I have an iron man mask and i would like to make a shape key where the mask folds back. I want certain parts of the mask to move in certain directions, so i was wondering. Is there a way to control the path of an object while using shape keys? Can i have it follow a path? Right now, I have the separated pieces of the mesh parented to empties and those empties follow paths, is there a way i could do this as a shape key as one object?
Generally speaking, no. Shapekeys will deform in a straight line between zero and full influence. So in your example the face plate would kind of fold backwards, straight through his head. But, using drivers you can chain together multiple shapekeys, so they are applied one after another. By doing that you can set up complex, non-linear motions, but smooth curves are still not really possible without a lot of shapekeys.
If this was being kept in blender I would say it is more the job for parenting to an empty and animating the empty, or maybe bones if you swing that way and wanted to export it.
Yeah, totally. I would just rig up each of the pieces and animate them in space. Shape keys are more for when you want to get down and animate the vertices. The verts will just move in a liner path to the new position though.
For some stuff like this, I’d say bones are more versatile than empties even though they seem functionally similar on the surface. Mostly because you can do stuff like saving poses or having IK or action constraints.
Okay! will definitely try bones next, thanks everyone!