Today, 3December 2021, Blender Foundation announces the release of Blender 3.0, to mark the beginning of a new era for open source 2D/3D content creation.

Released 3 December, 2021

SHOWOFF REEL

WHAT’S NEW IN LESS THAN 7 MINUTES

The Freedom to Create, V3

CYCLE FASTER
THAN EVER

Cycles GPU kernels have been rewritten for better performance, rendering between 2x and 8x faster in real-world scenes.

  • Barbershop
  • Pabellon
  • Junkshop
  • Classroom
  • Monster

Render time with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX A6000 and OptiX.

  • Unit: seconds
  • Blender 2.93
  • Blender 3.0

LESS LAG, MORE FUN

Enjoy a more responsive viewport due to new scheduling and display algorithms.

Moving around the 3D viewport feels much more responsive now, even with Overlays turned on.

Save time when setting up your lighting.

NICE NOISE

OpenImageDenoise was upgraded to version 1.4, with improved detail preservation. A new pre-filter option was added to control the denoising of auxiliary albedo and normal passes.

Blender 2.93 Blender 2.93
Blender 3.0 Blender 3.0
Blender 2.93 Blender 2.93
Blender 3.0 Blender 3.0

SHADOW TERMINATOR

New option to reduce shadow artifacts that often happen with low poly game models. Offset rays from the flat surface to match where they would be for a smooth surface as specified by the normals.

The Geometry Offset option works as follows:

  • 0.0: Disabled
  • 0.001: Only terminated triangles
  • 0.1: Default
  • 1.0: All Triangles Affected

Generally, using one or a few levels of subdivision can get rid of artifacts faster than before.

CATCH BEYOND SHADOWS

Say hi to the new shadow catcher, completely rewritten for Blender 3.0

New features include:

  • Indirect and environment light support, for more accurate compositing.
  • Option for lights to be considered included or excluded, that is if they are real or synthetic objects.
  • New Shadow Catcher pass to fully handle coloured indirect light and emission.

Coloured shadows and precise reflections make blending 3D with real footage much easier.

Blender 2.93 Blender 2.93
Blender 3.0 Blender 3.0
tT

SKIN CARE

Subsurface scattering now supports anisotropy and index of refraction for Random Walk. Realistic skin has an anisotropy around 0.8.

Anisotropy 0.0 Anisotropy 0.0
Anisotropy 0.8 Anisotropy 0.8

THERE’S MORE

ASSET BROWSER

The first milestone of the Asset Browser project is here!
Your workflow is about to get much more organized.

EASY AS
DRAG & DROP

Materials, Objects, and World datablocks are supported as part of the first milestone, with more planned to come on the next releases.

Download this Cube Diorama .blend file to play with the new Asset Browser.

Asset Libraries
Asset Libraries

Define folders as Asset Libraries in your Preferences so you can load your favorite assets anytime, from anywhere.

Catalogs

Organize your assets in catalogs. These are independent of the .blend file the asset is stored in, providing great flexibility.

Tags
Tags

Special metadata can be added to assets such as author, tags, and asset description.

AND MORE

GEOMETRY NODES

The procedural system introduced in 2.92 has been extended with a re-imagined method for designing node groups, a new attribute system, around 100 new nodes for interaction with curves, text data, instances, and more.

GO ON A FIELD TRIP

Discover a new concept for passing around data and functions. Introducing: Fields.

Operations can be built from basic nodes and simply connected together, removing the need for named attributes as a way to store intermediate data, and removing the need for special “Attribute” nodes for simple operations.

“With fields it’s much easier to build node groups for higher level concepts that work together better than before.”

At a Glance
At a Glance

A new overlay colors the wires to match the socket they are connected to, making it much easier to spot their type at a distance.

Sneak Peek
Sneak Peek

Mouse over the sockets to quickly inspect their content, know their type, and a handy tooltip about their functionality has been added to a number of nodes.

Circle vs Diamond
Circle vs Diamond

In order to tell at a glance which sockets support fields, single values, or both, sockets are now drawn with a diamond, circle, or combined shape.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Native curve data joins the Geometry Nodes party. Resample, fill, trim, manipulate the handles, set spline type, convert to mesh, or get started with the included curve primitives.

Blender 3.0 Curves

A WALL OF NODES

The Geometry Nodes modifier is now supported on Curve and Text objects with full support for the attribute system.

  • Splines have resolution and cyclic builtin attributes.
  • Control points have position, radius, tilt, handle_left and handle_right built-in attributes.
  • Attributes with any name or data type can be created or removed on splines or control points.
  • Attributes can be interpolated between the two curve domains.

MORE THAN WORDS

Got something to say? Use Geometry Nodes! Blender 3.0 brings the first milestone in Text Nodes.

Blender 3.0 Geometry Nodes Material

MATERIALS

Play with materials inside Geometry Nodes!

New nodes include:

INSTANCING

The way geometry nodes works with instances has been improved, to make it more intuitive and much faster.

  • Geometry can now be instanced directly.
  • Mesh modifiers after geometry nodes no longer implicitly realize instances.
  • Instances are now exposed properly to nodes, and aren’t converted to real geometry implicitly.
  • The Realize Instances node can explicitly convert instances into real geometry.
Blender 3.0 Geometry Nodes Instance Nodes

EEVEE ♥ ATTRIBUTES

Mesh attributes are no longer a Cycles exclusive, Eevee now fully supports attributes including those generated by Geometry Nodes.

OUT IN THE WILD

EVEN MORE GEOMETRY NODES

USER INTERFACE

To celebrate the beginning of a new series, Blender 3.0 sports an updated theme, improvements, and a bunch of new options to further customize the already flexible layout system.

VISUAL REFRESH

  • Theme update focused on improving contrast.
  • Panels now have customizable rounded corners and margin between panels to tell them apart more clearly.
  • Several widgets have been tweaked for consistency, including menu items customizable roundness.

AREA MANAGEMENT

Corner action zones now allow joining any neighbors. Create new areas much more easily.

Additionally, these improvements were made:

  • New “Close Area” option in the context menu.
  • Hit size for area resizing has been increased.
  • Better snapping of areas while holding Ctrl.
  • Improved mouse cursor feedback when joining is not possible.

PLUS THESE USER INTERFACE TWEAKS

WHAT YOU SEE
IS WHAT YOU GET

STRIP THUMBNAILS

The Video Sequencer now supports thumbnail previews!

  • Enable it via the Overlay popover.
  • Works with Image and Video strips.
  • Preview while transforming.
  • Threaded loading for performance.

STRIP TRANSFORM TOOLS

It is now possible to transform strips directly in the preview region, just like in the 3D Viewport.

  • New transform tools and gizmos.
  • Press G, R, S for quick transforms.
  • Supports axes snapping.
  • All pivot points supported.
  • Use the new 2D Cursor as pivot.
Custom Color Tags
Custom Color Tags

Set a custom color to any strip. Define the color palette in Preferences.

Overwrite Overlap Mode

Place strips directly on top of others to overwrite them partially or fully.

Better Snapping
Better Snapping

You can now snap to playhead, strips, and even filter muted or sound strips.

MORE SEQUENCER IMPROVEMENTS

TAKE CONTROL

Blender 3.0 offers a brand new set of VR controller-based functionality, including the ability to visualize controllers and the ability to navigate one’s way through a scene in VR using controller inputs.

Three types of navigation (teleport, fly, grab) are now available via the built-in VR Scene Inspection add-on.

PLUS MORE VR

STRIKE A POSE

NEW POSE LIBRARY

Making use of the new Asset Browser, the pose library system in Blender gets a massive revamp.

  • Create or set poses directly from the 3D Viewport.
  • Click-drag to blend into the pose.
  • Right-click on a pose to select or deselect its corresponding bones.
  • Quickly flip a pose with just a click.

Download this file and play!

MORE ANIMATION
& RIGGING GOODIES

GREASE PENCIL

The 2D animation workflow keeps getting better with new modifiers, a polished drawing experience, and Line Art performance has been greatly improved since the last release.

DOT DASH

This new modifier allows you to generate dot-dash lines on strokes automatically, assign different materials, offset, and more.

MORE GREASE PENCIL + LINE ART

QUICKSAVE

Loading and saving compressed .blend files is now magnitudes faster
thanks to using the Zstandard algorithm instead of gzip.

Load Fast

  • 2.92 splash
  • 2.81 splash
  • Ember Forest
  • Mr. Elephant

Loading compressed .blend files.

  • Unit: seconds
  • Blender 2.93
  • Blender 3.0

Save Faster

  • 2.92 splash
  • 2.81 splash
  • Ember Forest
  • Mr. Elephant

Saving .blend files with compression.

  • Unit: seconds
  • Blender 2.93
  • Blender 3.0

TEAM PLAYER

Interoperability takes a leap forward in 3.0 with the support for importing Pixar’s Universal Scene Description and improvements to Alembic.

USD IMPORTER

The first milestone for importing USD files is here:

  • Meshes with UV coordinates, Vertex Colors and Subdivision.
  • Cameras, perspective and orthographic.
  • Curves including USD Basis and NURBS.
  • Volumes as OpenVDB field assets.
  • Materials, including an experimental feature to convert shaders to Principled BSDF.
  • Lights, does not include USD Dome, Cylinder, Geometry.

Pixar USD
Alembic

ALEMBIC

  • Support for exporting animated UV maps.
  • Import per vertex UV maps.
  • Import and export support for generated mesh vertex coordinates (ORCOs).
  • New Render and Viewport evaluation modes.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Read the full list of changes at wiki.blender.org

Credits

List of developers that contributed to Blender 3.0

Blender 3.0 splash and interline images by Blender Studio. Cycles noise comparison by Jesus Sandoval. Grease Pencil artwork by Ikarus. Cycles Shadow Catcher balloons demo by Andy Goralczyk. Asset Browser Cube Diorama by Simon Thommes and Julien Kaspar.

Reel video by Francesco Siddi. Page design and layout by Pablo Vazquez. Features video by SouthernShotty. Additional help by Blender Institute, and the Blender community.

Huge thanks to everyone involved ♥

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