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20. March 2014

 

Today marks the release of Blender 2.7 and you can download it here.  Let’s take a look at what’s new, with an eye towards game development.image

 

The first and most obvious thing you will notice is the changes to the user interface.

 

UI Changes

 

The number one thing you are going to notice is the toolbar tabs.  The Tools (T) pane is now organized in context sensitive tabs.  So like minded operations are grouped together, like so:

image

 

Personally I am a huge fan of this change, it makes the UI much more streamlined and cuts down on the noise. 

 

There is another UI change that I personally love, as I love very sparse windows when possible.  You can now collapse menus down.  For example, you can now go from this:

image

To this:

image

Simply right click, select Headers->Collapse Menu.  Again, I like this change.

There are several other UI refinements, but those are the most visible.

 

Modeling

 

First they’ve added the wireframe modifier, which is useful in a very limited number of scenarios.  Basically it makes a (3D) wireframe out of the selected model.  So this:

image

Becomes this:

image

 

NGon tessellation has been improved. No more holes on bad geometry.

In 2.69 it did this:

 

Now it does this:

 

Much better.

 

Bevel has more options now:

image

 

Laplacian modifier added.  To be honest, I don’t really get this one yet but it sounds pretty cool.

 

Of particular use for game exporting, the triangulate modifier has been improved with more fine control over how triangulation will occur:

image

 

Game Engine Changes

 

PSD File support added.

1st person shooter style camera controls (WASD).

Level of Detail (LoD) support added:

Manual-Level-of-Detail-Panel.png

 

Cycles Rendering

 

Cycles is probably the biggest improvement portion of this release.   Probably the biggest new feature is WIP support for volume rendering.

 

CPU support has been improved, shader language updated to increase performance and a host of other changes.

 

 

There were a host of other improvements including threading improvements for the dependency graph, API updates for the NPR (non-photorealistic) renderer, motion tracking improvements, general bug fixes and more.

 

All told a very nice release, with some great first steps for an improved UI.

News, Art

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