Maya Reference Editor
As someone who loves modular and expandable systems, I absolutely love this aspect of Maya. I knew something like this likely existed, I did not realise how simple it was to use. This is likely something I will integrate into all my projects from here forward. It is great for breaking up workload into more consumable segments and I love how much potential it has with larger projects.
I started by creating the basic shapes for the objects in the scene. I don't have to use these as part of my models but they do serve as a template to stick too to keep the layout consistent when being updated.
A slight error with one of my saves as I forgot to change the WIP version when I changed it to MASTER, but nothing major. Because of the way the reference editor works, it allows for nested referencing, this is great if you have multiple animations happening in the same environment. not only allowing multiple people to work simultaneously but great for general organisation. What I have yet to try is referencing rigs and animation. I would presume this is possible due to the power of Maya. That would be useful if the modeller wishes to change the character model, for as long it is still referencing from the same rig the animations will transfer seamlessly. As for referencing animation, this would be good for keeping a separate scene for lighting but also gives environment artists the ability to create animated environment assets. Building upon this, some environment assets could be rigged and used multiple times such as cables or trees. With any updates being referenced directly into the poses that the layout has been set up as.
Full scene with reference files in different completion states.
Because of how much I like using the referencing system to create scenes I am using this new knowledge to rethink my squirrel project story and design to better incorporate various different objects that I can also use multiple times throughout. I may go towards a video game style animation so that I can get away with using the same assets multiple times.