Blender 3.5 arrives with big improvements to the hair system and more

Blender 3.5

Blender 3.5 splash by Nicole Morena

The Blender Foundation has announced the release of the new version of its free 3D modeling package Blender 3.5, suitable for a variety of 3D modeling related tasks.

It is also worth mentioning that at the same time, a patch release of Blender 3.3.5 has been made in the Long Term Support (LTS) branch, which will receive updates until September 2024.

Main news in Blender 3.5

In this new version that is presented of Blender possibilities have been significantly expanded of the system to shape hair and create hairstyles, based on the use of geometric nodes and that allows to generate any type of hair, fur and grass.

Rendering assets allow you to generate hair curves at specific locations on the mesh surface, as well as duplicate typical hairs to fill a given area, and use interpolation to change strands of hair.

Another change that stands out in the new version is that added new nodes to extract information from an image, providing access to an image file, smoothing attribute values, interpolating curves, plus improved modifier interface and reorganized menu in node editor, along with 2x faster split edge operations on nodes 25% faster geometric patterns and clothing simulation performance.

In sculpting mode, support for VDM (Vector Displacement Maps) brushes appeared, which allows you to create complex shapes with bumps with a single stroke. Supports loading of VDM brushes in OpenEXR format.

Added a new composition backend, developed by the Realtime Compositor project, intended for the possibility of interactive work in real time and using the GPU for acceleration. The new backend is currently used only in the viewport and supports basic render, transform, input and output operations, as well as standard nodes for filtering and blurring. Applying in a viewport allows you to continue modeling while compositing, such as working with a mesh and other objects that display on top of the compositing result.

In addition to this, it is noted that the first set of embedded assets has been adopted (connectable elements/groups of nodes). The asset library includes 26 hair operations, divided into categories: deformation, generation, guides, utilities, reading and writing.

Furthermore, Blender 3.5 introduces in macOS improvements to the Metal graphics API used to draw a 3D viewport which, compared to using OpenGL, has significantly increased rendering and rendering performance. animations with the EEVEE engine.

The rendering systemo Cycles uses a light tree engine to improve the rendering efficiency of scenes with a large number of light sources, which can significantly reduce noise without increasing rendering time, in addition toadded support for OSL (open shader language) when using the OptiX backend. Added support for non-uniform scaling of objects in point light sources.

Of the other changes that stand out of the new version:

  • New options and hotkeys have been added to the animation tools to speed up working with the pose library and go beyond face value.
  • The capabilities of Grease Pencil's 2D drawing and animation system have been expanded, allowing you to create 2D sketches and then use them in a 3D environment as three-dimensional objects (a 3D model is formed based on several flat sketches from different angles). The Build modifier has added a natural drawing speed mode that reproduces strokes at the speed of the pen, making them more natural.
  • In the UV editor (UV Editor) added support for moving through the clipboard UV scans between meshes.
  • Added support for importing and exporting in USDZ format (zip file with images, sound and USD files).
  • The CY2023 specification, which defines the VFX reference platform utilities and libraries, has been complied with.
  • Increased requirements for the Linux environment: Glibc now requires at least version 2.28 to work (new requirements apply to Ubuntu 18.10+, Fedora 29+, Debian 10+, RHEL 8+).
  • The Utilities group provides tools for attaching hair-defining curves to a surface. Provides options to snap, align, and blend along a curve.
  • The Guides group provides tools to join the curves of the hair with guides and create curls or braids by deforming the existing curves.
  • The Warp group contains tools for twisting, curling, tangling, shaping and straightening hair.
  • The assets in the writing and reading groups allow you to control the shape of the hair and highlight the ends, roots and segments of the hair.

Finally for those interested in getting the new version, they should know that the builds are ready for Linux, Windows and macOS.

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