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I have switched over to Blender 2.80 for my projects. I've created a character and rigged it, as is normal. (I never set it up for linking in 2.7x) I'd like to link it over into a new file for use in animation. However, I am unaware of how this would work with the new collection system in 2.8x.

I would like to be able to animate the character, and also alter material settings in my animation file (without it altering the original file, of course).

How might I go about this?

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There is not that much to it. You can link data blocks to one file from another file using the 'Link...' function in the File menu:

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You select another file and then just choose what you wish to link to your file:

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As you can see that may be a lot of different things, like objects, or object data, materials and so on.

Once you link something from another file, you can only edit it in that file, unless you break the link for it by making it local:

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Once you edit something in the file it is linked from, you need to reload it in the file it is linked to. That can be done by saving and reloading the file.

If you work alone on small or medium sized projects this might not make as much sense as when working in a team of people on huge projects. You can have a library of assets that update in all the files of the project that they are linked to once they are updated in their files without any extra work. Obviously, if you have only one or 2 main files in a project, this is not that useful.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great answer! One quick question—where do overrides (static or otherwise) fit into this? $\endgroup$ – Legoman Jan 30 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ You don't really override anything. All things in Blender file are data blocks. So you can use a linked object with linked data for example, or you could make the object local, but still have the data for it linked from another file, or you could do the opposite, have the object linked from another file(maybe with animation or modifiers coming from it), but replace its data with data that is local and so on. Same goes for materials, images, scenes, groups and other things. $\endgroup$ – Martin Z Jan 30 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ But you really don't usually need this functionality unless you are working in a team on big projects (in which case you would probably not be asking questions about it). Appending stuff is not in any way an 'inferior process' in general. The functionality should be chosen appropriately for whatever the situation happens to be. $\endgroup$ – Martin Z Jan 30 at 20:05
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In the scene you want to bring it into, click File>Append, then navigate to the file you want to bring into the new scene. Go to objects, and select the armature (and you might need to select the mesh as well). Confirm, and the model should be brought to the new scene.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is for appending. I'm referring more to Linking. I think it should involve overrides, which I am woefully undereducated on. $\endgroup$ – Legoman Jan 26 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a specific reason you need to use linking? $\endgroup$ – Rix Yarbrough Jan 26 at 4:00
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    $\begingroup$ Every single course I've ever viewed seems to indicate that linking is a superior process for a number of reasons (assets able to be updated on demand, etc.) I never learned how to do it in 2.7x, and since the system seems completely overhauled now I figured it was as good a time to learn as any. $\endgroup$ – Legoman Jan 26 at 4:06
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe this tutorial will help? Should work in 2.8 about the same youtube.com/watch?v=tNOCSor0U5Y $\endgroup$ – Rix Yarbrough Jan 26 at 4:23

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