Blender in a mixed pipeline (alembic workflows and linked meshes)

I think this is my 200th attempt at trying to see where we potentially could use Blender a bit more in production. I’m just going to disregard at the moment that Blender is using Python 3.x. and see if I can work around that. We have a mixed pipeline, so Alembic and Json description files is the common ground at the moment. Within a year I hope it to be USD.

I’m trying to replicate a workflow that we have right now. So I hope some of you could help out with some answers or workarounds.

The steps are as follows

Modeling/UV - export Static-Alembic
Shading - reference in the Static-Alembic, export lookDev (all shaders attached)
Rigging - reference in the Static-Alembic mesh, export RIG
Layout - reference in Static-Alembic tracked Alembic-Camera, export layout (Json description or placed assets) export Alembic-Camera (as Layout)
Animation - reference in the RIG, export mesh as Anim-Alembic
Lighting - reference in the Anim-Alembic (or Static-Alembic), Shaders, Sim-Fur (optional)

(Optional steps)
Fur/Groom - reference in Alembic add Fur/Hair, export Groom description
Fur Sim - reference in Anim-Alembic, Import Groom, export Sim-Fur.

One hurdle that I’ve encountered right away is that you can reference in Alembic files (or link as it called in blender).
Also if you use “link” (not using Alembic files) you can’t edit shaders on the linked object. So in the steps that we do if we link in a Model into the Shading workflow we can’t make any necessary overrides that might be needed in the rendering scene.

Maybe I’m missing something but it seems a bit clunky when it comes to workflows. If there are any docs/videos out there which explains how to work with blender in a bit bigger pipeline I would be most grateful if any of you could shader those. Or if you have a workflow in a studio that you could share.

best regards

Hmmm… It seems that a key point which you’re making is that you sometimes need to make file-specific overrides to the settings of linked assets. Is that correct?

Yes, even if a lookdev is “perfect”, you will run into situations where you want to make specific overrides on shaders or objects. And also being able to link Alembic files as they might have been generated from other softwares.

Does it make sense?

stefan andersson