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I would like to move certain vertices from an animated mesh object along its normals to create a new mesh (or use face normals and create new point). Is it possible to choose certain vertices and also to vary the length of the normal vector.

I am new to Animation nodes and I have no idea how to do that

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the "Object Mesh Data" Node has a hidden input called "Vertex Normals". Press n to open the properties panel in the node editor and activate the output by clicking on the little eye icon.

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you can then use a vector math node to scale the vertices along their normals. shuffle the vertex list and remove all but the first vertices.

That's it.

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Parameters to control the output:

  • Scaling factor of the first vector math node: there you can control how far away each point is from the base mesh
  • Node Seed of the shuffle list node: shuffles the list in another order, other vertices get deleted from the end of the vertex list
  • end of the slice list node: controls the amount of vertices that don't get deleted

Bonus node setup with splines (like in your reference image):

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Let me know if you need anything else or a deeper explanation

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