I'm a Blender noob. Came from C4D where I made a lot of custom tools ("CSTools") using the Xpresso system. In C4D, the Xpresso was "owned" by the object because the Xpresso tag lived on that object.

So if I import that object into another C4D file or duplicate it, the wiring for the object animation and followed it wherever it went.

I'm trying to wrap my head around what "owns" AN node trees. It appears it lives in it's own free space and one has to directly ref the specific objects that it acts on (opposite of how C4D works where the object refs the node tree) So if you copy the objects, then they don't have the animation anymore.

And I tried appending objects and collections into a new file and the AN nodes did not follow along.

The dream for AN to me is that they can live "on" the object and be part of it almost like code has an instance as a component on each object in UNITY.

It seems weird to make tools when AN appears to be completely independent and you have to manage them separately. It seems cumbersome to have all-in-one tools that are fully encapsulated.

In C4D I could have nicely packaged master object with custom controls on the front page of the inspector and all the 3D parts and node stuff lived happily tucked away "inside" it (folded in parenting). Looking for this with blender and AN.

Hope this makes sense. And forgive my extreme newness to the blender universe and AN. Any guidance would be helpful.


Could an AN node ever live as a modifier? Would be cool to be able to instance in the mod stack and set your targets there where if the target is "self" you can duplicate it and it re-refs whatever object is "local".


1 Answer 1


I'm very new to AN so this might not be accurate.

I think the answer is no, you can't associate an animation nodes graph with an object; it's part of the scene. I think this is very much by design however, as you can have one node graph control many objects, even selecting an entire collection of objects at once.

This doesn't mean you can't have the features you want! Because AN is open source, you can always visit the project on GitHub, and under the "Issues" tab either request new features, or ask for further explanation about the design of the project.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback. With the C4D method you had the option to do either. If the Xpresso tag lives on an object tree and you ref objects on the same tree it has relative references. So it always referred to the correct objects it lives on even if it's duplicated. OR you could create an object and drag in refs from other objects elsewhere and it would ref them just like AN does now. Was just hoping that there was a way to use AN like particles works now. Where you create a description of a particle system that lives as an instance ON the object itself. $\endgroup$
    – C.Smith
    Aug 29, 2019 at 1:44

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