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I am building a scene with a lot of leaves, a macroscopic view, each leaf is an object carefully placed rather than using a particle system. I have a base set of 12 leaves that have each been duplicated dozens of times as linked duplicates using Alt+D rather than Shift+D. Now that each linked duplicate has been carefully rotated, scaled, placed I want to add Solidify and Subsurface Modifiers to all of them but maintain them as Linked Duplicates.

Is it possible to add the same Modifiers to all Linked Duplicates in some way?

When I add these Modifiers to the original object or instance it seems to Unlink it from all the Linked Duplicates creating a new object with the Modifiers.

If this isn't possible to do as with Materials where a Material can be linked to an Object or its Data, is there a good workaround to achieve the same without unlinking all the objects and creating hundreds of new separate objects?

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    $\begingroup$ Does this help? blender.stackexchange.com/questions/319/… $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Apr 21 '20 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ Not quite but close. The problem is finding all linked instances after applying the modifiers to the original instance. If I select the original instance and go into Edit Mode it will show the mesh of all linked instances so i can see them. If I then apply the modifier to the original object, it will no longer show the mesh in Edit Mode of all linked objects, and there are dozens so very difficult to locate all of them in a complex group. It does say they are still linked by the number that is next to the Object but I can't highlight them all to find and select and apply the Modifier w Ctrl L $\endgroup$ – Aubrey Apr 21 '20 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ I worked it out. Each set of objects is named, so all linked duplicates of Leaf05 e.g. are named Leaf05.01, .02 etc. So I can add the modifier to Leaf05, deselect, then select all the Linked Duplicates in the Collections Panel, then reselect the original instance (Leaf05) and Ctrl+L to copy the modifiers. Cheers Ray! $\endgroup$ – Aubrey Apr 21 '20 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ Actually it seems that Ctrl+L copy Modifiers does not change the Linked status of a Linked Duplicate. So it can very simply be done by box selecting all the Linked Duplicates regardless of their original object instance and then selecting one object that has the Modifier Stack you want to copy and then Ctrl+L copying without affecting the Link status. Thinking aloud here, hope it helps another Blender neophyte with a similar problem. $\endgroup$ – Aubrey Apr 21 '20 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ you can also select all linked duplicate with SHIFT + L or Select > Linked then "Object Data" $\endgroup$ – Gorgious Apr 21 '20 at 16:43
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If you create a linked duplicate of an object (Alt+D) it will copy any existing modifiers. But the modifier stack of each duplicate can be individually manipulated without affecting the original. So if you retroactively add any modifiers to duplicates they will only be applied to one object.

You cannot add modifiers to multiple objects from the modifier panel. The modifier will only apply to the object selected last. However you can copy modifiers to a group selection, by selecting all the unmodified objects, and then the object with the modifiers, and use Ctrl+L to copy Modifiers.

Useful tip: to select all linked duplicates of a mesh use Shift+L or Select > Linked > "Object Data"

Ctrl+L to copy modifiers from the last selected object

Shift+L to select all linked duplicates

1st Image: Ctrl+L to copy modifiers from the last selected object

2nd Image: Shift+L to select all linked duplicates

S/O to @Ray Mairlot and @Gorgius for their comments, which I have redrafted as an answer for the sake of completion

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