Understanding Shape Keys

I’m relatively newish to Blender and I’m trying to understand Shape Keys. I come from other packages and have significant experience with “blendshapes/morphtargets” that use separate meshes as targets for the base mesh. Can I not apply this approach in Blender [2.5]? I only ask because I lose considerable control of my shape deformation if it cannot be edited on a separate mesh with identical vert count.

A specific example to explain my intentions – I like to create certain shapes by duplicating the base mesh, adding joints, moving them into the desired shape via skinning falloff, and reapplying the shaped mesh as a target for the original. Based on my research, blender’s shape keys are only editable by standard edit mesh operations…

There was a copy shapekey button, now that you mention it I see it´s gone.
There is still “transfer shapekey” in the spacebar menu, but on the quick I couldn´t get it to work the way I want.
But it is possible to duplicate an object, create a new shapekey in it, with whatever means, and then transfer it back to the orignal object.

But I don´t know where it is in 2.58a. Might be broken or removed due for a different re-implementeation.

that’s perfect! I’ll play around with the options you mentioned - thanks arexma!

you’re right it doesn’t seem to be working in b2.58a…it adds the key to the original mesh but doesn’t morph with the slider value

I just duplicated the default cube and moved some vertices in edit mode. Then I selected the first cube and added a shape key to it, blender named this shape key ‘basis’. Now I selected the new cube first, the cube with the basis shape key second and from the menu in the shape key panel (the little down arrow below the + & - signs) I selected ‘transfer shape key’ and blender added a new shape key to my cube and when set to 1, the first cube looks like the 2nd one. See attached screenshot.



great call on the down arrow for additional options! “transfer shape keys” added the key but not the morph, however “join as shape” worked exactly how I was hoping for. thanks a ton guys! BLENDER FOREVER!

I don´t quite get it. You never assigned a shapekey to the duplicate cube? If it does not has one, blender say so and that it can´t copy anything.

If I apply a shapekey to the deformed duplicate, it copies the shapekey back alright, but the influence slider does nothing at all.

So what am I doing wrong?

Ok, my first statement was wrong - I did not use ‘transfer shape keys’ option, I used ‘join as shapes’ option as theLuthier did.

Just experimented with this a bit, I assigned a shape key to the duplicate, used ‘transfer shape key’ on the original and yes, then the slider appears to do nothing and most controls are greyed out for the shape key, including the slider. Also greyed out above the slider & name are 3 icons on the right. The left most icon of these 3 is a thumb tack, which is grey, clicking on it will enable the slider so it works.


Intresting lol. Trail and error and completely unintuitive it works unexpectedly :smiley:

It’s the pin button. So basically with every ‘transfer shape key’ it pins the shape key instantly, so you get visual feedback of which shape key you exactly transferred (without showing any of the other shape keys)

The only thing that seems wrong is that the pin button is greyed out too. It shouldn’t be, since you HAVE to press it to unpin it again.

Btw, the shape key tools combined with the ‘Corrective Shape Keys’ add-on are very powerful. For the latter one use ‘create duplicate for editing’ (will appear in the arrow list) to make shape keys for specific poses, or for more complicated mixed shape keys. Just make sure when you ‘create duplicate for editing’ you turn off subsurf modifier