Great, thanks again for your thoughts. I think it’s pretty common that freelancers & small shops do not prefer to use referenced materials, but that larger offices often want to have a single person who can curate the materials they use, in order to enforce a consistent look across all their work.
Ultimately what I want for bella is something in-between, where you are able to add a set of attributes (think color, shininess, whatever you like) to a special kind of material, and connect them to inputs of one of the standard bella materials. Then, when you reference this material, what you see is only that set of attributes, which you use to tweak a particular instance of the material.
If you don’t expose any attributes, then you can’t change anything, and this is just a regular referenced material. But if you do expose some, then you have a flexible material that allows you to create many variations, easily decided in each place where you use it, with all the details remaining hidden.
The simplest use case would be just to simplify the use of a standard bella material, however you see fit. But if you consider that the “internal” material may have connected textures, layers, etc, using color correction nodes, or vector multiplication of colors, and so forth, you can create something super powerful, but which still exposes only a minimum of attributes to control it.