It seems you beat me to it. I was planning on doing similar thing in 4.9, I just haven’t bothered to compile it myself. My plan was to attach two invisible meshes to the legs of a character and have them push away grass on ground. But I worry that doing that also causes anomalies with the actual DFAO rendering, making the character legs look black or otherwise shadowed.
Yeah, it’s entirely possible. Unfortunately, at the moment you can’t disable DFAO and still keep the distance field calculations for materials going, doing so broke this material immediately for me. Hopefully in a future version we’ll be able to separate the two for instances like that. Not every project that would benefit from materials like this would necessarily benefit from DFAO.
One cool variant on the material that I stumbled across when working on this makes it so the grass actually doesn’t get back up after the distance field is far enough away, and stays like that. Kind of reminded me of that Nvidia Turf Effects video.
Works fantastically! I had to place a transparent mesh attached to my character mesh since it isn’t large enough to make a noticeable movement, but everything else has worked out perfectly! Thank you so much for sharing!!
If I remember right, it was something along the lines of adding the deformation to the mesh without actually subtracting it again when the object left its range. The final effect was, effectively, the distance field vertex painting the mesh. Really wishing I made a backup of that manually, couldn’t find it in any of the autosaves/backups for the project.