Cycles Render

Several improvements for BVH like making it watertight, solving several precision issues and reducing noise

Optimizations: black world backgrounds are now removed from the shader graph, resulting in great speed improvements, many great memory optimizations

Nodes: new Pointiness attribute for the Geometry node, control texture space of one object by another

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User Interface

New Viewport Compositing brings Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field right into the Viewport!

View-depth can now be picked using an Eyedropper

Outliner: orphaned Datablocks Mode was added for datablock management, now allows deleting of entire object hierachies, drag & drop objects to groups.

The Node Editor can now show text-blocks in frames

Customizable camera safe areas

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Modeling

Support for Custom Normals was added, and transferring data layers between meshes is now possible thanks to a new Mesh Data Transfer operator and modifier.

Tools:

  • UV handling for Edge/ Vertex Slide was improved
  • new inverse-square blending for proportional-edit-mode
  • “Fit Camera View” now works for orthographic cameras as well
  • new “Split Concave Faces” tool to ensure a convex geometry was added
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Sculpting/Painting

Brushes/Strokes:

  • Improvements to rake and random mapping
  • Line strokes now support constrains to 45 degree increments

Texture Painting:

  • Support for dithering for painting on byte images
  • A new tool “Cavity Mask” was added that creates masks based on mesh cavities or hills
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Animation

Grease Pencil:

  • New Editing tools like copy & paste strokes, duplicating active layer, …
  • Enable eraser on the fly while drawing with “Continuous Drawing”
  • Various UI tweaks such as color swatches for Stroke and Fill colors
  • Grease Pencil data layers are now shown in the Outliner

Other:

  • Improvements to the action management to reduce the cases where unused actions are deleted
  • Pasting keyframes can now be done flipped
  • Using a new “Follow” option, the animation editors can now follow the time indicator
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More Features
  • .blend Files & Libraries: generation and saving of previews for materials, textures, lamps, world and images datablocks.
  • Viewport: Background images can now be rotated and flipped.
  • Compositing: Plane Track Deform, Multilayer EXR nodes improved; memory usage optimization.
  • Sequencer: Slip tool, Setting proxies improved; preview individual strips (feature back from Blender 2.4x)
  • Blender Internal: Added gamma node support
  • Motion Tracking: Added operator to filter tracks based on how smooth their motion is
  • Freestyle: Great memory consumption optimization in stroke rendering
  • Game Engine:
    Physics: The first contact point of colliding can now be accessed from Python and usability improvements
    Path Following: New option “Lock Z Velocity” to avoid micro-jumping
  • Many  small improvements
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Add-Ons
  • A new Auto Tile Size Add-on helps setting up the fastest tile size for Cycles rendering
  • Import images as planes now works for Cycles as well
  • POV-Ray Renderer now supports volumetric rendering
  • FBX and OBJ now support custom normals import
  • New Python API functions
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Feature Videos

For a visual demonstration of some of the new features in this release, check out the feature videos created during the development of this release.

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Bug Fixes

In addition to the new features, hundreds of bugs that existed in previous releases have been fixed.

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