The Blender Foundation and online developer community are proud to present Blender 2.73, released January 8 2015!
  • Several Cycles Rendering updates, improvements and new features, support for GeForce 9xx GPUs.
  • New fullscreen mode, improved Pie Menus, 3D View can now display the world background.
  • Knife-tool now allows freehand smart cuts, and more improvements were made in selection tools, Bevel Modifier and Shapekeys.
  • Unwrapping UVs was improved, strength is now enabled for Grab and Snake Hook brushes, better visual feedback mode for painting with masks.
  • Sequencer now can show a backdrop, strips can be snapped to others along with other improvements.
  • Freestyle NPR Rendering has a new SVG exporter add-on, along with other improvements.
  • Grease Pencil had a major update, it is now possible to edit and animate strokes! New draw styles, and imporvements in user interface.
  • Collada Importer was updated, improving the compatibility with other software’s bone concepts.
  • Add-ons: FBX improved importing/exporting armatures, some Python API changes  could need some Add-ons to be updated!
  • As usual several other minor updates and improvements, and lot of bugfixing also in this release.
A 2.73a release is available (Jan 21 2015): it fixes over 20 little show-stopping bugs found in the first release (details in the release log).
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What's new in Blender 2.73

Cycles Render Engine

  • Volumes can now be rendered if the camera is inside them
  • Support for cubic voxels interpolations to avoid artifacts especially on low resolution smoke simulations
  • Support for GeForce 9xx GPUs
  • Faster rendering of homogeneous volumes
  • Improved rendering with area lights
  • Viewport specularity

User Interface

  • New Fullscreen mode displays an environment without any buttons or other “annoying” user interface elements
  • A number of Input Method Editors (IMEs) are now supported for complex non-latin character input (widely used in east-Asia)
  • Pie Menus are now using a confirm threshold
  • Pie Menus can now contain nested Pie Menus
  • The 3D View has a new option to display the world background

Modeling

The Knife-tool now allows freehand cuts drawing and closing of cut-loops via double click. Selection during modeling has been improved by adding the ability to select similar regions, plus the select more/less function has gotten the option to skip adjacent faces. A few other improvements were made, like for the Bevel Modifier, Shapekeys

Sculpting / Painting

Unwrapping UVs was improved by using a simpler unwrap method. Numerical input is supported for changing brush size, detail size and strength. The latter one can now also be changed for Grab and Snake Hook brushes. When painting with masks, the face-mask edges are hidden to give proper visual feedback of what you are painting on.

Sequencer

Similar to the Compositor, an option to show the current frame as a backdrop has been added. Strips can be snapped to others by pressing the G key while moving them and their content can be moved independently of the strip itself (S). A few minor things were also made, such as an option to toggle all waveforms on/off, or drawing of meta-strip range while editing them.

Freestyle Non-photorealistic Rendering

The non-photorealistic render engine Freestyle got a new SVG exporter, implemented as an add-on. It’s now also possible to cache view maps and a few more options for chain selection and chain sorting were added.

Animation

The Grease Pencil was given a major update. As a result, it is now possible to edit and animate strokes! There are new ways to draw styles, like filled stroke interiors, volumetric strokes, etc. The Grease Pencil’s user interface (which is now completely defined via Python) has been improved as well, plus two quick access pie menus were created for it. Besides from the Grease Pencil update, there are some other minor improvements regarding animation.

Add-ons

Some updates were made for the Collada Importer. Compatibility of Blender bones to other software’s bone concepts was made better and the problems with “Leaf Bones” and that Collada isn’t aware of Blenders connection system between bones were fixed.

The FBX Add-on now uses some advanced handling/tweaking options for importing and exporting armatures. To Add-on developers: Some changes were made to the Python API, make sure to check them out and update your Add-ons if necessary!

More Features

Several optimizations: mesh deform modifier now uses SSE2 with multi-threading, compositor’s gaussian blur node implemented in OpenCL, vertex parent optimized for a few cases. In 3D View added GLSL specular transparency support for Blender internal materials, and support for specular highlights in cycles materials. Motion Tracking predictive tracking has been implemented now, enabled by default and doing magic under the curtain. Added shortcuts for masks and tracks copy-paste operators.

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.


Bug Fixes

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


Ready?

Try these new features and more by yourself, download Blender 2.73 now. Blender is Free Software, free to use for any purpose.