January 21st, 2007 by Keith

Blender 2.4.3 RC2 – 3D Graphics Creation

Posted in Fun Stuff, Graphics, Linux, Mac OS, Site News, Software Companies, Solaris, Utilities, Windows

Blender 3D

Introducing an open source software for 3D modelling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback, Blender 2.4.3 RC2 is one that has got what it takes. The software is available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

The key features of this application are shown below.

Interface

  • * Revolutionary non-overlapping and non-blocking UI delivers unsurpassed workflow
  • * Flexible and fully configurable window layout with as many screen setups as you prefer
  • * Undo support on all levels
  • * Anti-aliased fonts with international translation support
  • * Windows for animation curves/keys, outliner, schematic scene diagram, generic node editing system, non-linear video sequence editing, character animation action editor, non-linear animation mixer, image/UV editing, file/image selection and file management
  • * Built-in text editor for annotations and editing Python scripts
  • * Graphical user interface for Python scripts
  • * Custom themes
  • * Consistent interface across all platforms

Modeling

  • * A range of 3D object types including polygon meshes, NURBS surfaces, bezier and B-spline curves, metaballs, vector fonts (TrueType, PostScript, OpenType)
  • * Very fast Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces with optimal iso-lines display and sharpness editing
  • * Full multiresolution sculpting capabilities with 2D bitmap/3D procedural brushes (Paint, Smooth, Pinch, Inflate, Grab) supporting symmetry
  • * Modifier stack deformers such as Lattice, Curve, Armature or Displace
  • * Mirror modifier with middle vertices clipping and automatic deletion of inner faces
  • * Non destructive real time Boolean and Array modifiers
  • * Mesh modeling based on vertex, edge and/or face selection
  • * Smooth soft selection editing tools for organic modeling
  • * Python scripting access for custom tools

Animation

  • * Armature (skeleton) deformation with forward/inverse kinematics
  • * Auto IK allows posing FK chains easily
  • * Non-linear animation editor for mixing individual actions created in Action editor
  • * Automated walkcycles along paths
  • * Animated constraint system
  • * Vertex key framing for morphing, with controlling sliders
  • * Edit and create new blendshapes from existing targets
  • * Character animation pose editor
  • * Animated deformers (Lattice, Curve)
  • * ‘Ipo’ system integrates both motion curve and traditional key-frame editing
  • * Audio playback, mixing and editing support for sound synchronisation
  • * Timeline offers fast acces to many playback functions, autokey, help markers
  • * Python scripting access for custom and procedural animation effects

Rigging

  • * Fast skeleton creation mode
  • * Interactive 3D paint for vertex weighting
  • * Fast envelope based skinning
  • * Mirror editing (bone creation and weight painting)
  • * Bone layers for better rig organization
  • * B-splines interpolated bones
  • * Constraint stack for IK solver setup and other constraints

Rendering

  • * Very fast inbuilt raytracer
  • * Oversampling, motion blur, post-production effects, fields, non-square pixels
  • * Tile-based and fully threaded
  • * Render layers and passes
  • * Render baking to UV maps (full render, ambient occlusion, normals, textures)
  • * Render engine tightly integrated with the node compositor
  • * Halo, lens flares and fog effects
  • * Vector motion-blur post-process effect (using node compositor)
  • * Realistic defocus (DOF) post-process effect (using node compositor)
  • * Edge rendering for toon shading
  • * Interactive preview rendering panel in any 3d view
  • * Ambient Occlusion
  • * Radiosity solver
  • * Integral support for the Yafray render engine
  • * Export scripts available for external renderers such as Renderman (RIB), Mental Ray, Povray, Virtualight, Indigo

Shading

  • * Diffuse shaders such as Lambert, Minnaert, Toon, Oren-Nayar, Lambert
  • * Specular shaders such as WardIso, Toon, Blinn, Phong, CookTorr
  • * Node editor for creating and mixing complex materials
  • * Material previews rendered by main render engine
  • * Tangent shading to give any shader an anisotropic effect
  • * Versatile procedural textures system
  • * Reflection maps
  • * Normal, displacement and bump maps

UV Unwrapping

  • * Conformal and Angle Based unwrapping methods
  • * Interactive transform of UV maps by vertex pinning
  • * Proportional falloff editing of UV maps for smooth transformations
  • * Seam based unwrapping
  • * Cube, Cylinder, Sphere, View projections
  • * Catmull-Clark subdivition of UVs for less distortion
  • * Minimize stretch tool allows to reduce area distortion
  • * Multiple UV layers

Physics and Particles

  • * Particle system can be atached to any mesh object. Control methods include weight painting, textures, curve guides, wind and vortex effects. Particles can be deflected by moving geometry
  • * Hair strands can be created by a static particle system, supporting all particle control methods
  • * Fluid simulator with fully animated inflow, outflow, obstacle and fluid objects. Gravity and viscosity settings can also be animated. Supports vector blur and is integrated with the particle system
  • * Realtime soft body solver integrated in mesh, lattice, curve and text objects. Supports collision detection and particle field effects like Wind or Vortex, soft bodys can also be baked for faster playback/rendering
  • * Game engine rigid body physics can be easily baked into animation curves

Editing and Compositing

  • * Compositor tightly integrated and aligned with the rendering pipeline
  • * MultiLayer OpenEXR files allow to store and reuse raw renderlayer/passes data
  • * Complete list of composite node filters, convertors, color and vector operators and mixers including Chroma Key, Blur, RGB Curves, Z Combine, Color Ramp
  • * Preview panel to define the portion of interest. A composite then only happens on this part
  • * Threaded and memory efficient (up to 8 processors)
  • * Near realtime sequencer can edit hours of video
  • * Waveform and U/V scatter plots
  • * Open and write many audio & video file formats using ffmpeg(linux only at the moment, FFMPEG for Windows/OS X is scheduled for next release)
  • * Can render using frameserver-support directly into foreign applications
  • * Supports float images as well as regular 32 bits images
  • * Curves tool allows you to create a mapping from the float range to a displayable result (for HDR images)

Realtime 3D/Game Creation

  • * Graphical logic editor for defining interactive behavior without programming
  • * Collision detection and dynamics simulation now support Bullet Physics Library. Bullet is an open source collision detection and rigid body dynamics library developed for Play Station 3
  • * Shape types: Convex polyhedron, box, sphere, cone, cylinder, capsule, compound, and static triangle mesh with auto deactivation mode
  • * Discrete collision detection for RigidBody simulation
  • * Support for in-game activation of dynamic constraints
  • * Full support for vehicle dynamics, including spring reactions, stiffness, damping, tyre friction etc
  • * Python scripting API for sophisticated control and AI, fully defined advanced game logic
  • * Support all OpenGLTM lighting modes, including transparencies, Animated and reflection-mapped textures
  • * Support for multimaterials, multitexture and texture blending modes, per-pixel lighting, dynamic lighting, mapping modes, GLSL vertexPaint texture blending, toon shading, animated materials, support for Normal Maping and Parallax Mapping
  • * Playback of games and interactive 3D content without compiling or preprocessing
  • * Audio, using the SDL toolkit
  • * Multi-layering of Scenes for overlay interfaces

Files

  • * Save all scene data in a single .blend file, even images, sounds or fonts can be packed for easy transportation
  • * Powerful built-in database system allowing instances, scene management, and dynamic linking multiple project files
  • * .blend format supports compression, digital signatures, encryption, forwards/backwards compatibility and can be used as a library to link to from other .blend files
  • * Read and write support for many other 2D and 3D formats
  • * 2D
  • TGA, JPG, PNG, OpenEXR, DPX, Cineon, Radiance HDR, Iris, SGI Movie, IFF, AVI and Quicktime GIF, TIFF, PSD, MOV (Windows and Mac OS X)
  • * 3D
  • 3D Studio, AC3D, COLLADA, Cal3D, DEC Object File Format, DirectX, Lightwave, MD2, Motion Capture, Nendo, OpenFlight, PLY, Pro Engineer, Radiosity, Raw Triangle, Softimage, STL, TrueSpace, VideoScape, VRML, VRML97, Wavefront, Wings3D, X3D Extensible 3D, xfig export

Supported Operating Systems

  • * Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP
  • * Mac OS X (PPC and Intel)
  • * Linux (i386)
  • * Linux (PPC)
  • * FreeBSD 5.4 (i386)
  • * SGI Irix 6.5
  • * Sun Solaris 2.8 (sparc)

Download Link
Blender 2.4.3 RC2

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