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I have a scene in which a character's mouth is controlled by shape keys. There are three shape keys -- jaw, tongue and teeth -- and I have a simple driver for each which targets the Z world location of my control object -- an icosphere placed at world origin on the same layer as my scene.

enter image description here

The control icosphere is the first item in my outline above, and controls the mosasaur mouth shown.

From seeing tutorials, I know there is a way/ways to make control objects like this stay in view as a camera moves and panels, either on screen or at the bottom of the N panel.... in the locations I have indicated above.

I have no idea what this process is called, or how to do it... and I think my lack of vocabulary makes my Stack Exchange searchers useless....

So how can I keep a control object's settings (just Z location, in this case) somewhere so I can see and keyframe it as my muncher swims around?

Yes, he looks like an Orca.

UPDATE with screen grabs: Answer from Haunt_House was what I needed.

enter image description here

I created a custom property called Z_Height for my icosphere control object. I left the min and max values as theyy were, since that matched what my keyframes wanted.

I then updated my drivers to take the ["Z_Height"] value from the custom property.... and the keyframeable Z_Height property appears in the N panel. Thanks.

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You can add a custom property to an object and have them drive your animation:

custom property pinned

The trick is to enable the little pin in the upper left corner. That way the editor keeps displaying that panel.

If you want controls moving with the camera, you can parent them to the camera, disable rendering for them in the Outliner and use local space instead of world space in the driver variables. That way only relative movement towards the camera affects your animation and the camera can still move around.

I recommend empties between the camera and the controls. The empties swallow the offset between control and the camera and the controls start with zero regarding their parent empty. That means you don't have to use awkward offset values in the driver.

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