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I have a number of objects in a simulation. I'd like to merge them into a single object on the fly, so I can apply modifiers to the collective.

Currently I'm using an Empty with a Boolean modifier which brings together the simulated objects, but I don't want it to perform the actual Boolean operation, just merge all the individual objects into a single one so Modifiers can be applied.
This will keep the simulation live whilst allowing for some useful post simulation modifier changes.

I hope that explains what I'm after. So basically I want to use a Modifier on an Empty that brings all objects in a Collection together into a single object, like Boolean, but without the Boolean operation taking place. Thanks

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The native integration of Geometry Nodes is capable of copying mesh data of single objects or a collection of objects to a target object.
(Updated from @Chris Marshalls suggestion) enter image description here

Alternatively you can try the AddOn Animation Nodes with the Mesh Object Input and Output node. This works also with multiple Input meshes to one target. But Geometry Nodes should be faster.
enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for this. rather than using the add-on, Geometry Nodes in the latest blender does the job too. So thanks for helping! $\endgroup$ Oct 13 '21 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Good to know, glad it helped! Didnt go into Geometry nodes quite yet ;) $\endgroup$
    – A M
    Oct 13 '21 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ I have edited the answer accordingly to your suggestion. Please consider it as correct if so. Best regards! $\endgroup$
    – A M
    Oct 13 '21 at 17:29
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So the answer above mentions the Animation Nodes plugin, but in the latest Blender, Geometry Nodes does the same thing. I don't know about the history of Blender nodes, but it looks like the plugin has been wrapped into Blender now. The answer works by creating a base object, eg a cube, add a Geometry Node Modifier. In the Geometry Nodes window plug an Add>Input>Collection Info node into the Group Output node. So now the all the geometry from the Collection objects gets merged on the fly. The cube geometry is over ridden so is lost. So this answers my question.

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