Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blender 2.77 - What's New

Well, Blender 2.77 came out a week ago, so I thought I'd make a compilation of all the new features that I really notice a lot and think will make a big splash. If you want to view the full release notes, you can visit the wiki page.

1. GPU Smoke Rendering

This has been the most requested feature from GPU users for the past several releases, and finally the devs hard work is ready. I made a quick review when the first release candidate came out with GPU support, and the results far exceeded my expectations. Contrary to some opinions voiced on various Blender forums leading up to this, GPU rendering on my GeForce GTX 980 leaves my Intel Core i7 (4 cores [8 threads] at 3.07 GHZ) in the dust. 

There is practically no comparison to be made. I think this is the single greatest addition to the Cycles render engine for many releases in the past, and will completely change the rendering accessibility of more complex simulations.

2. Cycles Point Density

Point density textures are now officially supported in the Cycles render engine. Using this new addition you can effectively make halo particles within Cycles as well as several other interesting effects.

3. Decimate is now Symmetry Aware

Now in 2.77 when you add the Decimate modifier it will try and keep the mesh symmetrical instead of the previous versions which would seem to give fairly random results. Personally I think it is high time a few modifiers got a new face. The most notable of these is the Boolean modifier, which leaves ugly geometry and has glitchy performance on unusual meshes. Currently users of the modifier are reduced to workarounds like using the Remesh Modifier below the Boolean modifier on the stack.

4. New Motion Blur Features

Some exciting new motion blur features were also introduced, allowing for a much greater degree of customization. Now not only do you have the standard shutter speed, but you can define a curve, and a top-bottom shutter to simulate rolling shutter when moving the camera quickly. I can't wait for some skilled animators to utilize these features, as I think they could add a bit more believability to a lot of productions in future.

Thanks for taking a read through this quick summary of the heavy hitters from this release, if you want to see the full release notes you can visit the 2.77 release wiki page

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you all next week!


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