There are so many ways to link different things that I can hardly keep track of them. When I think I understand what’s going on, it seems I am mistaken.
If I file>link a collection from another file, I get a copy of that collection that I can move with the parent empty that comes in. If I add/change things in that file, it comes in to my working file (once I refresh it, or open the file again).
But what I would like to do is set up one file for rendering and have different view layers for different parts of the animation where some of the objects don’t need to exist. It will be one continuous camera animation, so that seems easy.
But I also want to be able to render different things out and composite them, like ground shadows. So now i have to make view layers for the ground shadow as well. You start getting a Lot of view layers all in one scene. So I’d like to do that in another scene of just ground shadows.
So what’s the best way to make sure all my animation, and all objects are the same from one scene to the other, but still allow me to turn on/off collections for view layers in that second scene? Realistically I just want an exact copy of the animated scene, and I just want to change the “indirect only” option. But I may make another copy to do things like create a mask for an object, which Really I could do with just the workbench engine which is Stupid fast. (I know antialiasing wouldn’t match, but if I am doing compositing in AfterEffects then that’s more useful than cryptomatte because cryptomatte in AE isn’t so useful because the output doesn’t get antialiased)
If I go to another scene and do an Add>Collection instance, then you can’t turn that collection off unless you add it to another collection manually.
Yeah, I can created a linked copy, but that really only links the object data, but not the data for collections. So if you add a new object to a collection, it is only added in that scene. I hate the terms like “object”, because isn’t a collection an “object” also in terms of scripting?
So as you can tell, I’m a bit confused and hoping to understand the best way to accomplish it. For now I’ll just make all my view layers in one scene, but it kind of sucks that there’s no way to “group” view layers. So you really get a Long list.
I figured out that if I put All my collections into one parent collection, then create a completely new blender file just for rendering I can link that one parent collection, then create a library override for the object. It then works exactly as I would like it. All of the objects and collections update. I can create multiple scenes there by just creating a full copy, and it’s all linked from the other file so there’s no worry if things are instanced or how they animate, etc.
I would much rather do that within the same file though. Is there no way to create a library override of an instance within the same file? I’d rather do that, mostly just so I don’t have to always update the file. I mean, the advantage of doing it this way is it allows one person to do all the animation, and another to work on setting up the compositing. But a downside is, if I do the lighting setup in my animation file, the scene settings will be different in the other file so have to be redone.