Organizational structure of objects besides parent/child and group

Well, the biggest problem I am having switching to Blender so far is the lack of something between a group and a parent/child relationship.

When I create a group the group cannot be maintained as a physical entinty in terms of the basic transformation operations as far as I can tell. For this purpose the most useful thing I’ve found is created a group, finding it in the Outliner panel and then clicking through Select>All linked objects. Apart from that Groups are from what I can tell a completely informational structure and the manual says so.

Problem is, the parent child relationship also sucks. I might be wrong again here too, but I dont think think there is any support for instances of parents?

Anyway I think you know what I want and I there might even be something like that available. For example, I want to group 3 distinct mesh objects and duplicate them as a reference group. Furthermore, I would like to use this group in arrays and DupliFrames/DupliVertices operations. Maybe I’m missing something, let me know. Can I somehow put an object inside a nother object? Blah, I guess dummy objects are mainly used for this?

Ah, yes. When I came from 3DSMax to Blender I thought these groups suck. They really do. In 3DSMax if I make a group it really becomes a group and I can translare the group as a single object. This all happens a single action in Max. In Blender you have to take several steps to achieve the same thing.

Here is how you do it.

Open A New Blender Scene.
Select the default cube and move it way from the center.
Use the space bar and create a mesh sphere.
Select the mesh and the sphere and press CTRL-G in the 3D window.
Select Add To New group and their outlines turn green.

Yeah we have created a group! And it’s default name is called “Group”

Press A-Key in the 3D window to deselect all.
Now right click to select the cube.
The cube still has a green outline so I know it is part of a group, but the rest of the group did not select. That is the default operation in 3DSMax. When you select an object in a group, the entire group should select. When I grab the cube and move it, the sphere does not move. It appears that I am constantly in an arrange mode even if I create a group.

Groups need to be linked to an object to function in the 3DSMax style of grouping.

Press the spacebar and add an empty to the scene.
Press F7 to bring up the Animation settings TAB.
Click the DupliGroup button and type the word “Group” in the GR: field.
The cube and the sphere turn pink again?

That is because the group is being instanced into the scene, via the Dupligroup function, using the empty as it’s origin. If you move the Empty down the screen a bit, you will see that you also have created a copy. There are two cubes and two spheres.

Right click on the top cube and it turns green. Right click on the bottom cube and it turns pink and selects the sphere just like a 3DSMax group. Now you can animate a single origin as a single object.

The attached BLEND file has the setup I mention here in the post.


group.blend (269 KB)

What surprises me is that, if the linked-to object has an animation-IPO associated with it, the object doesn’t animate.

In other words: open a library, hit ALT-GKEY, and it spins. But, link to it from another blend-file, reference it with a DupliGroup, hit ALT-GKEY, and … nada.

Also interesting … if I “link grouped objects to scene” (in that other-blend-file), now it animates … but it can’t be moved around.

Fiddling with it some more while I’m typing this, and … I try selecting the dupligroup Empty and hitting CTRL+ALT+PKEY (“Make Proxy”). It shows me a list of everything, apparently, that is linked. I choose one of the parts … whether animated or not … and once I have done that, the animation occurs.

Now… here’s where what I have just done starts to really “smell like a hack.” :eek: If I have created a proxy, to any of those parts as described above, now the linked object starts to animate. In other words: - When you link to the library, add the Empty and make it a DupliGroup, the linked-object appears and you can move it around … but it doesn’t animate. - If you then select the Empty, do “Make Proxy” and select (even) a non-animated part from the list … the object moves. You don’t need to do a thing with that proxy. (In fact, you shouldn’t, because that will cause the one linked part to move independently.)
So… I’m sure, both that “I have found ‘a way,’” and that “it is ‘the wrong way.’”


As a follow-up to the previous rather-confusing post, I find that simply doing Add…Group produces, in one step, what appears to be a DupliGroup-object (not an empty…) that does animate. And yes, it can be moved around or duplicated.

Yes, the library is still “linked.”

I am now quite puzzled about what is different …