Blender has taken things slowly when it comes to version bumping even though loads of features have been added. It was 20 years ago when version 2.0 was released in Aug 2020 and the Blender Foundation has announced the most awaited brand new spanking 3D application for CG artists with a Tag Version 3.0 and so many features are added that listing all of them in this puny article would be impossible. Let’s look at the major changes and improvements.
- New Cycles Rebdering Engine: Yup the more physically accurate cycles rendering engine has a major revision. infact it is rewritten from scratch and was code named Cycles and it promises speed improvement to the tune of 2X to 8X depecding upon the scene. Even the 2X improvement is GPU rednering is just free perforance bump without spending a penny. This has also resulted in faster viewport previosing all thanks to new algorythem.
- Improved Optix Spport: Thise with Nvidia RTX hardware can enjoy better feature capirity with generic cycles rendering as OptiX now has curve suuport, ray tracing bake, reduced kernel compilation.
- AMD hardware suuport vide HIP: new cycle rendering support truncates OpenCL which theorericlaly made AMD GPU hardware rendring impossible. But now thanks to HIP support (basicaly CUDA support in AMD GPU), Hardware rendering is back with RDNA and and above GPUs. Reduced render time. thus it also support No runtime kernel compilation and feature parity with NVIDIA GPUs. Note that this support is limited to windows machines as of now.
- Upgraded Intel’s OpenImageDenoise: OIDN was updated to latest 1.4 which improved detail preservation whikle performing dnoising and thus makes things even faster. Earlier version would smoothen the textures alao giving a more painterly effect unless very high samples were given. This has now much impropved with new denoiser.
- New shadow terminator options: in order to reduice shadow artifacts appearing on low poly flkat suracfes, new options have been to match the shadow effect on smooth surcafe.
- Shadow Catcher: This feature was also avaable in previous version, howver it also has been rewritten from sratch and can now suuprt indiorect environment light, lights can be optionallyu excluded or included, and the shadow catcher pass can also handle coloured indirect light and also emissions.
- SSS improvement: SSS AKA sub sirface scattering to simulate lighting related to skin, wax etc has also seen new improvemtn where anisotophy and index of refreaction has been addded to random waqlk method of SSS. This resultes in more realistic SSS effects specially in skins.
- The Asset Browser: Everything else was incremental till this point but our best hoped feature is the new asset browser baked in which makes adding preexisting asset (models, material etc) a breeze almost akin to Unreal engine. Assets can be dragged and dropped, can be categorised in neat manner, support custom thumbnaie and more. seeing is beloeing and here a neat video:
- Geometry node support: This could potenatilly have its own article but geamotery node has been changed and vastly improved from its 2.9X days with new node group design, attribute system, 100 nodes to play with and much more.
- Field support has been added which makes it much easier to build node group.
- text nodes make nimated text a breeze
- Mouse over the sockets to quickly inspect their content, know their type, and a handy tooltip
- A new overlay colors the wires to match the socket
- curve support
- material support inside geametry nodes 🙂
- support for eevee rendering engine
- and more cuz its crazy to write all that here.
- Interface improvement:
- UI refresh : pnale roundness, theme with better conmtrast support, widget improvement
- corner action to join and split workplace has been made easier. (finally!!)
- 3d viewpoer statistics
- better blend file thumbnail
- Ctrl+F while hovering UI lists will open the search for the list
- improved file browser preview
- Video Sequencer improvemnt:
- Video Sequencer now supports thumbnail previews,
- transform strips directly in the preview region with same shortcuts as in 3D viewport.
- custom colour tags can be added
- better snapping support
- new sounbd and video format suuport
- upto 128 channels are supported
- VR Control: VR suuport i smore inmproved with brand new control baked in which now support teleport, grab and fly.
- Pose Library: And another feature has been added called pose library where poses can be preset and brosed using asset liabrary making life of animator much waseri.
- Grease pencil improvement: The 2D counterpart of Blender has also new improvement with improved performance, modifier to make line akin to dot-dash, length modifier added, converting text to grease, copy material, etc.
- Loading and Saving Speed: more than 2x improvement in saving and loading blend file all thanks to use of zstandard for compression instead of gzip.
- importing and exporting: USD support has been baked in and alembic support has seen improvements making blender easier to add in any pipeline.
And the list goes on and on. For a complete breakup, head over to wiki here.
Download the latest version for your favourite platform from here.
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A small demo reel for your perusal.
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