Deal With Libraries And Linking

It is not possible to create a whole animation in one single blend file, in fact it would be senseless as this file would become huge. But what is the best way to organize an animation? You could model all the characters and sets and then just copy them into different scene files to animate. This method has a huge disadvantage in that if you want to change something in your character or set, you would have to change it in every scene file you had copied so far. For this problem Blender provides libraries.


Libraries allow you to append and link parts of a blend file and even whole scenes to another file. Linked assets are always indicated by an "Li" icon. There are two types of linked assets described below.

Directly and Indirectly

E.g. a linked scene is directly linked and all the assets contained within the scene are indirectly linked, because they are just brought along with the scene. Linked objects can not be manipulated except in the individual master file. Directly linked assets can be made local by right clicking on it, thus there are no more linked to the master file and may be edited. It is the same as if you copied or appended the object. I ended up with directory files where my characters where and linked them to the individual scene files.

Animation Proxy

To animate linked objects there is another step to be taken. The easiest way to do so is to create a proxy of the linked object. "A proxy, by its definition is a stand-in for the real object. In Blender's case, creating an animation proxy makes a local duplicate of the object in question that retains its references to the original library asset." To create a proxy one has to select the object and then press "Ctrl-Alt-P". Modifiers may be added, the object can be scaled, rotated and translated. It can even be changed in edit-mode, however these changes will get lost, even though they are saved, by reopening the file. only be taken in the master file. Any animation done with the object is retained because it is saved in a separate asset local to the blend file.


Groups are usable as library assets like any other object. In the "Anim Settings" one can edit the dupligroup. The dupligroup function makes it possible to define an object as a stand-in for an entire group. Therefore an empty can be added to the scene and be animated. If the group is linked to the empty it will follow its transformations. An empty is an object whose geometry can not be edited, it is most often represented by an arrow or a cross.
scene from having a ball
Scene from "Having A Ball"
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