Recently three different patches made their public debut in the last testing builds posted on blender.org's forum, the features introduced by those contributions are worth writing a small overview, so here we are.
The first patch I want to introduce You is Upgraded Merge Tools by Geoffrey Bantle aka briggs, it adds three new modeling functionalities:
- Merge at last in vertex selection mode, an useful (and fast) alternative to Merge at center and Merge at cursor;
- Collapse faces in face selection mode, now join two or more selected faces is a snap;
- Collapse edges in edge selection mode, same as Collapse faces but works with edges.
Then we have the new Array Modifier by Ben Batt (artificer), an interactive (aka real-time feedback while tweaking) tool to create parametrical duplicates of an object.
Each duplicate is offset from the previous one by a transformation composed of
any combination of a constant offset, a scaled offset (calculated from the base object's width) or a transformation taken from another object (empties are handy in this case), moreover the array can determine the number of duplicates through a user numerical input, by calculating the number of duplicates to fit within a fixed length or to fit within the length of a Curve object.
Last but not least comes the Blinn shading node by Nathan Vegdahl (the first of an upcoming series of shading nodes from different authors which comprehends the amazing Python node), the Blender counterpart of the Maya node with the same name as far as the first attempt to move the shading properties from the material panel to noodles, here's a screenshot:
You can download a patched CVS Build here, have fun while playing with it.
Federico "Lox" Lucignano