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From the starting scene, I keyframed the material of the cube to change intensity 0 -> 1 between frames 1 and 40. I Shift+D-ed that cube to create a new one. I'd like to move the material animation for the second cube to start at a different frame, i.e. go 0 -> 1 between frames 21 and 60.

In NLA I see this:

enter image description here

Both tracks are selected and I cannot select just the one for Cube.001.

I see that I can create a new material (or use Make Single User), but then I would lose the ability to change the material properties (e.g. color) for all objects at once or the ability to tweak the action (e.g. duration) and have it applied to all objects at once.

Is there a way to have linked materials between objects, but manipulate their actions independently in NLA editor?

Blender v2.78 if that matters.

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You can't create different animations for same material, because NLA-tracks belong to the material, not to the objects. But there is a walkaround, to make that you want:

You can use one material that will be displayed differently depending on the properties of the object. For example, object index:

Object index sets in object properties. Relations tab:

enter image description here

Then using node setup, like this, you can set different settings for different object using same material.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Crantisz! Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, looks to me I actually wanted the opposite. That is, I wanted to have the same material applied to multiple objects in exactly the same way, just animated differently (either at different frames or of different animation lengths). This is to allow quick tweaking across all objects at once. Does your first sentence ("NLA-tracks belong to the material") mean that's not possible at all without material duplication? $\endgroup$ – icyrock.com Dec 8 '17 at 0:42

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