Blender is a free 3D modeling tool that has been around for quite some time. It started out as a free and open source 3D modeling program for individuals and artists. They started in 2002 and have been continuously making improvements in their program.
This year they’ve released a new update in 2.8. It’s been years in the making and has made such an improvement in their program. Let’s go through some new features in Blender 2.8 that they’ve included.
Let’s start with the interface in Blender. This new interface is so much easier to use! I just started learning how to use Blender just a few months ago after using Autodesk 3DS Max for a while and it took a lot to switch over to Blender. But this new interface has been such an improvement and makes things so much easier to use!
When you first install this free software, you will get the choice to change the interface theme. There are two presets for your interface theme. And you can choose between the two or you can change it later to adjust to your own personal liking.
You can also go online and download themes that you would prefer.
The older Blender had a common practice of right clicking to select your object. Industry wide, it’s the left mouse button to select. But, with this new Blender, right off the bat, you can choose if you want to use the left or right mouse button for your selection key. It is now defaulted to the left key, but you can change it when you first open it up, or later, in the preferences settings.
There is now a dialogue box that is easier to understand when you try to quit.
And this is the coolest thing about the new Blender 2.8 interface…. is that you can customize your keystrokes to match the industry standard. So, there is no more trying to learn a new program’s keystrokes and hot keys. Now it is possible to move from program to program and use the same keys to do the same thing. It’s now industry compatible. Yay!!! I absolutely love this feature! It makes it so much easier to learn Blender and even stick with Blender.
Oh, and really cool feature, too – especially for those that have a laptop like me and usually forget to plug in my mouse – you can use the little toggles in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Use the zoom in and out tool, toggle tool, pan tool and you can switch automatically from front view, back view and so on by clicking on the directional dots there at the top. Scroll around your objects using this too. Gosh, these were things I was missing when I first started working with Blender. I’m so excited for this new feature too!
The renderer that is now in Blender is realtime. The Eevee rendering engine is like that of Marmoset or Unreal Engine. It has volumetrics, subsurface scattering and real full support for Cycles shaders. You can switch between Eevee and Cycles in real time and get results so much faster than switching from one application to another.
There is no need to import or export objects from one application to another. Everything from modeling, sculpting, editing, texturing is right here in one application!
The viewport is one of the most powerful viewports out there right now in the 3d modeling software. As this is where we, as artists, will be spending most of our time, this is a really important feature.
Within the wireframe mode there is a depth selection so that you know exactly what you are clicking on and so you’re not selecting something behind what it was that you were really wanting to select anyway.
In the texture paint tab you have a drop down window in the upper right corner of your viewport that you can switch from studio, matcap and flat painting. There is also a new x-ray view. This is a great alternative to wireframe mode.
There is a way now to preview your renders before actually rendering them now as well.
Blender Has Gone Pro!
More and more professional studios and animators are seeing the potential of Blender and have been using it. Blender has made the software more user-friendly for professionals to use. In fact, the Netflix film Next Gen was done completely in Blender! Thanks to them, now Blender has many features that are professional.
They have initiated a better layer system. Rigging within this layer system is much easier as you pose more and more objects and get the animation going for more complex scenes.
Check out this little animation done completely in Blender!
It just makes me want to do more with my own creations in Blender!
So the grease pencil had a great use in the old versions of Blender. People could use it to draw over their 3D art to kind of mark what they were doing or show someone else how to do something without messing up their object. Some artists took this and started drawing full-blown art into it, using their drawing skills inside.
Blender has now taken these skills and given us the ability to turn it all into an animation. So, not only can you do 3d modeling, texturing, animation and rendering, you can now also draw out all of your artwork in 2D and put it to an animation as well.
Pretty cool stuff there.
Try it Out!
Blender 2.8 now rivals the bigger 3D software programs. They are definitely up to the challenge. Are you ready to give Blender a go? I know I am! And it’s all FREE!!!
There is also a video by Blender Guru that shares a little bit more about the new features. I love watching him and I’ve learned so much about Blender through him. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping in!