So in Blender, there seems to be two basic ways of importing something from another .blend file. Linking and appending. If you append something, it is copied to your current file, and that copy has no further connection to the file it came from. In other words, a simple import. Always a useful thing to have, but other times you may want to be sharing data. So there is linking. But the problem with linking is that in the new file, the linked object is (depending on the property and datablock type) either uneditable, or edits “push back” to the original file.
Why is there no in-between? Let’s say I have a vehicle. I built it in its own .blend file. Now I want to link it into several different blend files(or several different scenes in the same file) to animate it in a few different shots. If I link it, it has the same positions and such in EVERY iteration, so I can forget about giving it a different motion path in different scenes while keeping the ship at the origin in the original file. If I append it, now I have to suck up disk space storing my ship separately for each shot. And if I decide i want to tweak the hull material, or the engine shape, or whatever, i can’t just go back to the original file, make the change, save, and let it push to every shot.
If I make a proxy of the ship, all the modifiers disappear. (wtf?). If i group it and link the group, i can no longer animate properties separately, so there isn’t a lot of hope for things like engines vectoring, ramps/doors opening, or anything like that i could want to do for a vehicle.
Am I missing some way of using link/append and proxies? Or is it really this limited?
(and before you say it shouldn’t work like this, if i was using Maya i would just hit File > Reference, select my ship file, and go about positioning and animating it without any other worries. Any changes I make would be stored in the new file, but everything else is read from the original)