First off, I am not an experienced Blender user and I come from a Maya background. As such some of the terminology I might be using would be wrong for Blender, so I’m trying to explain my use case as I go. Also, I’m using Blender 2.8 beta.
Referencing, what am I looking for?
I’m trying to reproduce a setup like Maya’s referencing. Specifically allowing me to load a file format (in my case highest priority is Alembic but FBX/obj and others could be of interest too) and then update to another version of the file at a later stage, preserving my “local edits” on the content.
- Reference Alembic
- Position the content wherever I want. - possibly instance it.
- Assign some shaders
- Update the referenced Alembic to a new file (preserving local overrides/changes)
The idea of what I’d like to do is allow automatic assignments of “shaders” done by someone else (potentially updating them when the shader has done an updated version) and update the “pointcache” (alembic) when the animator did a new export version of his animation. Currently it’s unknown to me how to set up such a workflow in Blender.
Why am I looking for this?
As a Technical Director at Colorbleed I’m currently involved in integrating Blender into our open-source pipeline toolkit - (documentation). To do this right I must work towards a way that “works nicely” in Blender workflows as opposed to forcing Maya’s way of things. As such, if you have valuable information or links on Blender workflows for bigger productions that are about using shared content that is greatly appreciated. Here are some things of interest:
- Linking a file from a rigger, and “linking and updating” that in animation when the rig has updates
- Linking an Alembic and assigning overrides/shaders and potentially updating the loaded content when the animation is updated/revised.
- Managing shaders/lighting scenes when animation/FX content is updated by someone else?
I’ve found these topics that discuss the same “idea” but don’t give me a definite answer on how to do it. It mentions things like linking and proxies - maybe of interest for others searching the same topic: