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Build Your Own Blender For Windows


construction_small.pngThe common trait of software is the need to compile source code to build the applications that we all use. Normally, we are stuck with whatever build a company wants us to use. But in the case of open source software, you the user can compile and build your own with any option your heart desires. Blender is of course no exception. For example, want to optimize your build to take advantage of certain CPU instructions? Want to add a patch that hasn't made it into the CVS? Then your dream build can become a reality!

Recently, Mike "awesome fluid sims" Pan (mpan3) and myself began writing instructions for compiling Windows builds using two different methods:

1. Scons

Mike has done a clear and concise write up of how to build Blender with Scons based on the classic wiki. It's short, concise, and will give you a build fast and easy.

Pros: Quick and Easy
Cons: Some minor effort getting Quicktime and AVI codecs working.

2. Microsoft Visual C++ (MSVC) 2005

I did a write up using Microsoft's Visual C++ 2005 Express (it's free), most of which was gleaned from the Blender dev forum or other sites (1, 2). This is probably the longest and hardest way to build, so set aside some time for this one (mostly because there are lots of downloads). I'm still getting used to MSCV, so if any of you pro compilers out there see a mistake, please post it here and I will correct it.

Pros: Quicktime, OpenEXR, and AVI codecs work with the method I wrote up, great optimization.
Cons: Lots of effort in getting everything set up.

Mike has also started a thread on BA, so feel free to ask questions there. Happy building!

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. Michael Crawford on

    Great. Could somebody post a "build your own" for mac osx. I've had no problems building on my linux box but the last time i tried to build on my mac stuff stuff didn't link and the build threw a fit. I didn't fiddle with it for long since i didn't really have a need to... but i've been interested in modifying blender for a while so it would be nice to be able to do.

    It would be great to have a "known issues" or "FAQ" regarding building on multiple platforms. If it was a wiki it could be kept up to date. (as people run into problems they are reported and workarounds / fixes are found.) Probably this already takes place on the listserves but it would be nice to have it all in one place so ppl don't have to search through the archives.

  2. Michael Crawford on

    @jogai: scons is for linux. it's written in python. it runs on osx too. not sure about windows. Don't use windows, don't care to. I know fedora has 2.42 on yum server (x86-64 too). If you want 242 on debian, just build from source. It worked for me (results may vary). Scons works very very well btw.

  3. FYI: Blender compiled under Scons/GCC/Minwg as presented by the first guide has no problem with OpenEXR support. The only problem is Quicktime and Windows AVI. But those can be resolved with additional libraries.

  4. @mpan3
    Didn't realize! Good thing you're watching the thread. I corrected the "cons" if you can call it that now.

    From what I have seen, version six *might* not be able to be used since I only see a MSC 6 solution file in the main blender directory and not in the extern and intern directories. But I could certianly be wrong since it might have been build differently with 6.

  5. Compiling Blender with scons on Windows only works if you're running Windows XP. Windows 2000 users (yes, there are some of us) have to use make.

    Compiling Blender with scons works great for Mac OSX users.

  6. Not to mention that the 'make' sources are probably the best maintained. Is that you Hos? Like a rock.

    When I tried to build with vc express I had a few issues with linking. I guess you've solved that by copying the files to the vc express directories. Hope to give all this a try sometime but it's a little complicated and can take some time. Thanks though for the tutorial. Saved.

  7. @CubOfJudahsLion
    Or you can get it from cygwin.

    Thanks for the tip about Windows 2000. Any chance you could do a write up of how to compile in Mac OSX? Is it any different from mpan3's scons write up (with the exception of adding environment variables)?

  8. Don't listen to Unix extremists ;-)

    Most professional developers use graphical debuggers and graphical user interfaces, and I haven't seen anything that boost productivity better then Visual Studio. And I many all OS'es and build systems, including BeOS, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. In the game industry, which pushes things further then most areas, MSVC is used by 95% of the developers.

    I've been maintaining MSVC projectfiles, which build out-of-the-box, no fuzz. Just open the .sln file, hit F5 and you go. It includes the zipfile with external dependencies. Unzip the archive and you go. No manual. Unfortunately this requires manual updating. See

    Luckily, a new buildsystem is coming for Blender, which helps autogenerating projectfiles for Visual Studio, Mac OS X Xcode, KDevelop, but also generated makefiles etc. See the Blender develop mailing list for more details.

    It is called Cmake, see

  9. @Erwin
    Thanks for chiming in! Thanks for your thoughts on MSVC and the projectfile link - I just downloaded the vc8 files (june 2006 are the latest ones right?).

    And thanks for mentioning Cmake since this is something we should all look forward to. I see it mentioned frequently in the mailing lists.

  10. Thanks very much for the instructions, got blender to compile fine using scons on winxp.
    I am struggling to apply a patch (lens_shift) though.
    I would apprieciate instructions. Thanks in advance.

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