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What is the best approach to building up a complex scene or object in blender composed of previously modeled .blend objects? I have heard of linking the objects from another .blend file, but then all I get are untextured primitives (not to mention not being able to instantiate composite objects without losing the relationship between the composite parts). For example, I hope to instantiate entire .blend models (less the lighting and camera), not just components of one.


trying to clarify... I want to place a half dozen discrete .blend models at various positions in an empty .blend model, arrange those components geometrically and subsequently embellish that arrangement by adding more objects in the parent model, in a technique commonly known as hierarchical design.

I don't want to lose textures applied to component objects (in their individual .blend files) nor do I want to lose the relative position of components within contributing .blend files, e.g. an arrangement of rectangles should look exactly the same instantiated as it does within the defining .blend file.

In hierarchical design, instantiated objects are 'read-only' copies of the constituent models.

trying to clarify... I want to place a half dozen discrete .blend models at various positions in an empty .blend model, arrange those components geometrically and subsequently embellish that arrangement by adding more objects in the parent model, in a technique commonly known as hierarchical design.

I don't want to lose textures applied to component objects (in their individual .blend files) nor do I want to lose the relative position of components within contributing .blend files, e.g. an arrangement of rectangles should look exactly the same instantiated as it does within the defining .blend file.

In hierarchical design, instantiated objects are 'read-only' copies of the constituent models.

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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like you're looking for linked groups? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Apr 13 '16 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ as long as the materials in the source blends are set up correctly, and you set the source and target scenes to the same render engine, the textures shall not be 'lost'. Also the positioning shall carry over. What you're asking for is possible with - as stated by others in this question - linking groups. $\endgroup$ – aliasguru Aug 12 '16 at 6:32
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You question is very vague and hard to answer. In Blender you can link or append various types of data, this is visible when you browse to append or link from other files, and you can choose from Object, Meshes (object Data), Cameras, Freestyle, Groups, Materials, Node setups etc.

Depending on the type of object you link, you'll get different results that can sometimes be overridden.

Linking object data like meshes, curves, cameras etc, will only bring in that data alone (raw mesh data without modifiers for geometry), whereas linking an object will also bring with it: it's materials, associated textures and modifiers.

When linking an object you can then make it a proxy in your current scene, this allows you to override some of it's properties like position or materials. You can also make the object local, which allows moving it in the scene.

Linking a group instance will bring in a static group of objects, as if they were a single object.

For more complex interactions you can link objects and armatures to rig it locally and animate it, although I am not an animator myself, so am not at all comfortable in this area.

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