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I haven't seen my exact situation on this site so far. What I want to do is project a video onto a 3D plane and view it orthographically, but have the plane's surface with animated bumps giving a sort of lensing effect to the image surface.

It's easy to have a plane and then several sphere objects, but the problem seems to be that I have to apply a material to the plane to project the video, and if the sphere objects break the surface using the same material, the results would be mapped to each sphere AND the mesh - not what i want.

So i have two choices, it seems:

  1. Make it so the shape of the deformed mesh is joined, similar to Object/Join into one material but be able to animate the positions and settings of each sphere while keeping one material for the whole joined object. not sure how this could work. maybe using the Compositor? Sort of like a Union effect in Inkscape when two paths converge? not sure...

  2. Or, have my plane's inside vertices be modified by multiple sphere objects poking through and making it look basically like a tablecloth with bumps. I don't want the edges of the plane to move, just the inside vertices. I don't need physics per se, but I do need deforming tips or tutorials related to this. it seems ridiculously simple but i'm just not seeing it. most deforming tuts do not involve planes and frequently involve the outside boundaries changing. it's sort of like a softbody or cloth simulation but i don't need gravity or the extra bunching up. i might be able to do it with armatures but i have to move/animate the locations of these and it seems parenting to the plane mesh could lock the bone to a specific location on it. i've tried Mesh Deform, Simple Deform and Hook but just not getting it. help would be appreciated!

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  • $\begingroup$ Please show your current with a Blender Screen capture work to clarify you question. If you can only post one image you may need to compose it with a free open tool such as GIMP. Please show an image of ... lensing effect. Its better for you to show the reader something visual than for the reader to guess $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger May 26 '16 at 6:13
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Displacement Modifier

enter image description here

The displacement modifier modifies the displacement based on texture. The texture has the name Displace400. The texture panel shows some of the settings for Displace400 which is of type Musgrave. The plane has a simple UV Map and has a visible texture of a water pitcher. Inspect the image above. Click to see larger image.

Once you achieve the general look you want, the Displace400 Setting can me animated.

enter image description here

To keep the edges flat Weight Paint mode is used to create a vertex group with the names specified in the Displace Modifier. Blue will create zero displacement and red will create maximum displacement. The vertex group name created is MidGroup. You can see the name used in the Displace Modifier.

enter image description here

You can see the densely populated mesh in edit mode. A simple plane has loop cuts in both X and Y direction. 30 or so cuts. Loop Cut Twice.

You can be more precise and artistic. Experiment and Improve.

If you need a tutorial series where you can efficiently investigate topics here is one ...............

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY6KPrc4uMw&list=PLda3VoSoc_TR7X7wfblBGiRz-bvhKpGkS

Topics of Displacement Modifier, Loop Cut, Weight Paint, might be useful. Those same topics can also be searched here at BSE.

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