April 14, 2011
After nearly four years of design and development on the Blender 2.5 UI redesign project, a stable version has been released today by the online community of developers at www.blender.org.
Designs for Blender 2.5 project originated in 2007, when it was evident that the “90ies” interface code from its SGI origins was blocking advances for a more contemporary user experience. The first parts of the new design were implemented at the end of 2008 , with a fully rewritten core event/tools system, which premiered as ‘Blender 2.5 alpha’ at Siggraph 2009. The 2.5 alpha was the exclusively used tool to create the open movie Sintel, with a series of alpha and beta release updates during the project as the features and quality improved and stabalized.
After the Sintel premiere in September 2010 the online developer team then tackled literally 1000s of bug reports, with as sole target to stablize the code. With sponsorship and community support the Blender Foundation/Institute was able to hire four developers to assist in the bug-fixing process and to reach its stability goals.
The Blender 2.57 release offers enormous leaps in functionality and usability for existing and new users alike. A short summary of key features:
- Complete new look and feel, with an optimized workflow easing the learning curve.
- Improved freely definable subdivision lay-outs with multi-window set-ups possible.
- The UI stays responsive and updated while changing parameters, compositing or during animation playback.
- All widgets and button panels are written as Python scripts. The new Python environment allows add-ons to be coded which act fully integrated with the rest of Blender.
- Tools and operations are uniformly accessible via hot-keys, menus, buttons, toolbars or scripting. This enables full customized key-bindings as well.
- A new animation system makes nearly every data element accessible for animation curves or drivers.
While this is the first stable version, the Blender team doesn’t consider it ‘feature complete’ yet, anticipating a feature complete release in June of this year. Blender 2.58 will offer further stability, finishing pending 2.5 design targets, and bring back a few remaining tools that artists sorely miss from the Blender 2.4x series.
During that period a migration plan will be made for the exciting new features that have already developed or are ongoing in the various ‘branches’ of the official code base. These projects will get added during a bi-monthly updated number of 2.6x releases.
Screenshot downloads + this text:
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Ton Roosendaal, ton at blender.org