One of the most important and most professional open source tools has released a new major version that brings new features in the simulation physics and user interface sectors.
- Dynamic Topology Sculpting
Dynamic topology is a new sculpting mode that subdivides the mesh as needed, whereas regular sculpting only affects the shape of a mesh. This makes it possible to sculpt complex shapes out of a simple mesh, rather than just adding details onto a modeled base mesh.
- Rigid Body Simulation
The Bullet physics library has now been integrated into the editor and animation system, which makes rigid body simulations available also outside of the game engine. This results in a much simpler workflow and gives more control over the simulation.
- Retina display support
MacBook native pixels mode is now available for all resolutions. This automatically switches to pixel sizes of 2×2 pixels with all line widths, fonts, widgets scaling with it.
Retina displays are supposed to have a high enough pixel density that the human eye is unable to notice pixelation at a typical viewing distance. The support of this technology will make many Gnome MacBook users out there happy.
- Transparent panels
Having transparent tools allows regions to overlap over the main editor, giving more workspace. Fade in/out is also supported but you’ll need a triple buffer using system to get the feature or else it gets ignored.
- Matcap in 3D viewport
“Matcaps” are images mapped on a normal, rendered using GLSL. It provides a quick way to define visible material properties for modeling and sculpting. Because Matcap rendering fully bypasses Material shader code, it’s a very fast rendering option for modeling.
- Hair Rendering
Initial support for hair rendering was added, multiple importance sampling for lamps, preview rendering is available inside the properties editor, new closures and optimizations for OSL, non-progressive integrator was improved and support for packed, generated and movie textures was added.
- Usability Improvements
New user preferences for panels, better and more ways to recover sessions, split user preferences and startup file, ability to copy/paste objects in 3D window, menu shadow in theme control, some small UI and animation fixes and gradient support in 3D viewport.
- Image Transparency
The image pipeline has been refactored to handle transparency in images better. There are two alpha types for images that are useful for different purposes, and we now try to automatically do the right conversions and operations. Previously it was necessary to manually enable premultiplication options to get correct results.
- Mesh Modeling
The Bevel tool supports bevelling individual vertices in addition to edges now, with one or more segments.
- New modifiers
The new Mesh Cache modifier can apply animation from external files onto a mesh, with support for the MDD and PC2 file formats. A new UV Warp modifier can rotate, scale and translate UV maps on a mesh using objects or bones. The Laplacian smooth modifier now supports shape enhancement, rather than smoothing this will exaggerate the shape of the mesh.
- Particle Fluid Dynamics
A new particle fluid solver has been added that provides more physically-accurate simulations (r52989). The new solver is based on early SPH research, so it is called the Classical solver. The new solver results in a more regular spacing of particles. The spacing can be calculated before the simulation runs, and is shown in the UI.
- Game Engine improvements
The character physics type received a number of new options, profiling and debug information has been cleaned up, and simple shadow maps can now take clipped alpha transparency into account.
For python scripting two new features were added: library .blend files can now be load asynchronously to keep the game engine from freezing, and joystick events can now be handled from python without logic bricks.
- Collada support
Collada import and export was improved for animation: shape keys are now supported, and the armature modifier has been made more stable, respecting axis orientation and scene scaling
- Better Texture Painting
Added offset and scale to texture options in texture options panel, added 3D mapping mode to projective texture painting which is available only for draw brushes. Also, now the fixed texture flag is gone and texture painting supports tiled and view mapping on both 2D and projective mode. The mapping is shared for both modes and Tiled is the same as the old “fixed” flag, while View has the same behaviour for projective painting as when “fixed” was off.
- MilkShape 3D addon
This addon supports import and export of MS3D files with meshes, uv maps, materials, armatures, animation and comments. MS3D properties and smoothing groups are exposed to the to Blender user interface to be able to tweak the export of MS3D files.
- 250 bugs fixed
Blender 2.66 has 250 bugs less that the previous versions. You can read them all and find out if the bugs that were bothering you were finally fixed by visiting this webpage.
To get the latest 2.66 version of Blender, you will need to visit the download webpage and choose to get the 32 or 64 bit Linux package. No need to install anything, as binaries are included and found inside the folder that will be created after you unzip the downloaded file. Be sure to have glibc 2.11, Python 3.3 and FFmpeg installed in your system.