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My apologies if this has been asked before but after some extensive searching the only information on scene management I've found is beginner level.

As I see it linked uses the same asset between scenes, however any changes you make to the animation is reflected in the original scene which for me defeats the object of having scenes. Full copy will let you do this but at the cost of bloating your blender file as it duplicates the asset.

My analogy would be you have two scenes, kitchen and lounge with one actor that is linked in both scenes. How do you animate the actor without using full copy?

I'd like to hear how others manage this.

At the moment I use separate files for each scene.

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Usually, you create assets each in their own blend file (it helps keeping things tidy, version controlling and also helps with performances thanks to smaller files faster to work with and being able to dynamically load/unload things as you need). Then you link them into a new file where you build the whole "final" scene.

In VFX / feature / series production, you often have the layout scene done first, which is where the initial placement of every asset is done and a very rough "layout" animation is done. Once validated, the scene is "locked", the downstream departments start their own work from that scene. First one being usually Animation. Though, that's how it's supposed to happen, in practice the timeline rarely is respected, things get messed up and then we have lots of things to fix after the fact x)


Working with Scenes

In Blender, you can use Scenes to do within one file what you could do from multiple files. Making a linked scene is the same final result as creating a new file, deleting everything and then linking-in every object from another scene. But instead of doing that in a new file, you do it in a new scene in the same file.

I am personally not a fan of this method. Because you lose some of the advantages of just linking individual assets in a single scene file I mentioned above. But it also has some benefits, like centralizing data, making it easier for compositing. And for smaller scale projects that don't really require having everything isolated, it's a good meeting point between doing everything in one file with a giant scene and doing everything in different files.

If you need to make a duplicate scene, I'd always advise using linked data as much as possible, at least for performance and storage sake. You can always turn individual assets to full copies if needed, but the other way around isn't as simple.


Usage of Linked Data

Regardless of if you manually link external data into a file or create a scene with linked data, the end result is objects with linked data.

Linked data is non-editable by default, but you can make "library overrides" on them to be able to gain some control over the asset in the scene you are in.

That is how you are able to animate a linked character rig for example.
Select a linked character, go to the menu Object > Library Override > Make, and then you have your animatable rig that is still linked.

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Two years on, I think this is still a good question. Understanding, of course, that there are probably a handful of answers dependent on your needs. Al asked exactly the question I have, though.

I've linked in character Collections as described by Pierrick Picaut and others on youtube, but a comprehensive look at how to use multiple scenes and linked characters would be helpful.

My best approach so far has been to link in background and character data by Collection, then do a Full Copy for additional sub-Scenes. In this way, the Linked Data is still uniquely editable in each Scene but still has the advantages of being linked.

(Edit: removed link at request of moderators to a relevant article on scene management and using external referencing in Blender)

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    $\begingroup$ Please be so kind and try to formulate your answer in such a way that it can do without the use of external links, otherwise this answer would also lose its meaning if the link would no longer work at some point. Thank you for your understanding! $\endgroup$
    – quellenform
    Aug 4, 2023 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Very logical sounding, yes. However: Chances are that, by the time the link expires, the question itself will be moot. I removed the link and and amended my answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2023 at 16:45

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