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I've been struggling to understand how I should approach the following effect in Blender:

Watch the YouTube Video The Node (at 1:37)

Screencast

I've tried to solve this one through the displacement modifier (with vertex groups, custom displacement texture, etc), several cast modifiers with multiple points and more recently using shape keys to do it manually. None of these methods result in a "natural" enough look, like a fluid, and all of them take the animating process to an inefficient workflow.

I can't seem to solve this one by myself with the current knowledge I have with Blender, would you help me out please?

Thank you very much in advance!

Edit:

Ok so I tried the wave modifier with very simple settings, a vertex group limiting the effect of the modifier and I achieved this:

Wave distortion effect

It's still not optimal, but that's the closest thing I've managed so far, some input would still be very helpful to look into this in a better way.

Edit 2:

This is what I got with the Warp modifier using a clouds texture, as suggested by @atomicbezierslinger:

Warp Modifier

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    $\begingroup$ Probably you could try something like Cloth Simulation, with object inside the main mesh. That could result in an adjustable result. You can then configure collision object scale, properties etc. $\endgroup$ – Mr Zak Sep 27 '15 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak Good idea! Why not rephrase this as an answer? Without affecting the lower half of the cube, the result should be more or less the same :) $\endgroup$ – p2or Sep 28 '15 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr Zak - I've made a few attempts with cloth, but I confess I'm not familiar enough with those tools to get a proper result in a short time, if I get something decent I'll post it. $\endgroup$ – Valthrudnir Sep 28 '15 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting work. So many points. $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger Jan 14 '16 at 6:34
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Consider A Warp Modifier with the high vertex density mesh.

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Below a rotating empty controls the two other empty targets of the modifier.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is very helpful indeed, I have a lot of control over the effect it creates on the surface I can use the texture slot to create a displacement effect, it also gives me a lot of control over the animation. I have to test it further but this is probably the answer. $\endgroup$ – Valthrudnir Sep 28 '15 at 23:42

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