Say I have a mesh of a military aircraft. I want to make renders of said aircraft in the colors of various national air forces. So, for instance, country A colors the plane with blue tail fins with their national flag, while country B colors the plane with yellow fins with no flags, etc.
To make things worse, the mesh will occasionally be updated.
Now, the way I see it, the brute force method is to make a duplicate blend file for each nation, and add materials to the plane for that nation’s military colors. Drawback: if the mesh changes, it will have to be changed in all the separate blend files.
I gather that one can append an object from another blend file as a link instead of an append. So one can have a master blend file with the mesh, and a series of national air force blend files all linked to the master. Advantage: if the mesh changes, it only has to be changed once in the master file. Disadvantage: I do not know if one can change the materials on a linked mesh without changing it on the master. This would make the technique worthless.
Finally one can use a single blend file, with multiple textures. At any given point only one of the “tail” textures would be applied to the mesh’s tail, the other tail textures would have to be marked as permanent otherwise they’d be deleted the next time the blend file was saved. Advantage: any mesh changes only have to be done once. Disadvantage: to render a different nationality, the entire mesh has to be re-textured.
Are there any better solutions?