2.81a (December 5, 2019)
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The much anticipated update of the Blender 2.80 milestone is here! With over a thousand fixes and several important updates that were planned for the 2.8 series. Most notable are the sculpting tools overhaul, support for NVIDIA RTX ray tracing in Cycles, Intel Open Image denoising, a better outliner, a new file browser and much more.
A complete overhaul of the sculpting workflow.
New Cursor & Brush Settings
Assigns a factor to each vertex before starting the stroke. Topology automasking affects only vertices connected to the active vertex.
Keep an even distance between stroke points in 3D space. Great for sculpting near the edges.
Grab Active Vertex
Snaps the maximum strength of the grab brush to the highlighted active vertex, making it easier to manipulate low poly models or meshes with subdivision surfaces.
Control how sensitive the sculpt normal direction is to the underlying surface.
Dynamic Mesh Preview
The cursor now is aligned to the surface normal, displays symmetry and a preview curve fall-off.
Modifies the whole paint mask. In includes multiple operations like smooth, grow or contrast accessible from a pie menu.
Dirty Mask Generator
Similar to Dirty Vertex Colors, but it generates a paint mask. It can be used to mask cavities in the sculpt.
Creates a mask from the active vertex to the vertex under the cursor based on topology or mesh curvature.
Extracts the paint mask to a new mesh object. It can extract the paint mask creating a boundary loop in the geometry, making it ready for adding a subdivision surface modifier.
Mask Expand by Curvature
Pose a model simulating an armature-like deformation. The pivot point for rotation is calculated automatically based on the radius of the brush and the topology of the model.
Elastic Deform Brush
Based on Pixar's paper Regularized Kelvinlets:
Sculpting Brushes based on Fundamental Solutions of Elasticity, this tool lets you grab, biscale grab, triscale grab, scale and twist operations while preserving volume.
Translate, Rotate, Scale
Use the familiar transform tools now also during sculpt. Transforming around a pivot point and taking into account symmetry.
Draw Sharp Brush
Similar to the draw brush, but it deforms the mesh from the original coordinates. When used with the sharper curve presets it has a much more pleasant crease/cut behavior than any of the other brushes. It is useful for creating cloth wrinkles, stylized hair or hard surface edges.
Mesh Filter Tool
Applies a deformation to all vertices in the mesh at the same time. It includes multiple deformation modes and the option to lock the deformation axis.
Elastic Deform: Grab
Elastic Deform: Scale
Transform Tools in Sculpt Mode
Blender 2.81 now ships with two new ways to remesh your models, a fast one based on volumes and another one preserving quads.
Quickly create a new quad mesh based on the volume of the mesh. It is particularly useful for sculpting, to generate a good topology when blocking shapes, as an alternative to dynamic topology without the performance cost of continuous updates.
Creates a quad mesh with few poles and edge loops following the curvature of the surface. This method is relatively slow but generates higher quality for final topology.
NVIDIA RTX Support
Cycles now has experimental support for rendering with hardware-accelerated raytracing on NVIDIA RTX graphics cards. Itís On.
The OptiX backend was contributed by NVIDIA.
Intelģ Open Image Denoise
A new Denoise node was added in the compositor, to denoise renders using OpenImageDenoise.
Compared to the existing denoiser, it works better with more complex materials like glass, and suffers less from splotchy artifacts. It also gives better results with very low numbers of samples, which can be used for quick previews.
Not everything is EEVEE these days! Cycles got new and improved nodes, a new denoiser, adaptive subdivision stitching, custom HDRI picking from the viewport, NVIDIA RTX support and optimizations all over the board.
Preview Passes in the Viewport
Pick which pass to see while in Rendered shading mode.
Massive improvements on Shader nodes for Cycles & EEVEE.
For convenient access to Color, Density, Flame, and Temperature attributes of smoke domains.
For convenient access to Vertex Colors and their alpha channel.
Linearly remap a value from one range to another.
Produces a random number based on input values.
Clamps a value between a maximum and a minimum values.
Math & Vector Math
New operations and dynamically show number of inputs depending on the operation.
Location, rotation and scale are now node inputs that can be linked to other nodes.
Voronoi, Musgrave, Noise
Support for 1D, 2D, and 4D textures. Plus more feature types.
Reduced shadow terminator artifacts for bump mapping with diffuse BSDFs.
After making its debut in Blender 2.80, the real-time render engine got major optimizations and new features in this release.
Soft Shadows have been completely rewritten to be easier to setup, look and match Cycles better.
Volumetrics are now faster to compute on modern GPUs.
Bump mapping gives more accurate results closer to Cycles.
Support for instanced lights and shadow casters.
Contact shadows now follow the light shape.
Sun lights now have their clip distances automatically computed.
Holdout is now supported with both opaque and semi transparent surfaces.
Transparency handling has been reworked and now supports the same BSDF combinations as Cycles.
New brushes, improved stroke quality, new tools and performance improvements.
New Brushes & Presets
Convert Curves to Grease Pencil
A new option in materials to disable the stencil effect on strokes.
New isometric grid option for lines specified by angle.
Fade Objects: On
Fade Objects: Off
New File Browser
Opens as floating window with more standard layout.
Popovers for view and filter options.
Reworked display of date and file size text.
Options now display on the sidebar, opened or closed depending on the task.
Vertical list view with interactive column header.
Deleting files will now move them to the system trash.
New and updated icons.
Some settings of the dialog are saved in the preferences, so reopening it will have them remembered.
Preferences option allows using the File Browser in full-screen layout.
The outliner got a long-overdue pass on usability.
Selection is now synced with the viewport
Range selection with Shift+Click, extend selection with Ctrl+Click, and range select without deselecting with Ctrl+Shift+Click.
Drag & Drop for parenting multiple objects.
Navigate with Up and Down keys, expand/collapse with Left/Right, hold shift to apply recursively
Box select with click and drag.
Expand arrow click and drag to expand or collapse multiple items.
Object selection with eyedropper now works in the outliner.
Filter option to show hidden objects.
F2 to rename active outliner element.
Transform & Snapping
Transform origins, new snapping, mirroring and auto merge options.
It's now possible to move object origins directly. This is an alternative method of adjusting the origin, previously only possible placing the cursor and setting an objects origins to the cursor.
Two new snap options have been added:
Edge Center, to snap to the middle of an edge.
Edge Perpendicular, to snap to the nearest point on an edge.
You can now transform parents without affecting their children.
Mirror Any Axis, Anywhere.
For mesh editing and vertex/weight paint modes, mirroring now supports X, Y, Z and multiple axes simultaneously.
Poly Build Improvements
Blender 2.81 brings the poly build tool to a whole new level for retopology tasks.
Automatic Quad Creation
Library Overrides is the new system designed to replace and supersede Proxies.
Most types of linked data-blocks can be overridden, and the properties of those overrides can then be edited.When the library data change, unmodified properties of the override one will be updated accordingly.
Compared to proxies, library overrides support:
Multiple independent overrides of the same linked data (i.e. link a character once, instance it multiple times!).
Adding new modifiers and constraints, anywhere in the stack.
Recursively chaining overrides (i.e. link and override overrides from another library file, etc.).
The viewport and workbench also got improvements in this release.
Each viewport can now have its own set of visible collections.
Specular Control on Matcaps
Workbench matcaps can now be OpenEXR images with separate diffuse and specular layers.
Mesh analysis overlay now supports meshes with modifiers, instead of only the original mesh.
Image objects can now be set to display only in side views for a better workflow when used as reference.
HDRI Strength Control
HDRI studio light strength can now be controlled in the shading popover.
Improvements were made to rendered preview so it supports turning off all scene lights and custom world HDRI, for look development (now also for Cycles!)
Where you could previously rename the active item with F2, you can now also batch ...
Blender now features a powerful new unbiased rendering engine called Cycles that offers stunning ultra-realistic rendering.
The built-in Cycles rendering engine offers:
GPU & CPU rendering
Realtime viewport preview
HDR lighting support
Permissive License for linking with external software
Rendering in Blender with Cycles
Modeling in Blender
Blenderís comprehensive array of modeling tools make creating, transforming and editing your models a breeze.
Blenderís modeling tools include:
Keyboard shortcuts for a fast workflow
Edge slide, collapse and dissolve
Grid and Bridge fill
Python scripting for custom tools and add-ons
With Blenderís new rendering engine the possibilities for materials are endless.
Key features are:
Complete Node Support for full customization
Physically accurate shaders like glass, translucency and SSS
Open Shading Language (OSL) support for coding unique shaders
Materials in Blender
Rigging in Blender
Transforming a model into a posable character has never been easier!
Blender offers an impressive set of rigging tools including:
Envelope, skeleton and automatic skinning
Easy weight painting
Bone layers and colored groups for organization
B-spline interpolated bones
Whether itís simple keyframing or complex walk-cycles, Blender allows artists to turn their still characters into impressive animations.
Blenderís animation feature set offers:
Automated walk-cycles along paths
Character animation pose editor
Non Linear Animation (NLA) for independent movements
IK forward/inverse kinematics for fast poses
Sculpting in Blender
Experience the joy of sculpting organic subjects using the built-in sculpting feature set of Blender.
Sculpting in Blender includes:
20 different brush types
Multi-res sculpting support
Dynamic Topology sculpting
Fast UV Unwrapping
Easily unwrap your mesh right inside Blender, and use image textures or paint your own directly onto the model.
Blender allows for:
Fast Cube, Cylinder, Sphere and Camera projections
Conformal and Angle Based unwrapping (with edge seams and vertex pinning)
Painting directly onto the mesh
Multiple UV layers
UV layout image exporting
UV Unwrapping in Blender
Compositing in Blender
Blender comes with a fully fledged compositor built right in. That means no more exporting to third party programs, you can do it all without leaving the program.
The compositor comes with:
Impressive library of nodes for creating camera fx, color grading, vignettes and much more
Full compositing with images and video files
Ability to render to multiLayer OpenEXR files
Whether you need a crumbling building, rain, fire, smoke, fluid, cloth or full on destruction, Blender delivers great looking results.
Blenderís simulation tools include
Fluid Ė Realistic water and fluid simulations.
Smoke Ė Billowing smoke with flames and scene interaction.
Hair Ė Beautiful wafts of hair that blows in the wind and interacts with collisions.
Cloth Ė Amazingly realistic cloth simulations for clothing and environments
Rigid Body Physics Ė Makes any object destructable and collidable
Particles Ė For creating things like rain, sparks and shrapnel
Blender Game Engine Screenshot
Included in Blender is a complete game engine, allowing you to create a fully featured 3d game right inside Blender.
The game engine includes:
Ability to port your models to any third-party game engine
Create or code your own game logic
Full Bullet Physics integration
Python scripting API for advanced control and AI
Support for all OpenGLTM dynamic lighting, toon shading, animated materials as well as Normal and Parallax Mapping
Playback of games inside Blender without compiling or preprocessing
3D spatial audio using OpenAL
Camera and Object tracking
Blender now includes production ready camera and object tracking. Allowing you to import raw footage, track the footage, mask areas and see the camera movements live in your 3d scene. Eliminating the need to switch between programs.
The Camera and Object Tracker includes:
Auto and manual tracking
Powerful camera reconstruction
Real-time preview of your tracked footage and 3d scene
Support for Planar tracking and Tripod solvers
Camera tracking in Blender
Library of Extensions
With a large community of enthusiasts and developers, Blender comes loaded with a vast array of extensions that you can turn on or off easily.
Some existing extensions include:
Generators for trees, terrain, ivy and clouds.
3D Printing Toolbox.
Rigify meta-rigging system.
Import and Export format support for AfterEffects, DirectX, Unreal Game Engine and more!
Plus many more that you can download here
Blender even comes with a built-in Video Editor.
The Video Editor allows you to perform basic actions like video cuts and splicing, as well as more complex tasks like video masking.
The Video Editor includes:
Live preview, luma waveform, chroma vectorscope and histogram displays
Audio mixing, syncing, scrubbing and waveform visualization
Up to 32 slots for adding video, images, audio, scenes, masks and effects
Speed control, adjustment layers, transitions, keyframes, filters and more.
Exporting in Blender
Blender comes packed with import/export support for many different programs.
JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, TARGA, OpenEXR, DPX, Cineon, Radiance HDR, SGI Iris, TIFF
AVI, MPEG and Quicktime (on OSX).
Alembic, 3D Studio (3DS), COLLADA (DAE), Filmbox (FBX), Autodesk (DXF), Wavefront (OBJ), DirectX (x), Lightwave (LWO), Motion Capture (BVH), SVG, Stanford PLY, STL, VRML, VRML97, X3D.
Novice and advanced users will love the ability to customize their layout completely. From simply splitting their viewport, to fully customizing it with python scripting, blender works for you.
Blenderís interface also offers:
Consistency across all platforms
No disruptive pop-up windows
Crisp text (support for retina on OSX)
Download Blender Portable download from the Download links under Download and Download other versions!
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Many years with Blender and it's getting better and better. Can't wait for version 2.8.
Review by Pollux
Jul 14, 2018 Version: 2.79b
OS: Windows 10 64-bit Ease of use: 5/10
Value for money: 10/10
This is an exciting time, with the new-vamped Blender 2.5 currently under strong development. The alpha version is already very solid (try the latest build from graphicall.org - the "official" 2.5 alpha 2 on the Blender site, hmm, maybe not so stable). It's the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet with this marvellous and fun app, in readiness for the looming production-ready version 2.6. Start with basic 3D modeling, then to animating those models, then you can learn the video sequence editor (built-in NLE!) and even the built-in game engine! It's a powerful and actively-developed work of software art, I can only urge you to jump onboard and bring your dreams alive! I gave it a 10 for ease of use, not because it's easy (there is a considerable learning curve), but because once you've got your foot in the door, you begin to realise just how brilliantly-designed and fun this thing is! Congrats to the Blender Foundation (send 'em donations!). I've linked some guides (applicable to 2.5) that I can recommend for noobs to ease them gently into Blender. Happy blending!
Review by chowmein
Jun 11, 2010 Version: 2.52.5 r29387
OS: WinXP Ease of use: 10/10
Value for money: 10/10
I have tried all of the various "Personal Learning" versions of the major 3D packages, and I have to say that Blender can stand up to all of them any day. And it does it without being hobbled by resolution limitations or watermarks on your images.
The only thing that I don't like about it is that it does not seem to have a readily-apparent way to get the conventional 4-view setup that other packages have. Other than that, I really have no complaints. I use it primarily in Linux, and it's very fast. I can run it with ease, while Houdini Apprentice crashes my Linux system and wheezes hard in Vista.
I'll keep using Blender there until Lightwave shows up in Linux, and probably even beyond that. Even if they charged $100 for it, it's still a bargain. Fortunately, they don't.
Review by cubdukat
Oct 23, 2008 Version: 2.48
OS: Vista Ease of use: 5/10
Value for money: 10/10
Just started using this wonderful software. Looks very promising. Open source just doesnt get better than this.. !!!
Review by jaseerabubakar
Sep 25, 2007 Version: 2.45
OS: WinXP Ease of use: 8/10
Value for money: 10/10
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