Is there a method or modifier that would allow me to dynamically create an effect on a mesh similar to the proportional edit, that would accept a magnitude, position and directional vector by using empty arrow object? I want to have multiple arrows on and around the object and animate them, then bake that into key-framed animation.
Two possibilities (at least) : hook modifier and vertex weight proximity + shrinkwrap. And an edit using dynamic paint (following the comments).
- Hook modifier :
The setting is the following :
The hook modifier is defined for the plane, and an empty is use as a hook. You can tune the falloff and the proximity. You must define a vertex group (assign the wanted vertices to it).
- Vertex weight proximity and shrink wrap :
This can be a more dynamic solution.
First add a vertex weight proximity modifier. That will assign to the vertex group a value depending on the distance to the empty. Then add a skrinkwrap (targeting to another plane) and using this vertex group.
You need to define another plane to skrinkwrap to (this plane is placed near to the surface... not visible here as it is in wire display mode).
- A third solution using dynamic paint :
The object is in wireframe here to allow to see the moving object (here spheres replace that was empties previously).
The principle is the same, as before but the weights of the vertex group are given using dynamic paint.
Configuration for the spheres used as brushes : here 'proximity' is used (other options available) and you have also some option for the falloff.
Configuration for the grid : we are painting on 'weights' on the vertex group.
And as before the grid has a shrinkwrap using the same vertex group :
You can use a warp modifier to create this type of effect.
As with any modifier you can add as many as you need, one for each bump.
As the manual says "The Warp Modifier is a bit tricky at first," indeed there was a time I did not know what it did.
In your case, add the warp modifier to your plane. Add any object (empties are commonly used) under the plane, and another above the plane. Like in this picture.
The empty below the plane is set as the From object, and empty above the plane is set as the To object in the warp modifier.
The benefit to using the modifier is that everything is easily scriptable, or animatable.