Tip: Appending and Linking

In this quick Blender 2.5 video tip we demonstrate how appending/linking can be used to bring in elements from another .blend file. These elements can be mesh objects, lamps, materials, or even sculpting brushes.

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41 Responses to “Tip: Appending and Linking”
  1. Posts: 44

    Thanks Jonathan. I knew about appending but, wasn’t sure about linking. You have a way of demystifying things!

  2. Posts: 6
    snee says:

    thank you soo much!

  3. Posts: 18

    Im having trouble I think I need to apend my oblject so I can animate it but the bones or textures do not come with the object file. is there a way to apend all data ( ring, textures, materials ex.) I can apend all seperatly but then I have to apply everything again and I already did this once I dont waht to do it again everytime I make a new progect.

    • Posts: 3
      John Carter says:

      Ok, I believe I have this figured out: To reference a setup and rigged character into a new Blender file you use the file>link command. This will open up a directory where you navigate to the file to be referenced, and then select the character and its armature in the Object folder and then hit the “link” button. Once they’re in the new Blender file, select the armature and hit command+alt+P to make it a proxy. This will allow you to select individual bones and switch to pose mode for keyframing. Any change made to the character in its original “master” Blender file will automatically be reflected in the Blender file that is referencing it. This seems to be the way it is working in my tests, but please correct me if I’ve gotten any of it wrong.

  4. Posts: 87
    connor says:

    Is it possible to link multiple object meshes as well?

    • Posts: 2
      Chainz says:

      Exactly is there a way to proxy link same object and still be able to manipulate it (using bones) differently?

      Like imagine you would like to create a scene with 2 fighting Sintels – linked from 1 file but moving differently. It looks like at the moment Blender manipulates both objects at the same time when you manipulate just one of them.

  5. Posts: 1
    ur moms vag says:

    what if you want to keep the texture on the object you bring in?

  6. Posts: 82
    joe says:

    Wow exactly what I need. In fact I just requested a tutorial on this because I was unable to locate what I was looking for

  7. Posts: 1
    jakelong00 says:

    i’m trying to append a textured object but for some reason after appending the texture doesn’t show up…how to append the textured object properly?

  8. Posts: 1

    I was familiar with linking and appending before this, but I came here for the answer to a simple question. Can you append an object, while keeping its texture + material intact? More specifically, can you do this in a blend file that has multiple objects/materials/textures? I may have made the mistake of making all my models in one file, thinking that only one file to reference would make things easier. Thanks for the help in advance.

  9. Posts: 10

    Seems like link would be really useful if you could manipulate the linked iteration in object mode. But you can’t. So, yeah that sucks, and I fail to see it’s value.

    Say you want to reuse your funky cube for a different project. but don’t want it dead center.. well link doesn’t work. say you want multiple iterations of one object in you scene. Again link no worky.

    I was hoping you could take your square “building type thingy” with a number of cubes round the perimeter, each cube would be an iteration linked to a file with a single box. Then to add detail to those boxes you could edit the one and have all the iterations update in your scene.

    But, since you can’t move linked objects in the new scene it seems not only useless but inconvenient (having to switch projects every time) the only time I could see link being useful is for extremely high poly complex models that your machine could not handle all at once.

  10. Posts: 10

    I found a little trick that (so far) works. The manual calls it a DupliGroup.

    Take your master object and [ctrl G] to group it.
    Then in your scene link the group (not the object).
    The group (master object is linked to an empty in your scene which can be manipulated unsing [G S or R]
    Not sure if [crtl shift A] is needed but it makes them “real” and you are free to manipulate them further.

    Editing the master object effects each iteration in your new scene including the ones created with [shift D]

    Animating them is proving more difficult but this would be great for static scenes with reused props.

  11. Posts: 5
    avenida gez says:

    Appending only the Mesh
    Some people ask on how to append only the mesh and not the object, so you avoid bringing all parts related to the object and get only the mesh.
    Well, as told in the video, there is a folder when you open the blend file, named mesh and other named object.
    You will used the one named mesh.
    a Mesh is not an object, and blender works with objects, so the mesh is part of an object as the texture and other things become part of the object.
    You will append the mesh in the folder, lets say it is named table, chair, cube or whatever, so lets say it is named chair.
    Once done, in the 3D view you will see nothing, because the mesh you just appended is not attached or binded to any object, you you will need and object which you may have included in the 3D view previous to appending the mesh or after appending the mesh, chair in this case.
    Lets say you appended the chair mesh, but have not already included an object in the 3D view, so, go to Add mesh, an use for example, a cube from the menu list.
    Now you have your cube in the 3D view, but is is a cube, so now go to the tabbed panel to the right where there is the icons, cube, a chain, a wrench, and a mesh, materials, textures, etc.
    Select the mesh icon (the triangle with three dots at the corners)
    you will see the option to attach your chair mesh to the cube, just below the top icons, there is a place to write the name of your mesh, but easier is to click in the left icon (which is, again, a triangle with three dots at the corners) and there will appear in the list your chair mesh ready to be selected.
    Once done, you have your chair mesh ready to work with.
    Observe that there is an F to the right, this is used if for some reason you no attach the appended mesh to an object, it will not be included in your blend file, so the next time you restart blender, your chair wont be in the list.
    In fact, if you see the list, there was the chair with a zero to the left, meaning it has no users.
    So in case you need, you may click the F, an a fake user will be attached to the mesh, so the next time you start blender the chair stills there if you have not attached it to some object.
    Usually the name of the object is the same of the mesh, but they are refered to different things, if you see in the options panel (the one called with key N, in the Item section, there goes the name of the object, in this case you will see it still named cube, but you can change its name to be Chair too as it is named its mesh.

  12. Posts: 1
    Jim Crowley says:

    Have a project with animated landing gear. Built and animated one set but would like to create the other two with all there properties. Don’t want to copy and spin and bone and link and so on and so on…….. Any ideas on how to do this.

  13. Posts: 1
    inkwellian says:

    Didn’t see it mentioned here so I thought I’d chime in.

    If you have a textured and rigged mesh that you want to link into your scene, it’s best if in the source .blend you group all the objects. Then you link to the group, not the individual objects. Then, you select “Object > Make Proxy…” on the rig, and boom. You can animate it.

    Note: Keep in mind that you’ll need to expose all the animation capability via the armature since you have no direct access to the linked object’s shape keys.

  14. Posts: 10
    gikkio says:

    ok but no one talk about the important think.

    APPEND OR LINK entire object with TEXTURE and MATERIALS!

  15. Posts: 1
    stevygee says:

    I wanted to link a rigged character including materials and inkwellian’s comment helped me out! In addition, make sure to switch to Cycles if you used it to setup the character’s materials, so they get displayed correctly!

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