Using WorldPositionOffset on a skeletal mesh to blend into another mesh (w/ RenderTarget)

The title may sound confusing, but I’m pretty bad at materials and I’m not sure if WPO is even what I need in the first place.

Basically I watched this video and liked the approach in there. It can be a bit optimized too, per Tom Looman’s suggestions. What really caught my eye though was one of the top comments in that video that had a link towards these screenshots.

After studying the blueprints of the original approach demonstrated in the video, I think I more or less understand what’s going on behind the curtains. However, I’m still struggling to understand, just how exactly is the stuff from the screenshots “just one mesh” (per the author’s words). Because what it really looks like it’s blending between two different meshes.

Is my understanding correct that he somehow used WPO to achieve the desired effect, or am I absolutely wrong in my assumption? Thanks!

I was pretty sure Ryan Brucks explained how this system works but I couldn’t find it.

This is what you can do(I might be recalling this from Ryan Brucks’ presentation without realizing) what you see on the damaged parts is probably the same mesh pushed inward and then a positive displacement is applied with the damaged area’s texture. You can mask/limit the negative offset with vertex colors or a texture to make the damaged version’s shape appear like a different mesh.

Alternatively, you can put a different mesh(on which the WPO/displacement is masked) underneath the main surface which gets revealed when the main surface gets pushed inward. By a different mesh, I mean a second group of polygons in the same skeletal mesh file.

By pushing inward I mean applying a negative WPO/displacement along the surface normal.