Time flies when Blender foundation announced a major version bump to Blender 3D with the release of version 3.0 and here we are with the new version bump. and if you thought 3.1 would be a minor bump, then oh boy you are in for a big surprise. armed with major fundings, this release follows the new versioning system of Blender, and version 3.1 has massive changes, so much so that we would not able to cover each and every change in this humble article.
Let’s take a look at the major changes that Blender brings to the kitchen table (see what I did there?)
- Support of Metal API: we covered when 3.0 released, the foundation was working in apple’s graphic API. but it was not ready for the prime time. fast forward today and we have Apple’s Metal API support in blender for that GPU accelerated rendering and UI performance. how fast is it compared to just CPU usage? well, just less than twice as fast. this however is limited to Apple M1 and Macs with AMD GPU.New
- Point Cloud Support: Brings support to use point cloud which can be rendered with cycles which is not only faster, is more memory efficient and the best part is easy to import and export to and fro to any software making blender easy plugin for render pipeline which requires all those point cloud renderings.
- Cycles rendering improvement: Ray tracing precision has been enhanced thus removing small artifacts while rendering using the Cycles engine. OptiX temporal denoising is added which now uses vector passes. however, this is enabled through python API only. BVH optimization can be used for faster render times (but with more memory usage).
- New building nodes added: Goemtry nodes brought the revolution of creating anything procedurally and this release now brings 19 new nodes to make procedural generation easier.
- User interface enhancement: Nodes can now be directly dragged and dropped from the search bar itself making it easy to search and plugin with the existing node setup. This is Available in Geometry, Shading, and Compositor nodes.
- Instance Attributions: when we created instances earlier, their attributes were taken from the main object. but these changes instances can now have their own attributes. Realized meshes can inherit data from instances and the chain can go on and on really long.
- Node Group as assets: Blender added asset management and now a node can be made into an asset too. combining both makes it super easy to create a node, make it an asset, and reuse it in any project by just dragging and dropping.
- Extrude and Scale become a node too: with blender foundation’s vision to make everything a node, extrude and scale has node too. This will now make the procedural generation under the geometry node to the next level.
- Fast nodes: Gemotry nodes and many others are now multithreaded and now uses all the cores to go blazing fast
- Global transformations can now be copied and pasted: You can now copy transform information from one object to another making animation a breeze when animating multiple objects.
- faster subdivide: subdivision gains GPU acceleration making it so fast that that real-time preview with subdivision enables much more tolerable.
- Faster import and export: OBJ files and FBX files import and export are now super fast
- Image Editor is Fast: The image editor can now handle oodles of large image file
And there is much more, even not intended, we still listed 13 huge changes and the smaller changes are immense. the theme is very clear with the 3.1 release, everything seems to go super fast and this trend will remain in future releases also.
Major release notes with examples can be seen here.
A detailed complete change list can be seen here.
Download the latest version for your favorite platform from here.
Like what you see? become a blender supported by joining the development fund in the spirit of Open source. here is the link.
Blender Foundation has also released a small showreel of 3.1 and you should check it out.
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