In modern versions of photoshop, there's a feature called smart objects. The simplest way to describe it is a 'file within a file'. A smart object layer is effectively the final canvas state of this internal file, and you can 'open' it at anytime to modify it, then save it to update its final appearance. It's a very effective non-destructive feature.

I'm looking for something similar for blender, mainly to make working with complex objects easier.

For example, say I have a mesh that has booleans, shrinkwrap, and simple deform. All of these are position sensitive, so I can't just move the final object. I know I can parent everything to go with it, but that can cause issues with space evaluation in some cases, and the performance isn't great.

Is there a way I can non-destructively 'finalize' a mesh?

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of How can I reuse existing materials, objects, etc from an existing .blend? It's maybe not as straightforward as in Photoshop because you will need to create object in other file, not in the same one. $\endgroup$ – cgslav Feb 23 '19 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ It depends on what you mean with 'finalize' and what you want to be able to do with the object. Blender's objects have way more functionality than Photoshop's layers. You could group your objects and then use a group instance(shift+a menu) if you only need to change transforms of the group. $\endgroup$ – Martynas Žiemys Feb 23 '19 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinZ - If you post your comment as a reply, I'll mark it as the answer; instancing is close enough to what I need. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Karric Feb 24 '19 at 0:39

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