I have a rubber chicken character. Its neck is getting grabbed and stretched many times. What I would like to generate for this, is a Squish controller that allows me to set where Squishing on the neck starts and where it ends. Kind of like one of those two-way zippers that you can open and close towards the top and bottom. To see the principle in motion, this guy built a ribbon rig in blender 3 years ago.
Around 00:30 is what I am looking for. https://vimeo.com/89682567
I have added a sketch of what that might work like.
My main idea is to use a gradient texture to displace a deform-cage that I have put around the neck. I have built a prototype that uses a Sphere object as a controller for a Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier. I then feed the modified Weights into a Displacement Modifier, whose influence is limited by them. This video shows what that looks like.
If any of you have an idea how to control Gradients through object positions or maybe just a simpler solution to the whole thing, I would greatly appreciate hearing it.