Blender 2.61 released with GPU based rendering and motion tracking

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.

UI languages

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.

Camera presets

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:

11 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. This piece of news is so good that has now gone down due to the combined pressure of all downloaders. ( I got my copy from )

    I hope they’ll try bittorrents the next time. :)

  2. @Alexandre: BTW: Very good write-up of all the new features. I like that you took the time to find a good video for each feature.

  3. Funny you say the camera sensor size is a ‘small nifty’ feature.
    If that wasn’t implemented the entire camera tracking feature would simply not work.

    It’s a great release I’d just hoped they’d added a bit more universal technology’s (opencolorio, openimageio, ptex, alembic).

  4. Perfect release just downloaded all demofiles. My lovely evening is set with this. La lal la la Wow amazing. IS this realy opensource.

  5. @Rio I asked Nicholas about Ptex in late October, and he told me he put that project on hold. He was going to merge and update other branches first.

  6. i have looked into cycles a bit. cpu/gpu support is really interesting. ahead of what is available in the professional packages by default mental ray etc. its a really wise direction if it’s designed to work well with complex scenes and reasonably fast. i have not had time to test it yet. 2.6x is quite polished tho. its less of a chore to use then previous releases.

  7. UnconventionalT 17 December 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Yeah, they should really start putting the mirrors as the default download location, not their own site.
    In my case, I simply accessed a cached version of via Google Cache and downloaded it from one of the mirrors.

  8. That tracking feature looks amazing.

    I looked at Blender a couple of years ago and it was just beyond me and I didn’t take the time to learn how to use it properly.

    I’ve been Learning/using Adobe After for a couple of years now for some motion graphics projects, but want to start to include some 2D and 3D characters into my projects.

    First off, would you recommend I revisit Blender and take the time to learn it?

    Second, would you advise Blender for character creation/animation or do you prefer another software for this?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


  9. I’d say definitely. But learn the stuff blender does best and stick to it. Currently it’s modeling and texturing, especially with the latest 2.62 release the texturing had gone in high gear. After BMesh is merged and blender 2.63 is released this will even more true.

    You can learn the rest of the program if you want to but in production we tend to use the programs that do certain things best only for those things. Right now blender for modeling/texturing, maya rigging/animation, Houdini for dynamics, Nuke for compositing and Hiero to tie it all together in the edit.

    You can’t go wrong really as blender will always be available on any platform you are working on.

  10. Thanks for the swift response @Rio, very much appreciated. The whole character thing is new to me, but I do love the challenges ahead and will take your advice about sticking with what each software does best, thanks.

  11. Watched these amazing videos. I must say that is is a great release. Thanks for sharing!!