes and animate them using shape keys, but iam a dumb nut in shape keys.:spin:
I wanted an expanding plane for example, so i need to use shape keys, but i don’t know how to.^^

Are there any tutorials on how to use these? Or maybe you got an interesting idea on how to realise this ‘gui’ better.

Thank you

http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Shape_Keys
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Absolute_Shape_Keys

Since this documentation is confusing, maybe these notes will help.

Shape keys are linked to the mesh data.

Relative:

~ Do not modify the number of vertices.
~ Add basis in object mode.
~ Add them in object mode, edit them in edit mode to set their geometry.
~ Operate on the basis key only, if possible. If you operate on a different key, trust blender; just look through your keys to make sure all their values are 0 and do not try to to reëdit any of them.
~ Do not worry if on the first tab into object mode no changes can be seen. It is currently set at 0%
~ Do not worry when switching to a key. The selected key is shown at 100% for clarity and overrides key value and any IPOs. Switch the frame or key value to reset.
~ At each keyframe, set each slider to the desired value. This can be done in the Buttons Window or IPO Curve Editor, but it is better to do it in the Action Editor. Use the IPO Curve Editor to modify the transitions between shapes.

Absolute:

~ Follow 1-3 in the above.
~ Try to only operate on the basis key.
~ Do not worry when switching to a key. The selected key is shown at 100% for clarity and overides key value and any IPOs. Switch the frame to reset.
~ Same keyframing technique as with relative.

i don’t think shape keys is what you really want. you can set regular keyframes for scale, as well as position, rotation, and even material properties ( by setting keys with the mouse pointer in the materials window, instead of the 3D window ). to adjust the scale of an object, prior to setting keyframes, you can use numerical input ( n key ) or the tranform widjets, or the S key, and there are even other ways to do it. Shape keys are more for animating stuff like facial expressions.

@egan:
Hey, thanks man, that helped me alot.

@Modron:
Thats right, but i also need to use shape keys, for example:
I’ve got an arrow, which expands, move, strecht and so on, it is changing its complete look. So i need to animate the vertices.
Anyway thank you for you ideas

ok, and btw, there are also lattices, and hooks, for doing those types of things, which of course are also animatable. setting keys for lattices is kind of tricky though, it’s the same as the old way of making shape keys, which was very quirky. for hooks you can set the falloff value, so it can be kind of like using proportional edit mode.