Whether you have to animate a character or a tree or a basketball with any detail, it has to deform from its original shape to a new one. If you know what this new shape looks like, you can model it ahead of time.
As an example, say that you have a cartoony character — maybe the head of a certain monkey. You know that you're going to need her eyes to bulge out because all cartoon characters' eyes do this. To create this effect in Blender, you create a shape key, sometimes called a morph target or a blend shape in other programs. A rough outline of the process goes something like this (the next section in this chapter goes into more detail):
In the cartoony character example, you'd model the character's eyes all bulgy. (Yes, bulgy is a real word. I think.)
Assuming that you selected an object that supports shape keys (meshes, curves, surfaces, and lattices), you can start adding shape keys in the Shape Keys panel of Object Data Properties.
Figure 11-1 shows three different states for the Shape Keys panel. By default, this panel looks pretty innocent and empty with just a list box and a few buttons to the right of it. However, when you left-click the Plus (+) button, a basis shape, or the original shape that other ...