How do I get the dope sheet shape key editor to work with linked objects ?

my character doesn’t need an armature to be animated since it’s a simple floating face
so it’s animated with shape keys only

now, I link it to my animation scene and make it proxy
of course I can move rotate and scale it around at will
I can also see the shape keys in the object data and I can preview them on the scene using the pin tool
but I can’t animate them
the value slider for the shape keys is blocked
the shape key editor in the dope sheet is blocked too

I found a workaround but I don’t like it
the workaround is to link the object and do not use make proxy
instead I use object > make local > selected object and data
this gives me the character with its shape keys that I can animate on the scene

I don’t like this workaround because it makes the mesh local
this way if I refine the mesh in the character file, the animation files are not updated
it is almost like using append instead of link

so, I’m wondering if there’s a better solution or if this is a Blender limit that have to be accepted as is
hope some experienced Blender user can give me an answer


p.s. to the administrators: this thing that every post by a new user has to be validated by an administrator before being published is very annoying … I understand that you have security issues bu I hope this behaviour will come to an end soon … how many posts are needed to be a “not new” user and get rid of this ?

New users are moderated for the first 10 posts (new threads in Tutorials, Tips and Tricks are always moderated), as outlined in the forum rules:
This is helps to prevent spam and used to be a common prevention tactic (from what I remember). It may be annoying, but spam bots are infinitely more annoying.

It is recommended to post constructive comments in the gallery to grab your 10 posts quickly.

I did some googling on the subject and it seems that indeed this is a Blender limit
the shape key editor can only access local data

so the only way to animate shape keys in a linked object is to use armatures with drivers
then link in a group containing everything and make the armature proxy
kind of weird to me …

the other limit when using proxy armatures is that you can’t have multiple instances of a character in the same scene
if you want two linked dogs in the scene you have to duplicate the dogs blend files then link the two files in
even more weird …

ok, I guess this is the Blender way so I’ll go along with it :slight_smile:

p.s. thanks Richard for the reply … I’m sorry for the rant but having to wait 8 hours or so to see one post published is something new for me I didn’t meet this behaviour in any other forum around … ok I guess I’ll have to wait for my 10 posts then :slight_smile:

Just a couple of tips on this subject I discovered along the way. If your character just uses bones for animation then I discovered a trick to load multiple instances of the same character in a scene.

  1. link the character in (mesh + armature)
  2. do not use make proxy, use make local > selected object instead (both on the mesh and the armature)

Note that make local > sel object leaves the mesh linked so if you change it in the character file it will be changed in all animation files.

But this makes the armature local so you can’t change the rig after animations are done. Your rig must be “final” before animation takes place. Note however that the bone weights (vertex groups) are on the linked mesh, so you can refine bone weights for better deformations while the animators are working, and the new weighting will be updated in all animations.

Unfortunately this method doesn’t work with shapekeys. If the character has shapekeys then manipulating one will affect all instances on the scene. As far as I know at this time, there is no way to make linked shape keys to work with multiple instances. But at least this works with armatures.

Hope this helps. Bye :slight_smile: