How to create instances of objects (not copies)?


I’m creating an environment for a game consisting or rocks. But I don’t want to bother yet with materials and textures at the moment. I want to create around 5 rocks which I can copy, scale/rotate to make it look different and place them in the environment.
But just copying them probably disconnects them from the original one, thus when I finally texture the rocks, I’ll probably have to go over them one by one. So I actually want instances of the original rocks. But instances which I can still scale and rotate around without effecting the other ones. Without particle-system, because I kinda want “creative control” of where and how certain rocks are set.

I find some stuff about instancing in Blender, but still not what I’m looking after. Or maybe I don’t yet how to apply it in my situation. Any help?


ALT+D to create linked duplicates.
Anything you do in edit mode will change the mesh in all the duplicates, but you can still move, scale and rotate in object mode without affecting the duplicates.

Not a blender expert myself, but I think what you say is not possible with instancing. If your motive behind instancing is just that you don’t want to apply materials separately to each rock, you could simply select all rocks with shift, select the rock with material at last and link the material to other rocks. Hope this helps.

Thanks, I’m going to try that later on.

@Jon_Targ It’s more for when I’m going to use textures instead of materials and need to UV-unwrap them. I don’t think that won’t go well with just selecting them all at once. I’m still quite the novice, but better safe than sorry :sweat_smile:

Tried it and it worked! :smiley: Thanks.
Still one question about that. Is there anywhere you can see which object is an instance of what object? (in the panel on the right somewhere?

If you click on the Object Data tab (little green triangle down near the bottom of the properties panel) it gives the name of the actual mesh that forms the object, and also the number of users (how many objects are sharing that mesh). Won’t exactly tell you what those other objects are, but you can check any to see if it is the same as another.

Actually select one object, then Select -> Linked -> Object Data and you’ll get all objects sharing a mesh

Ok thanks, now I see it.
By the name of the actual mesh, do you mean its original name? Because although I renamed my mesh from “Cube” to something that describes the objects, when I look at that property, it says “Cube.012” (used 2x).
Going down that list, its all the default names of the primitive shapes.

An object is like a container. Renaming an object does not automatically rename the mesh it contains (found under Object Data). As several objects can share the same mesh data (instances) then to rename the mesh for one object would rename it for all the instnaces too, whereas the object names need to be different.