you can have different approaches, there is no right or wrong. If you don’t mind, I write down my personal process…
The best thing is actually to have a simple and fast start in your production session. So if you can set up your libraries in a way, that you just activate the instances and start playing with the sound, you will be much faster with your creative process (the most important libraries are loaded in my RAM). My template looks like this: String-Section…almost all the strings I have…solo…ensemble etc., Brass-Section…same thing…WWs, Percussion, Synths, Pianos, SFXs, you name it…
When you open your mix-window, all your sections should go to busses…first small busses, like Strings-Legato, Strings-Staccato, etc. these busses go to the bigger busses, Strings-Busses. Here you can pre-mix your sections…EQ (LowCuts), Compression, Saturation, Sends etc. the real mixing process is done later, because every track is different, even if you have exactly the same instruments used…
At the end you should have around 8-10 Instrument-Busses, maybe more depends on how many sections you really want to have separate. Then you could have 3 Delays and 3 Reverbs, from short to long delays/reverbs. You can have other FXs as well. Your sections can get different reverbs this way and later you can glue your track with one good and solid reverb together. Don’t overdo it, otherwise your music will sounds too wet and muddy. That’s what I hear a lot in todays productions. People through the longest reverb on their music-bus and they think the track will sound more professional etc. the truth is, that you can hear at this point who is pro and who is a beginner. Never overuse your reverb. The reverb should be more felt, than heard. You can EQ your reverb, cut the lows and highs, so you don’t muddy up your mix. You can duck it, so your track is more present and tight, but still feels big and natural. You can saturate your reverb, to give it more character. You can compress your reverb, so it is more glued to the track. You can chorus your reverb to give it even more space. You can automate your reverb, to give your track more excitement! You can do whatever you feel is right to you. But the best advice is: Take a plugin, insert it before or after your reverb and have a listen…maybe it will be your next secret weapon for your next project
After this step you could have a music, vocals and a separate FX-Bus, these 3 go to your AllMusic-Bus (that’s how I call it). Your AllMusic-Bus could have a send to a Parallel-Compression-Bus, all depends on what sound you want to achieve. If I have the PA-Bus as well, I will have a ALLFINAL-Bus, which is my “Master-Bus” for everything I have. The DAW-Bus is only used for analysing and referencing stuff. No Plugins here at all.
That’s how I like to work on my tracks.
PS: I don’t have a separate mixing-template. I mix in my production-template (print the tracks, which are done). At all times I can active my tracks back and change, whatever I have in mind. I like it, because it gives me more freedom and flexibility. I don’t like to have a separate mixing-template, because if I find something, which bothers me, I have to go back to the production-template, which costs a lot of time. That’s why I like to work in my all-production-template. If you can organise your tracks well, structure, colours, groups, folders etc. you can’t get lost, even if have more than 1000 tracks.