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Open source 3D creation suite 'Blender' has a major new release

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Blender, the free and open source 3D creation suite continues going from strength to strength, with a brand new release out now. Let's go over the highlights.

After seeing many more big names chip-in over the last year or two to help fund Blender like AMD, NVIDIA, Epic Games, Ubisoft, Unity and plenty more they've now got over €106,265 coming in per month. Amazing, since that work ends up free for all to use like this. Blender 2.9, released August 31 it "builds on the success of the 2.8x series, Blender 2.90 continues to polish the user experience, introducing improvements to EEVEE, Cycles, sculpt, VR, animation, modeling, UV editing and so much more".

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There's masses new, which you can read over here from a completely rewritten Motion blur in EEVEE (Blender's realtime render engine), to a new 'shadow terminator' offset setting that helps avoid shading artifacts with smooth normals on low-poly meshes. Improvements can be found almost everywhere.

For a quick bullet-point overview:

  • Initial Wayland support on Linux.
  • Much faster Motion Blur with Intel Embree.
  • Brand new and improved search menu.
  • Pose Brush gained 'Scale/Translate' plus 'Squash & Stretch' - allowing for quick model adjustments
  • Extrude Manifold tool for adjusting models, which automatically splits and removes adjacent faces when extruding inwards (and it looks awesome)
  • A new Cloth Filter, allowing the use of simulated cloth on your mesh using four types of simulation.
  • NVLink support for CUDA and OptiX + OptiX is now available on all NVIDIA GPUs that support it.

For game developers, film makers and more Blender is becoming essential and it's fantastic to have it so well supported on Linux.

See more on blender.org.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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4 comments

Patola 1 Sep
Anyone know how to test its VR capabilities on Linux? 2.90 is there via Steam, but calling it with SteamVR doesn't seem to work.
buono 1 Sep
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This is very early days for VR in blender, and I haven't had a lot of success with it but if you start blender through steam. Go to preferences and then add-ons then tick 3D View VR Scene Inspection. You will now have the option to start a VR session. Press 'n' to open the side bar and there will be a vr tab with an option to start a vr session. It's buggy but nice to see some of your creations :)


Last edited by buono on 1 September 2020 at 11:14 am UTC
Absolutely love the splash image for this version.

Because I have no patience, I spend some time on the developer.blender.org portal and code.blender.org blog to learn about what's coming ahead of time and I can report some highlights for those curious about what 2.91 and 2.92 will be like:

Some of the highlights:

Compositing
The plan seems to be adjust how compositing works to make it much more responsive and faster. Compositing effects will be reworked to be resolution independent so that the composite preview can be rendered at a lower resolution in the viewport.

Vulkan
Blender will slowly gain more Vulkan support over time, eventually this could lead to performance increases.

Eevee
Depth of Field is getting a refactor, to improve the quality and performance. Highly likely other improvements will come but we'll just have to wait and see what those will be. 'Feature Film Requirements' is the priority.

Animation
Performance optimisations for animation playback began in 2.90 and will continue in 2.91 and 2.92.

Asset Management
A code sprint has already started for implementing an asset manager in Blender that will make it easy to select something from a scene and add it to an asset library, then when editing another Blender scene, quickly and easily add assets from your libraries, the first version of asset management will make it into 2.91.

Grease Pencil
It's coming, SVG Import and Export, as well as Image Trace for turning pixel based images into 3D viewport grease pencil objects. SVG Import and Image Trace will likely land in 2.91, SVG Export in 2.92.

Mesh Editing
Performance optimisations started in 2.90, and will continue in 2.91 and 2.92. There's more tools being added and improvements made for game & environment related modelling tasks. Dedicated retopology tools seem likely at some point, probably 2.91/2.92.

Booleans
A new way to do booleans is coming in 2.91, the new algorithm should be much more accurate than 2.90, which will make hard surface modelling fans happy.

Node Particles
Already part of Blender as an experimental feature, Node based particle systems will probably become a proper feature in 2.91, and be refined in 2.92. Node based hair is planned for 2.91 as well, probably only initial work at first, node based Volumes planned for 2.92.

Baking
A rework of how baking is done in Blender has been on the drawing board for a while, it's likely coming in 2.92 assuming they keep on track with it. The plan seems to be to allow setting up multiple baking passes for collections of objects, and to allow a node based compositing setup for choosing what baking values go into what channels of what output textures. Sounds big.

Sculpting
The ability to paint vertex colours in sculpt mode is coming, 2.91 will probably make it officially a feature and 2.92 will refine it, plus there are plans for improving the performance of sculpting.

UI
A new thing called "property search" is coming in 2.91 to make it easier for new users to find something in the properties panel, and in 2.92 the UIs related to reports and warnings will given a facelift. Probably lots of other small changes.

VFX & Video
Loads of stuff coming, storyboarding tools and more. The video editor will get a major upgrade to make it much more enjoyable to use.

VR Milestone 2
Milestone 2 involves actual editing in VR, sculpting, modelling, object layout, etc.. This should be very interesting, it probably will happen in 2.91/2.92.

There's loads more stuff I've seen on the developer portal that seem likely to arrive in one of the next couple of versions but aren't certain yet and might get pushed back, so wait and see.

Blender 2.91 will be coming around November 24, 2020, and 2.92 will be likely at Alpha stage by new years eve or early Jan. So that list is roughly what they're aiming to have done by the end of the year.

It's insane the speed the Blender devs work at.


Last edited by gradyvuckovic on 1 September 2020 at 12:33 pm UTC
Patola 1 Sep
Quoting: buonoThis is very early days for VR in blender, and I haven't had a lot of success with it but if you start blender through steam. Go to preferences and then add-ons then tick 3D View VR Scene Inspection. You will now have the option to start a VR session. Press 'n' to open the side bar and there will be a vr tab with an option to start a vr session. It's buggy but nice to see some of your creations :)
Crashed here every time. But thanks for the tip.
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