De Blender Foundation is druk bezig met de ontwikkeling van Blender, een open source softwarepakket voor 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation en playback. De vele features voorzien van screenshots en voorbeelden zijn op deze pagina na te lezen voor de ge´nteresseerde gebruikers. Versie 2.40 is enkele dagen geleden de deur uit gedaan waar een hoop veranderingen in terug te vinden zijn. Deze veranderingen komen gedeeltelijk door bijdragen van 'The Summer of Code' van Google en het Orange Movie Project. De meegeleverde aankondiging ziet er als volgt uit:
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.Particles and Physics simulation:
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:
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.Inverse Kinematics:
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 Weighting:
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.Armature Display:
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.Stride Support:
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.Shape Keys:
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.Drivers:
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.
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.Tools, render, scripting, UI options:
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.Rigid Body:
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 projects.
Modifier Stack:And a lot more...
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.Boolean Operations:
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 stack.Mesh Ripping:
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 export.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 Italic.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.Python Scripting:
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.User Interface:
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!
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.