Blender Instancing Workflow

I originally learnt how to do 3D modelling, and animation in LigthWave 3D and it works with a separate modelling and layout programme, which means that when you work with that, you will model one object, and then work with that in the layout software.

I have been finding working with Blender difficult because I like to keep things simple, even when I am working on a large scene (not that I have worked on a large scene). The way that things are "designed" to work you will model your whole scene, and do all the lighting and camera setup all in one file.

This mostly works. But I want a fairly simple scene with a table, and a table cloth, and some dishes on top of it.

There are ways to duplicate objects, either as entirely new objects, or in scene copies. Duplicate Objects (shift-d) and Duplicate Linked (alt-d). The Duplicate Objects creates a copy (same as copy and paste I think) and Duplicate Linked creates a linked duplicate which is a link to the original object.

There also is collections, where you can instance a collection (add->collection). This is getting closer to what I want to do, but the object must be modeled in the same file.

You can do a file->link which creates a link to an "datablock" such as an object in another file. This sounds really good, and sounds like what I want to do. The problem is, this means all the editing has to be done in the other file. This includes even moving the object.

There is also file->append which copies the data from that datablock into the current file. It is sort of getting there, but now that other file is largely not mentioned.

At this point, I am thinking I maybe can't do it the way that I want, but wait. What if I put the linked datablock (file->link) into a collection.

This seems like it works. The one thing which I have done, is to untick the checkmark which is labeled "exclude from view layer" on the collection, and now I can just do a shift-a->collection->cup2 to add the cup.

I know that this doesn't really give me enough that if I found this, I would understand what to do, without really trying it out. This is just a matter of trying to get some of what I'm trying down, before it willl leave my head.

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