Wondering what your favorite 3D package is cooking for the next release ?
Then read on as I try to sum all the major additions to the CVS and what developers have been doing since 2.42a has been released.
With this article I want to introduce the monthly CVS report, this will happen every beginning of the month where I will report on what has changed in Blender for the last 30 days. I hope this can help people being aware on what to expect on the next release.
Before I start summing things up I would like to elucidate some of the terms commonly used when refering to the release under development.
First of all, when you see CVS it actually mean Concurrent Versioning System, in more depth, it is the software used to store the development files (also known as source files) of Blender, it is accessible from the web by anyone and it allows anyone to download the source files and consequently compile his own Blender release.
Then there are the mailing-lists, these are â€œspecialâ€ e-mail accounts that store the history of every mail they receive, these e-mails are then listed on a webpage for people to see, the received e-mails are also forwarded to the e-mail accounts registered on that specific mailing-list.
Due to major entries since the 2.42a release there may be several things missing, sorry if something didn't make it, but it was already lots of work to compile this and try to keep it as smaller as possible.
Enough of this, lets move to the fun part, what has changed :) .
- As usual lots of Bug fixes, optimizations and updates, specially in the Python department.
- Tablet pressure support added to Blender core, Linux X11 and Mac OS X are supported, no Windows yet.
- Drawmode "Bounding Box" now supports drawing 'extra' too, like axis or object name.
- Maximum amount of keys in Colorband is now 32.
- Added transparency to Nodes, set in Themes the alpha color of "node backdrop" to make nodes transparent.
- SHIFT + MMB in the Node editor now pan the backdrop image display.
Nodes - Compositing
- New node "Combine RGBA".
- New node "Dilate / Erode".
- New node "Rotate".
- New node "Scale", some additional reading on it here .
- New node "File Output", some reading on it here .
- Value field added to the "Hue / Saturation" node.
- Important notice about Movies and the Image Node in the Compositor in here .
Nodes - Shaders
- New node "Camera Info".
- New node "Scalar Math".
- New node "Vector Math".
- New node "Value Squeeze", read some more on it here .
UV / Image / Texture Painting
- The whole module was revamped.
- Added float Image Paint support.
- Airbrush added as an Integrated tool, it can now be used for Soften, Smear and Clone.
- Added the following Blend modes Mix, Add, Substract, Multiply, Darken and Lighten.
- Brush spacing improvements, now it works more like it does in the GiMP.
- Texture Paint support all the Image Paint brush settings, except the clone tool.
- Basic Tablet pressure sensitivity support in Image Paint for opacity, size and spacing. Use the P button near the sliders.
- New function "Save Image" was added next to the existing "Save As".
- Shortcuts added consistent to the Text editor window, ALT+S for Save, ALT+R for Reload, ALT+O for Open and ALT+N for New.
- Select and UVs menu are now hidden when UV editing isn't active.
- New menu entry for Python Scripts added to the Image menu.
- 4 scripts were added to the new "Python Scripts" menu entry, "Bake Wire", "Bake Image", "Bake VCol" and "Bake Normals".
- Huge activity in the Python department, lots of API additions, refactoring, optimizations and bug fixes. Some might not figure here, sorry but there were too many to report.
- New API for accessing surface data, more on it here .
- Tangent space support added to python.
- Python Metaballs API refactored, more on it here .
- Big Mathutils.Vector speedup.
- Kloputils removed from the scripts repository, it was hard to maintain and no active maintainer for it.
- FLT import updated, improved and optimized.
- BVH import rewritten, lots of improvements and optimizations.
- Obj import / export was rewritten, now is much faster, uses less memory. Additionaly it import Lines from Sketchup and export duplis and particles.
- Blender2Cal3D now shows up in the menu again, a bug was causing this.
- Collada script updated, support for mesh skinning was added, better armature support and armature export.
Integrations / Libraries
- VERSE integration update to the latest version. Blender now only supports sharing Mesh objects and Bitmaps.
- Elbeem (Fluids library) updated with improvements and optimizations in moving obstacles.
- Integration of the GSOC "Modifier Stack Upgrade" project, modifiers can be in any order in the modifier stack now, but more information on this is here .
- Bullet upgraded to version 1.9 .
- Czech translation updated.
- New modifier "Edge Split", more info on it here .
- New modifier "Displacement", more info on it here .
- New modifier "UVProject", more info on it here .
- VGroup input added to the Armature modifier. This allows the user to specify a vertex group which will modulate the influence of all bones in the armature.
- Render feature added, "Auto-clip Lamp Buffer", read more about it here .
- Some fixes for subpixel render accuracy, for those having issues read the CVS log for more information.
- New Render Feature for Layered Compositing, read more on it here .
- Tangent vectors can now be derived from orcos (No UV needed) and Normalmaps now also support tangent space properly, read more on it here .
- Fixes for World space should now allow anyone to use "Sphere", "Tube" or "AngMap" properly, giving the right results, specially when using HDR files.
- Added Shrink / Fatten for bevelled curves, check more on it here .
- Curve transforms Tilt and Shrink / Fatten added to the View 3D menu.
Effects / Simulations
- New softbody feature: self collision.
- New softbody option: adjustable rigidity. Read more on it here .
- Softbodies UI cleaned up.
IPO / Action / NLA / Shapes
- Added "Select Column" in Action Editor, allows to select all keys on the same time, works also for Shape Keys. Hotkey is K.
- Added SHIFT+A "Add Action Strip" menu to NLA Editor, this gives a menu with choices of Actions to be added.
- Maximum Shape keys went from 64 to 256.
- Menu to copy shapes (Editmode Mesh, CTRL+C) now displays in Columns.
- Partial Shape Key support for Lattices, read more here .
- Axis Locking for Transform, adding X and Y hotkeys for constraining IPO transforms (grabbing only)
- IPO Curve Mirroring, added M hotkey in IPO Editor as well as Menu option. Options are "Mirror over current frame", "Mirror over vertical axis" and "Mirror over horizontal axis".
- 3 new constraints added to limit the range of location, rotation and scaling values.
- Added Local Target Rotation support to the Floor Constraint. Click on "Use Rot" to take target object rotations into account.
- New Knife tool mode "Knife Exact", with Vertex vertex snapping support, read more on it here.
- Added Adjustable Tolerance for the Knife Exact Snapping, read more on it here.
- New Proportional edit mode 'random' falloff.
- Added option to draw Sharp Edges in the "Mesh Tools 1" panel.
- Support for vertex groups in Lattices, read more on it here.
- Vertex parent support for Lattices, more info on it here .
File / Folder management (paths)
- Path of linked files can now be changed in the Outliner under the new Libraries view, but beware, it only re-reads libraries again once the file is re-saved and opened again, more info on it here .
- Several fixes on paths and folder management, for proper usage in Windows and *nix variants.
Additionally there are some CVS builds for download, all dated 6th of October 2006, the last day of CVS compilation for this article.
I want to thank Eugene Reilly for providing the Windows build, Jonathan Ferguson for making the Mac OS X build and all the Blender Developers for their hard work.
The builds are provided as is, they may crash and they might not work on some computers.
Mac OS X build: The build features OpenEXR, and Verse. It was built on Mac OS X Tiger, so YMMV on earlier versions of Mac OS X (Panther should work). The build has been optimized with -Os and -mpowerpc-gfxopt to accelerate some PowerPC graphics operations that will not also increase the build's size significantly. The verse binary is the latest reference server. If you want to play with it, allow your friends access to an Internet accessible system and have fun. To see and subscribe to verse server nodes, use the Outliner.
Windows build: This Windows build includes OpenEXR, Quicktime, and Verse r6p1 (see here for information on how to use Verse) and was created with Visual C++ 2005 Express. It will run on the x86, x64 and Itanium-based versions of Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows XP SP1 & SP2, Windows XP x64 Pro Edition, or Windows 2000. Optimized with /O2 and should run on all modern processors.
Linux build: This build includes OpenEXR, FFMPEG and BlenderPlayer, optimized with /O2 and should run on most linux boxes with all the necessary libraries.