Blender 3D News and Training

Blender Tutorial : Linking And Appending : DO’s and DON’TS!

Posted by Aidy Burrows on Jan 22, 2016

WHATS THE DIFFERENCE between Linking, Appending, Importing and Exporting?

● Take advantage of the HUMAN POWER to coordinate by setting up a large project between multiple artists!

● Animate an INFINITELY looping Helicopter blade rotation

● Bringing it all together into a MASTER Blend file

● Understanding AND correcting someone else’s blend file for your purpose

● Randomly using UPPERCASE in a bulletpoint list can be FUN!




(Colors at the top of the video for easy navigation)

Chapter 1 (red) – Introduction

Chapter 2 (orange) – Import and Export

Chapter 3 (yellow) – Append

Chapter 4 (green) – Linking and local

Chapter 5 (cyan)  – Group Linking

Chapter 6 (Indigo) – The Big Picture – Analysing someone else’s Blend

Chapter 7 (purple) – Fixing Materials and Textures

Chapter 8 (pink) – Fixing the Drivers

Chapter 9 (red) – Linking a rig the correct way

Chapter 10 (orange) – Creating the chopper blades animation/action

Chapter 11 (yellow) – Linking all into the master file

Chapter 12 (green) – Edit Linked Library Addon



Blended Blends Blending

The below image shows 3 blend files (as shown down the side).

TOP BLEND > This has the model and the rig which are both in the same group.

MIDDLE BLEND > Here the animator has linked in the group from the top blend. They can’t start animating until they get control of the rig though, so with the group selected they go ‘CTRL ALT P’ to make it proxy and select the armature from the options.

BOTTOM BLEND > Here the director has linked in the group from the top blend and like the animator made it proxy. Also linked in is the ‘Action’ from the middle blend. Now the director can create the lights and camera to render (or put that in yet another blend!)

All of this (and more) in more detail in the video above.


 linking appending in blender




Keep an eye out for BAM! The Blender asset management system. This could be exactly what you need for that large project.

Blendswap Helicopter model link by papa dragon. (MANY THANKS TO THE ARTIST!)

Edit linked library addon online details.

More Blender pipeline tips from Pablo Vazquez for the recent official Blender film COSMOS LAUNDROMAT

Any more – LET ME KNOW I’LL ADD THEM UP. 🙂 Aidy.

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Comments (9)

Jeremiah Knol
Jeremiah Knol

Thank you for this very informative video! I have played around with linking and appending before, but while watching the video I learned a lot of things I had never thought about. While most simple projects won’t need appending or linking, it is still an important skill to know, as sometimes you will want to grab an object/material/etc. from a previous project.

Aidy Burrows

Thanks! Yeah that’s a good point you make there though, these tools are not just about working in teams in that sense. You can have various nodegroups, materials and kitbash meshes etc etc all linked in. I’m glad you saw that 🙂 Aidy.

Enrico Moras
Enrico Moras

How do i relink broken links?
Like in Maya Reference we use to get a browse file option if the linked file is not found.

Aidy Burrows

Ah yes, I remember that in Maya. At 12:37 you’ll see me check for external data broken links. There’s also an option in that list to Find missing links, this is where you would put it at the new folder location. I think it’s a tad harder if filenames have changed though, so not a good idea to do that I think. 🙂 Aidy.

alex saplacan
alex saplacan

Thanks Aidy for the detailed explanation. I don’t work in a team yet but already I’m linking instead of appending, I think more to make a habit and because I consider it more “clean”. I didn’t knew about the action linking. Thanks again.

Aidy Burrows

You’re welcome! Good luck when it comes to team time! 🙂 Aidy.

Warren D. M. Reed
Warren D. M. Reed

Vol: fly; arrete: stop; porte: door; fenetre: window; cabine: cabin. Ouvert/ouverte: open (masc./fem nouns); ferme/fermee closed. Its cool the rotors have a flight mode already set up. awesome model. anymore French just let me know! (carrosserie refers to the body work material, comes from ‘carrosse’, from the old horse-drawn coaches, even used re cars today.

Aidy Burrows

Ahhhh, thanks so much! That’s very helpful! And you are the first person I will be coming to for localization! haha. 😀


Warren D. M. Reed
Warren D. M. Reed

Before I even watch this I know it’s going to really help, lots of topics I need especially as I am stumbling through linking and appending doubts and quandaries. Thanks in advance. Now, where’s my notebook?