Linking and modelling and materials

ETA - Am a newb, although have played with Blender for a long time.

I can’t find any joy online, so I thought I’d ask here:

This is about modelling in one file and doing materials/texturing in another — a work-flow kind of thing.

  • I want to model a person in one file (joemesh.blend) — call him “Joe.”

  • I want to link it into another file (joes.blend) and add materials textures to the mesh.

  • I need access to vertex-groups or sub-meshes - so I can put different materials onto the parts of Joe. His boots, his face, etc.

  • I want to make many versions of the same person mesh - say different clothes or one with a scar on the face, etc. So — Dirty Joe, clean Joe, dinner-suit Joe, fighting Joe, etc.

Now, I will start a new file (use.blend) and link “Fighting Joe” in and pose him and render. In another scene I may use “DinnerJacketJoe” and render him.

If I go and edit joemesh.blend and tweak the Joe mesh, I want all uses of that mesh to update in all other files.

Is this possible, and how?

Basically - I want a character that can change clothes and features over time (a scar, sweat, black eye, mutated claw, whatever) who I can link-in from a library and pose.

How would you go about it?

Here’s an description of the idea in the docs:

“When working in a team environment, you may want more flexibility. For example, if modeling a car, you may have one person working on the shape of the car (its mesh), but another working on available color schemes (its materials). In this case, you want to grant the painter a Proxy of the object and allow him/her to modify the material settings.

There is no more info. How do you do the bold part?

Also, can the proxy have more than one material applied to it?

From a test I just did:

  • Linked an object from another blend. (It was UV unwrapped in that file.)
  • Made it a Proxy.
  • I was able to add a Material and a Texture. It kind of works.
  • I cannot Texture paint, I cannot access the UVs.

How would an artist texture/material/paint a mesh made by someone else, that has been linked-in?

You add materials and textures to the original object and after that you link, make proxy and change materials and textures.

After a proxy, I can remove the material and make a new one - then also make a new texture.

That’s cool, and it uses the uv that I unwrapped in the original file, but I can’t go into Texture paint to paint a new texture.

How would you create a character that can look different at different times? Like a scar on the face, or a new tattoo?

Thanks for reading and replying!