Blender 2.61 released with GPU based rendering and motion tracking
It's quite possibly one of the most important releases of Blender in its entire history. There are several reasons for that.
Top reason is, of course, Cycles, the new hardware accelerated rendering engine. Cycles can use both CUDA (preferred for NVidia) and OpenCL (naturally, AMD/ATI), but will work on CPU too. That imposes dramatic changes to workflows, even though Cycles is not quite complete yet. For more information please read the Cycles user manual.
The reason number two is motion tracking or, for now, camera tracking. With new Movie Clip editor you can load footage, detect features and reconstruction camera motion for compositing 3D objects into this footage. The documentation is here, and here is a demo from Aiedail:
Those two new features are what makes Blender 2.61 really special. A less critical, but still quite interesting new feature is Dynamic Paint. Here is a short step-by-step explanation, and here is an old but still very relevant demo from developer of the feature:
The new version also got Ocean Sim modifier which can be illustrated with this old video:
Ocean Sim was a community funded project. There is a nice video tutorial on using Ocean Sim with Cycles from Blender Cookie here.
First results of updating UI translations have also been merged, and all the translation are currently visually separated by level of completeness.
There are some smaller nifty features like controlling camera sensors and presets for most commons cameras. Mostly those are Canon and Nikon DSLRs and Red cameras.
You can read the full list of those smaller changes in the wiki.
Builds of the new version are available to download for Windows, Linux and Mac, and there's also a collection of demo files.
Was it useful? There's more:
- Interview with Thomas Krijnen on IfcOpenShell, Blender and architecture
- Interview with Sintel's art director David Revoy
- 3Delight exporter for Blender updated to feature new global illumination method
- Customized MyPaint gains animation for a new open movie project
- Recast & Detour project getting ready for Blender 2.60