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Mac 3D News: Open-source Blender gets update to version 2.73

The latest version of Blender, build 2.73, now features a full-screen user-interface, numerous new features, improved Collada and FBX support, etc. Blender runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.

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The popular open-source professional 3D software package by the Blender Foundation has been updated this month to Blender 2.73.

The Blender Foundation and its online developer community are an active group and have pushed Blender forward in this latest release with an array of updates, features and fixes. An important new update is the new fullscreen mode which displays an environment without any buttons or other user interface elements which some users may find distracting. The interface in this mode is spartan yet still effective. (see image 01)

Volumes can now be rendered if the camera is inside them, and there is now support for cubic voxels interpolations to avoid artifacts on low resolutions for smoke simulations in particular. The non-photorealistic render engine Freestyle got a new SVG exporter, implemented as an add-on. It’s now possible to cache view maps, et cetera.

01 - The open-source and free Blender 2.73 now features a full-screen interface mode. (source: Blender Foundation. All rights reserved)

01 – The open-source and free Blender 2.73 now features a full-screen interface mode. (source: Blender Foundation. All rights reserved)

A list of some of the key features is below:

  • Several cycles rendering updates, including support for Nvidia GeForce 9xx GPUs
  • New full screen mode, plus improved Pie menus, 3D View can now display the world background
  • Knife tool now allows freehand smart cuts
  • Unwrapping UVs has been improved, strength is now enabled for Grab and Snake Hook brushes; better visual feedback mode for painting with masks
  • Sequencer can now show a backdrop, strips can be snapped to others along with other improvements
  • Freestyle NPR rendering has a new SVG exporter
  • Grease Pencil has major updates, it is now possible to edit and animate strokes. There is new draw styles and improvements in the user interface
  • Collada importer was updated
  • Add-ons: FBX improvements to importing/exporting armatures; some Python API changes could need some add-ons to be updated
  • Minor bug fixes and other small improvements

There have also been several optimizations in the areas of performance. The mesh deform modifier now uses SSE2 with multithreading; compositor’s gaussian blur node implemented now using OpenCL, vertex parent optimized for a few cases.

For more information on Blender 2.73 you can visit this page and get at all the information.

Availability

Blender 2.73 and all versions of Blender are free. The software is open-source and distributed primarily through the Blender Foundation website. It is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux operating systems. Blender was originally developed as in-house software by the Dutch animation studio NeoGeo.

To download Blender for use visit here.

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