The Blender “Orange” release

July 15, 2006

For Immediate Release

After the character animation upgrade of the past release, this final “Orange” release focuses mainly on the render pipeline. The team put an enormous amount of time into meeting the imaging requirements for the Elephants Dream movie, resulting in a big boost in development. The new design of a tightly integrated multi-layer multi-pass High Dynamic Range (HDR) renderer coupled with the new compositing system has filled a crucial need for a productive studio environment. An artist (or team) can set up complex shots consisting of many scenes, each of which will render in multiple layers and passes, define how the compositing should happen, and still have everything bundled in a single compact Blender file that can be handed over to a render farm to execute with a single command.

The compositing system also uses a novel approach for vector-based motion blur, which reconstructs the final image, using depth values from the new render pipeline, into an actual 3d model in which each image pixel is represented by a polygon. This 3d model is then deformed using per pixel motion vectors (also from the new render pipeline) and the results are accumulated into a final motion blurred image. The whole process is amazingly fast and generates high quality results.

The shortlist of 2.42 features:

– A completely rewritten render pipeline, now in full HDR, tile-based and threaded, supporting advanced preview renders, layer and pass rendering, tightly integrated with the compositor.

– Added a Node-based Materials editor for creating advanced shaders. The Node Shader editor allows artists to use both traditional Blender Materials as well was lower level shader effects. New built-in shaders include anisotropic and fresnel.

– The new HDR Compositor allows powerful image manipulation. It uses still images or pre-rendered animation as input, or can be hooked directly into the intermediate results of the rendering pipeline for significantly better precision and control. Support for cropped previews allows for near-realtime editing of movie sized frames even with dozens of compositing nodes.

– Support for industry standard exchange formats like OpenEXR, Cineon, DPX and Collada.
– The already top notch LSCM (UV) unwrapper was further expanded to ABF++, which means that unwrapping automation is even better, with less stretching, and updates interactively while editing. A minimize stretch tool was added for local adjustments.

– The Game Engine was greatly expanded, and now makes full use of the new Bullet physics library.

– The Blender Video Sequence editor now artists allows to edit unlimited amounts of images and video, became fully HDR aware, and – for Linux only at the moment – supports FFMPEG with a large range of codecs for audio and video.

– Hundreds of bugs were mercilessly hunted and killed.

The official release logs, with images and examples, can be found here:

The main download page with all versions:

Note: Artists from the Elephants Dream team will demonstrate the 2.42 release at the Siggraph Convention, on Sunday in theatre room 213, and for three days in the Open Source Pavilion on the trade show.

Ton Roosendaal

Blender Foundation