Posted on Wednesday, December 28 2005 @ 19:42:02 CET by LSDsmurf
Blender has had another long development cycle resulting in a release packed
with rewrites, new features and improvements. The major additions this release
are the Character Animation rewrite, the added Fluid Dynamics system, improved
editing and rendering of Particle Based Hair, and the Modifier Stack.
The vastly improved animation tools have taken character animation to an
inspirational and competitive level. Improvements include fast and easy
rigging with added bone types, new display methods, easier and faster skin
weighting methods, improved and easier to use deformation methods, completely
rewritten Inverse Kinematics system, easier and faster posing, new IPO curves
methods, and more robust Actions and NLA tools.
Note The changes in the animation system have not yet been incorporated in the
game engine, so armatures don't work there. The Python API for Armature/Pose
also has radical changes.
This is the first part of our Animation project, and although we cannot show
cool images for it, work on the new dependency graph system has proven to be
extremely versatile, resulting in amazing speedup and lag-free interactive
redraws while editing.
Rigging is now much easier with mirrored extrusion and auto-naming,
additional selection methods working with bones such as loop and border
select, and added bone types (Hinge, Bspline Bones). All Armature Objects
are immediate posable now, without mode changes.
With support from Googles Summer of Code – Blender's IK system was fully
reworked. Not only did it become much faster, but it now supports Rotation
Limits and Degrees of Freedom, Tree-IK, and IK Target Rotation. Options to
use both (mixed) Forward and Inverse IK makes posing characters a pleasure!
Skin weights can now be automatically created from envelope based
definitions. You can then further refine them by baking them to vertex
groups. Weight Painting now supports very fast weight group selections and
can be applied using X-axis mirroring.
There are a number of additional display modes for bones, all tweaked for
specific editing purposes. In PoseMode, the bones draw color-coded now, to
show constraint, actions or IK assigned. Worth noting are the new
"B-Bones" (B-spline bones), allowing control over flexible bones,
like for spines.
Using the NLA editor, you can tell an Action Strip to use a specific Bone in
an Action to define the striding offsets. This enables characters to walk
over a path without foot slipping.
Meshes, Curves, Lattices and Surfaces already could store multiple shapes,
animated using animation curves. Access to these Shapes now has become
better integrated in the UI, allowing multiple Object instances to 'pin'
individual Shapes and with use of Vertex Groups for blending Shapes.
All animation curves in Blender (aka Ipos) now can get a "Driver"
assigned, This replaces the time input for a specific animated channel with
any value from another Object. This way you can control Shape Keys with
custom sliders or tie them to specific Bone rotations.
Animation Curve Interpolation:
New handle and interpolation types have been added to interpolation (IPO)
curves. Includes Auto Handles which prevent undesired overshoot.
Actions and NLA:
An "Action" is a collection of animation curves, which now not
only can represent a full walk cycle for a character, but also include Shape
keys or Object animation curves. Using the "NLA" editor, you can
layer and mix these actions with full control over timing.
Particles and Physics simulation:
The 2.40 release offers support for physics based animation like an advanced
Fluid Simulator, Particle based hair with Particle guides, improved Softbody
dynamics and Rigid body dynamics baking using the game engine.
The second of the Google Summer of Code projects that made it in our release
is the exciting Fluid Simulator, allowing to animate a physical correct flow
of any fluid type.
Particle Guides and distribution:
For the 2.40 release the Particle System got a big make-over as well,
especially for better control over motion, forces and distribution. You can
now also use Curve Guides to determine the flow of particles, and use Vertex
Groups to define where Particles start, and how fast they move.
Hair strand rendering:
By default, the "Static particles" in Blender now generates
screen-aligned 1 pixel wide "strands", which can be shaded in 3d
as regular geometry, or when using the new anisotropic options, to achieve
realistic looking hair.
The Blender game engine has a new physics part now, called
"Bullet". This allows to simulate colliding and moving rigid
bodies, including baking them into Ipo curves for re-use in animation
Tools, render, scripting, UI options:
The modifier stack allows you to quickly apply, remove and change the order
of modifier tools. Allowing you to visualize and interactively change
complex operations on your mesh. Of particular interest are the mirror
modifier, boolean modifier, and many of the animation tools becoming
modifiers such as hooks, armatures and lattice deformations.
Subdivide and Loop tools:
Blender's Mesh subdivide code has been rebuilt from scratch. It now supports
correct subdivision in all selection modes, arbitrary subdivision levels,
better support for the knife tool, loop cutting, edge loop deletion, edge
ring selection, and edge sliding.
This Google Summer of Code project delivered us a full new and much better
library for intersecting Mesh models. Main target was to generate new models
with the least amount of new faces, with regular and pleasant subdivisions.
Booleans are available as a tool (Wkey) or real-time using the Modifier
The "Rip" tool can be used for tearing or ripping parts of a Mesh,
in order to create seams to be filled in with new faces.
UV & Image Editing:
UV editing has had an astounding improvement with the addition of Live LSCM.
A number of features have also been added to the image editing such as a
clone brush and smudging tool and built-in generating of standard UV maps.
Also there's support now for TIFF import and export, and for HDR Radiance
Revamped 3D Text Object:
The 3D Text Object now supports Unicode (International Font types). 3D text
now also allows to go over multiple collums, allows selecting parts of the
text, custom kerning, and setting styles per character such as Bold or
Radial Blend Texture:
The existing "Blend" textures been suplemented by a blend type
commonly found in digital imaging and graphics applications: the radial
blend type. This gradient allows an artist to fake anisotropic effects found
on objects like saw blades or CD's.
Sampling and Filtering:
This article explains how Blender does sampling while rendering, for optimal
anti-alialised images. New in this release is menu to choose filter types:
Box, Tent, Cubic, Quadratic, Gauss, Mitchel-Netravali and Catmull-Rom.
New or rewritten modules were added: Mesh, Armature, Key, and Mathutils. The
Python team has made sure new options in Blender are covered in the API too,
resulting in a lot of work on the main interface. New bundled scripts
include: Collada, 3DS and MD2 import/export, XSI exporter; Lip Sync, Shape
Widgets, Mirror Bone Weights and UV unwrapping tools.
Improvements in the UI include: New Lamp drawing types, new Object-center
drawing, New Camera view drawing and Passepartout view, Easier window
merging, new Toolbox layout, improved Text button, and so on... check the
article linked above for a full overview!
And a lot more...
The Blender documentation project moved to a new wiki install (mediawiki).
Here you find the entire Blender manual, information about current projects
and more extensive release notes and tutorials.
Program Information Category:
Tools and Utilities Type:
Free Version: 2.40 Size: 6.5MB Works on: Windows, Linux, Mac