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Is there something like cage mesh deform, but instead of the cage being larger, it is smaller than the mesh to deform?

The only similar effect I know is the envelope deform that armatures can have, but ideally a mesh of any shape would emit this envelope.

Note — Not shrinkwrap, I don't want volume loss or snapping to surface.

EDIT

Adding more detail:

An example could be a Skin/Skull set up. I want the internal skull to influence nearby skin vertices. Shrinkwrap wouldn't work as it would collapse the skin down to the skull shape. I know shrinkwrap has vertex groups to isolate the effect, but that is far more work and this is the best example I can think of.

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    $\begingroup$ could you be more specific? what kind of effect do you want? for what purpose? $\endgroup$ – moonboots Dec 31 '18 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @moonboots - Added an example. $\endgroup$ – Karric Dec 31 '18 at 17:39
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The Surface Deform modifier might suit?

In this example, the interior pair of spheres is a single object, Shape Keyed. The Exterior capsule is bound to it, with a Surface Deform modifier (Followed by Smooth and Subsurface modifiers)

enter image description here

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