3.0 (December 3, 2021)
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Today, 3 December 2021, Blender Foundation announces the release of Blender 3.0, to mark the beginning of a new era for open source 2D/3D content creation.
Released 3 December, 2021
WHAT’S NEW IN LESS THAN 7 MINUTES
The Freedom to Create, V3
Cycles GPU kernels have been rewritten for better performance, rendering between 2x and 8x faster in real-world scenes.
Render time with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX A6000 and OptiX.
LESS LAG, MORE FUN
Enjoy a more responsive viewport due to new scheduling and display algorithms.
Moving around the 3D viewport feels much more responsive now, even with Overlays turned on.
OpenImageDenoise was upgraded to version 1.4, with improved detail preservation. A new pre-filter option was added to control the denoising of auxiliary albedo and normal passes.
New option to reduce shadow artifacts that often happen with low poly game models. Offset rays from the flat surface to match where they would be for a smooth surface as specified by the normals.
The Geometry Offset option works as follows:
0.001: Only terminated triangles
1.0: All Triangles Affected
Generally, using one or a few levels of subdivision can get rid of artifacts faster than before.
CATCH BEYOND SHADOWS
Say hi to the new shadow catcher, completely rewritten for Blender 3.0
New features include:
Indirect and environment light support, for more accurate compositing.
Option for lights to be considered included or excluded, that is if they are real or synthetic objects.
New Shadow Catcher pass to fully handle coloured indirect light and emission.
Coloured shadows and precise reflections make blending 3D with real footage much easier.
Subsurface scattering now supports anisotropy and index of refraction for Random Walk. Realistic skin has an anisotropy around 0.8.
Time-based rendering limit
Hardware ray-tracing for baking with NVIDIA OptiX
Faster hair using 3D curves in Optix
Separate presets for viewport and render sampling
Reduced kernel compilation time for OptiX
Improved adaptive sampling
Geometry Offset option to reduce shadow terminator artifacts
Light option to be visible to camera rays
New Position render pass
Volume sampling quality is now the same for CPU and GPU
Baking support for denoising and adaptive sampling
Open Shading Language metadata support for UI labels and checkboxes
Removed Features and Compatibility
The first milestone of the Asset Browser project is here!
Your workflow is about to get much more organized.
DRAG & DROP
Materials, Objects, and World datablocks are supported as part of the first milestone, with more planned to come on the next releases.
Download this Cube Diorama .blend file to play with the new Asset Browser.
Define folders as Asset Libraries in your Preferences so you can load your favorite assets anytime, from anywhere.
Organize your assets in catalogs. These are independent of the .blend file the asset is stored in, providing great flexibility.
Special metadata can be added to assets such as author, tags, and asset description.
Custom asset thumbnails
Link, Append, and Append reusing data modes
“Frame Selected” to scroll to the selected assets
Support rendering previews for Action datablocks
The procedural system introduced in 2.92 has been extended with a re-imagined method for designing node groups, a new attribute system, around 100 new nodes for interaction with curves, text data, instances, and more.
GO ON A FIELD TRIP
Discover a new concept for passing around data and functions. Introducing: Fields.
Operations can be built from basic nodes and simply connected together, removing the need for named attributes as a way to store intermediate data, and removing the need for special “Attribute” nodes for simple operations.
Named Attributes Workflow
“With fields it’s much easier to build node groups for higher level concepts that work together better than before.”
At a Glance
At a Glance
A new overlay colors the wires to match the socket they are connected to, making it much easier to spot their type at a distance.
Mouse over the sockets to quickly inspect their content, know their type, and a handy tooltip about their functionality has been added to a number of nodes.
Circle vs Diamond
Circle vs Diamond
In order to tell at a glance which sockets support fields, single values, or both, sockets are now drawn with a diamond, circle, or combined shape.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Native curve data joins the Geometry Nodes party. Resample, fill, trim, manipulate the handles, set spline type, convert to mesh, or get started with the included curve primitives.
Blender 3.0 Curves
A WALL OF NODES
The Geometry Nodes modifier is now supported on Curve and Text objects with full support for the attribute system.
Splines have resolution and cyclic builtin attributes.
Control points have position, radius, tilt, handle_left and handle_right built-in attributes.
Attributes with any name or data type can be created or removed on splines or control points.
Attributes can be interpolated between the two curve domains.
MORE THAN WORDS
Got something to say? Use Geometry Nodes! Blender 3.0 brings the first milestone in Text Nodes.
Manipulate strings with new nodes such as:
String to Curves
Value to String
Blender 3.0 Text Nodes
Blender 3.0 Geometry Nodes Material
Play with materials inside Geometry Nodes!
New nodes include:
The way geometry nodes works with instances has been improved, to make it more intuitive and much faster.
Geometry can now be instanced directly.
Mesh modifiers after geometry nodes no longer implicitly realize instances.
Instances are now exposed properly to nodes, and aren’t converted to real geometry implicitly.
The Realize Instances node can explicitly convert instances into real geometry.
Blender 3.0 Geometry Nodes Instance Nodes
EEVEE ♥ ATTRIBUTES
Mesh attributes are no longer a Cycles exclusive, Eevee now fully supports attributes including those generated by Geometry Nodes.
OUT IN THE WILD
EVEN MORE GEOMETRY NODES
Improved Attribute Workflow
Faster evaluation system
New Overlay popover in Node Editor
Automatic panning when dragging links or nodes
Multi-threaded evaluation of fields
Dot grid background
New context breadcrumbs
Hide frame labels if empty
Mark node links red if there’s no possible implicit conversion
Dim out-of-frame node links
Remove green background when inside node groups
Display node warnings in Modifier
Spreadsheet sidebar to pick components and domains
New nodes design
Volumes now support Geometry Nodes
Faster Instance on Points on multiple CPU threads
To celebrate the beginning of a new series, Blender 3.0 sports an updated theme, improvements, and a bunch of new options to further customize the already flexible layout system.
Theme update focused on improving contrast.
Panels now have customizable rounded corners and margin between panels to tell them apart more clearly.
Several widgets have been tweaked for consistency, including menu items customizable roundness.
Corner action zones now allow joining any neighbors. Create new areas much more easily.
Additionally, these improvements were made:
New “Close Area” option in the context menu.
Hit size for area resizing has been increased.
Better snapping of areas while holding Ctrl.
Improved mouse cursor feedback when joining is not possible.
PLUS THESE USER INTERFACE TWEAKS
Freestyle UI redesign
3D Viewport Statistics overlay shows local stats in Local View
Flat shading for NLA strips
“List Item” no longer relies on “Regular” theme setting
Improve contrast on playhead
Style drag-drop indicators as tooltips
Improved menu mnemonic underlines
“Active Tab” text uses region’s “Text Highlight” theme color when active
Use arrow icon on context paths
Roundness theme setting for Menu Item
Resizing areas now snap to consistent sizes
Editor header and Tool Settings region swapped for consistency
Improved feedback when closing files
Object thumbnails captured at an oblique angle
Improved placement of child windows when using multiple monitors
Remove separator lines between rows in VSE
Improved scaling of File Browser preview images
Don’t resize temporary windows if they’re already open
Support for Japanese, Chinese and Korean input in text fields on macOS
Ctrl+F while hovering UI lists will open the search for the list
Automatically scroll view to Text buttons when editing
Improved .blend preview thumbnails
Show descriptive display names for Fonts in File Browser
Substantial speed increases for interface text drawing
Associate current Blender with .blend files in Preferences (Windows)
Less jiggling of contents when moving nodes
Increased resolution of blend file thumbnails
Split Dimensions panel
Mouse hit size for area resizing increased
Rework the custom property edit operator
Display indicator in 3D Viewport when Clipping Region is enabled
Z axis lock option for Walk Navigation
Improve the layout of Custom Properties edit panel
Navigation gizmos no longer hide when using modal operators
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
Blender’s comprehensive array of modeling tools make creating, transforming and editing your models a breeze.
Blender’s 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 Blender’s 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 it’s simple keyframing or complex walk-cycles, Blender allows artists to turn their still characters into impressive animations.
Blender’s 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.
Blender’s simulation tools include
Fluid – Realistic water and fluid simulations.
Smoke – Billowing smoke with flames and scene interaction.
Hair – Beautiful wafts of hair that blows in the wind and interacts with collisions.
Cloth – Amazingly realistic cloth simulations for clothing and environments
Rigid Body Physics – Makes any object destructable and collidable
Particles – 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.
Blender’s interface also offers:
Consistency across all platforms
No disruptive pop-up windows
Crisp text (support for retina on OSX)
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Blender is getting crazier and crazier with every release.
I'm really scared: development is going so fast.. every update has huge improvements and load of stuff added !
It's simply unbelievable.
Review by KryxMoon
Feb 26, 2021 Version: 2.92
OS: Windows 10 64-bit Ease of use: 8/10
Value for money: 10/10
Rating by Anoir Ben Tanfous
Aug 9, 2020 Version: 2.81
OS: Windows 10 64-bit Ease of use: 7/10
Value for money: 10/10
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
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