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I have two blend files: one with the animated model - let's say model.blend and all actions (e.g. idle, walk...) and the in the other file, say scene.blend I have scene setup with camera, lights, shadow catcher and a script to render all frames in some specific way - the logic is really simple - think render walk animation when rotating an object and also skipping some frames.

All animations in model.blend are defined as separate actions in the action editor and all have fake user assigned. I.e. I have one for a T-pose, the other for idle animation, another one for walk animation, etc.

The problem is that linked object that I import via File > Link doesn't carry all the actions that I defined for that object, only the one that was selected in the model.blend action editor view. So in order to render all separate animations for the object I have to switch to model.blend, select another animation in the action editor, save and close model.blend, switch to scene.blend and render animation again. Is there a better way to achieve that?

To add: when I switch to Animation > Actions Editor I don't see all actions via actions drop down, only some of them plus the latest selected animation:

In model.blend here is how list of actions are showing up in the action editor's dropdown:

model.blend > Action Editor > Actions Dropdown

Here is what I see in the scene collection tree, also in model.blend:

model.blend > scene collection

In the above tree I don't understand why I have some actions under NLA Tracks but not all of them.

Here is how the object shows up in the scene.blend's scene collection view:

scene.blend > scene collection

And finally these are the actions I can see in scene.blend's action editor:

scene.blend > Actions Editor

Choosing any actions except for the active one - in the example above it is Walk animation - makes no effect - the active animation (again, the one that was selected in model.blend action editor) is the only one I can preview in the action editor.

It feels that I'm not doing something that Blender is designed for - I guess I have to import the object via some sort of an asset and linking an object from the other file won't bring up all animations defined for that object?

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I misunderstood something, but have you tried to link the actions as well? $\endgroup$
    – Lauloque
    Oct 9, 2023 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ I tried via the same File > Link - indeed you can import this from the Actions section of the model file but then opening any linked action in the recipient file doesn't change object in any way. $\endgroup$
    – J. A.
    Oct 9, 2023 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ Try linking the object instead of the collection and then linking the rest of the actions. $\endgroup$
    – tetii
    Oct 10, 2023 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ That works but only if you imported separate objects instead of a collection. Which by itself carries another limitation: with that type of linking it is not possible to rotate objects $\endgroup$
    – J. A.
    Oct 17, 2023 at 19:58

1 Answer 1

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Trying to answer this question myself, I think the best workaround would be to have all actions defined in one sequence and have predefined numbers for when a certain animation starts and when it finishes. I.e. frame 0: t-pose, 1-11: idle animation, frame 12-38 - walk animation, etc.

I now recall seeing an example of blend file someone shared on one forum (unrelated to my question) where it was done exactly in this manner, and while looking weird I now understand that this allows easy linking.

Probably a better solution would be to somehow mark things as assets but I know nothing on to what extent it helps. If someone has a link to documentation or illustration on how to achieve this, I'd be happy to edit this answer / accept yours as a solution to this question.

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