Blender: one year of updates

Hi people. in these days a lot of 3d software coming out with their annual release… So just for fun I collected almost 1 year of Blender (main) features, from 2.56~2.62 (not for comparison or flaming, only for the record) :eyebrowlift2:

here we go!

New Warp modifier, can be used in a similar way to a Hook but with an adjustable source

Added support for sculpting on constructive modifiers

Image support for Empty Objects

Camera composition guides: center, thirds, golden rule, harmonious triangle

View controls can now apply to the camera view (locked camera view)
mousewheel zoom now zooms camera area when the camera is locked and in ortho view

Now HDR textures can be used to displace

New adjustment layer tracks in the sequencer

Additional bake modes: specular color, specular intensity, mirror color, mirror intensity, alpha (transparency), emission (glow)

Added option to baked named “Bake From Multires” which is avaliable for normals baking and displacement baking

Support for update callbacks in python-defined RNA properties

Compositor math node round second value now changes the step to round

Snap option not to project onto the edit-mesh

Operators which only define a directory are now treated as directory only selectors (no files)

Added support for baking object movement to the “Bake Action” operator

Added anisotropic filtering in viewport and Game Engine

Game Engine: Allow to change the damping of the camera actuator

Quick Explode operator: Sets up a particle system and an explode modifier.

Fluid Sim: Enable the possibility to remove the “air bubble” around submerged collision object. This feature is enabled as standard for new files

Added support for tangent bump shading

Improvements to the point density texture, support for tweaking the falloff with a custom curve new falloff types based on the age or velocity of particles

Blender is now built with support for 3D Connexion devices, for more natural control during view navigation and fly mode

User edited keymaps now no longer override the builtin keymaps entirely, but rather save only the
difference and reapply those changes. This means they can stay better in sync when the builtin keymaps change. Keymaps in blender are now separated so Addons can properly define their own keymaps without them conflicting with user keymaps

This tools adds the ability to “grow” curves over an existing mesh with the option of adding leaves and adjusting many parameters for the final result

This tree generator creates completely parametrically generated trees from curves
Grease scatter was used for sintel to place objects around the ally, using grease pencil lines as a guide as to where to scatter objects

Material passes: Materials have pass-index. This pass-index can be used in the compositor to create mattes. It works the same as object passes.

Node insert: Nodes that have no connections can be inserted on a noodle. Just move the node over the noodle and release when the noodle turns orange.

Delete with reconnect: It is possible to delete a node that is connected in the tree, without loosing the connections. The node is deleted, but the links are reconnected as if the node were muted. Select a node and press CTRL-X.

Noodle curves: Some users like straight noodles, other like curved, in the user preferences the level of the curvation can be changed.

Node properties: The UI of the side panel and on the node can now be different. See the Color balance node in the side panel.

3D audio and speaker objects were added, along with various improvements to the sound system. It’s now possible to place speaker objects in the scene, make an animation and mix down to an audio file.

Sequence editor proxy support was restored, which can now work in the background, along with support for building timecodes to make scrubbing on all video types possible.

Animation system improvment were done, especially relating to usability and to polish the interface. Includes changes to the graph editor, dopesheet editor, NLA editor, curves, drivers, constraints, posing, …

Vertex group modifier were added. There are three modifiers: one to edit existing vertex groups, one to mix groups together, and another to generate vertex groups based on proximity to other objects.
Weight paint tool were added to lock vertex groups, automatically maintain the ratio between different bones, and for fixing poor deformation of vertices.

Non-western fonts support were added, to display the user interface in languages other than English. Efforts to translate in the most common languages is underway, and volunteers are welcome to contribute translations.

Navigation meshes were added for the game engine, used for path finding, so that actors can find the path to a target or flee away. This functionality was implemented using the Recast & Detour libraries.

Motion tracking support has been added, to reconstruct camera and object animation from real footage, and composite 3d rendered object into movie clips. A new Movie Clip editor for loading clips, tracking points and reconstructing motion was added. Constraints can apply this reconstructed motion into the scene, and compositing nodes are available for (un)distorting rendered animations or real footage.

Cycles is a new render engine that is available next to Blender Internal. It is a raytracing based render engine with support for interactive rendering, a new shading node system, new texture workflow and GPU acceleration.

Dynamic paint is a new modifier and physics system that can turn objects into paint canvases and brushes, creating vertex colors, image sequences or displacement. This makes many effects possible that were previously difficult to achieve, for example footsteps in the snow, raindrops that make the ground wet, paint that sticks to walls, or objects that gradually freeze.

Ocean simulation tools take the form of a modifier, to simulate and generate a deforming ocean surface, and associated texture, used to render the simulation data. Ported from the open source Houdini Ocean Toolkit, it is intended to simulate deep ocean waves and foam.

Camera sensor size and presets, improved image saving, 3D mouse color wheel editing, more translations to other languages, node muting improvements, region drawing tweaks, and many more small changes.

New Addons in this release are an Adobe After Effects exporter, Atomic Blender (Protein Data Bank) file importer, Acclaim and C3D motion capture importers, and Nuke camera animation exporter and importer.

Many new UV editing tools were added: an advanced interactive stitch tool, to align and join together UV islands. A subdivision surface aware UV unwrapping to reduce stretching. Seam marking in the UV editor, and a tool to compute seams for islands. Sculpting tools to grab UVs and relax or pinch unwraps.

The Remesh modifier is a tool for generating new mesh topology based on an input surface. The output follows the surface curvature of the input, but its topology is a uniform distribution of quads. It can generate smoothed output or tag sharp features to better capture corners.

The boolean modifier now uses the Carve library, which should give much improved results. This library is more stable and faster, resolving old well-known limitations of our previous library. The general workflow and options available in the user interface are unchanged, usually the modifier will simply run faster and produces a better output mesh. However there also some changes in behavior.

Object tracking support has been added, so that not only camera animation can be reconstructed from footage, but also the animation or transformation of objects in the scene. This comes along with many improvements to the tracking user interface and tools.

improved bump map quality in the viewport, various new dynamic paint options, international text copy and paste and editing in the text editor, longer names and file paths, drag and drop parenting in the outliner, new theme’s preset system and many more changes.

890 bug fixes
small features

Life’s good.

I was looking at the release logs the other day just from the first version I’ve used until now, and it’s really remarkable how far it’s come in such a short period of time. I don’t think any other software I use has nearly as large and frequent upgrades as Blender has had recently.

Great year for Blender and its just getting better and better :slight_smile:

My reaction when 2.61 was announced

I don’t think any other software I use has nearly as large and frequent upgrades as Blender has had recently.

Or nearly as small version number changes! :stuck_out_tongue:

Motion tracking and Cycles alone have rocked my world. Thanks for the list MmAaXx.

@MmAaXx: Thank you for this extensive overview, I hope you got it all, because this is one good resource for the fooks out there. :slight_smile:

ehehe, I made just a copy/paste from wiki :smiley:

anyway is funny to see how many awesome features the BF added in just 1 single year…

I always tell people, Blender has the fastest development cycle of ANY software I’m familiar with, open source or not.