Move object over plane and "reveal" a shapekey?

I thought I could use the vertex weight proximity modifier for this, but it doesn’t seem to work.

For example, say I had an object flying over a flat terrain. The terrain has a shape key, with a mountain in the center. As the flying object gets closer, the mountain takes shape.

Basically, any ideas on how to use a moving influence with a fall-off to control the presence of a shape key? I thought I saw a tutorial on how to do exactly this, but I can’t find it.

I am not sure what you mean but if you want to affect a shape key by the movement of an object you could look into drivers. They will let you drive the shapekey values with an object location.

You can definitely setup a driver that will accomplish this. The problem with drivers is that they are a bit arcane. If you know programming and like math, then they can be figured out, but if you don’t have either one of those then they are probably intimidating.

Have a look at the .blend file I’ve attached. It does something like what you have asked for and I’ve left the screens up on some of the more technical bits of the setup. If you have any other questions about what I did then I can answer them but I’m short on time right now.

Attachments

shapekey_driver.blend (327 KB)

Just out of interest, why use a driver at all? If this is for a real-time application where the nearness of an object may change depending on how the approaching object is being controlled, then it seems a very useful process. But for a scenario where the approaching object has a fixed approach path, it seems like more work than is needed – you could just manually set keyframes for your shape keys. This would be 100% under control of the animator, whereas a driver is somewhat robotic, and limited to only the math/settings used in the driver. No finesse. I’m all for automation where it’s useful, but this seems like it might be a bit of automated overkill.