Blender is a very popular open-source 3D computer graphics suite that has a vast variety of use cases, ranging from the creation of animated films, all the way to motion graphics, visual effects, and more.
With a recent announcement, the Blender Foundation revealed the Blender 4.0 release, that represents “a major leap for rendering, creating tools, and more to take your Freedom to Create to new heights.”
So, let's look at what's behind this release.
🆕 Blender 4.0: What's New?
Being a major release, Blender 4.0 has plenty to offer. However, we will be only taking a look at some of the key highlights:
- User Interface Improvements
- Light and Shadow Linking
- Revamped Principled BSDF
- Better Rigging
While we mention some details as you read on, here is the official video to sum up the major changes:
User Interface Improvements
The most important user-facing thing on Blender, the interface font, has been changed to “Inter”. This move was made in a bid to improve text readability across the application, irrespective of the display size.
Then there's the newly added ability to search for stuff by pressing the space bar on regular dropdown/context menus, and a tweaked splash screen which now makes it easier to carry over saved settings from older Blender installs.
Even a new “Save Incremental” option was added to the File menu that saves the current .blender file with a numerically incremented name.
Light and Shadow Linking
Dubbed by the devs as their most awaited feature, Blender 4.0 features Light and Shadow Linking. With these features, a designer could set lights to affect specific objects in a scene, and even have control over which objects can block light, acting as shadow blockers.
For more details on how these work, you can refer to the official documentation.
Revamped Principled BSDF
Blender's Principled BSDF system has seen a big revamp with the upgrade, it now features support for a larger variety of material types and is more efficient.
Some highlights of the revamp include:
- Coat, it is placed above all the base layers, including the emission layer, to simulate things like a phone display behind a glass surface.
- Sheen, it now uses a new microfiber shading model, and acts as the top layer above emission and coat.
- Implementation of Multiple scattering GGX for more efficient rendering in Cycles, resulting in less power being used while rendering.
- Edge tinting for metallic surfaces, allowing for an artist-friendly way to render complex index of refraction, based on the F82 tint model.
The illustration below should give you a better look at how things are with this revamp of Principled BSDF:
Blender 4.0 features a dedicated “Bone Collections” for Armature Bones, this implementation is carried over from the existing implementation for objects.
It replaces both the legacy numbered layers and bone groups feature, allowing for the Select Grouped operator to select by bone color/collection, setting bone colors on armature bones, and more.
Even the pose library sees an update with the recently introduced asset shelf that makes pose assets available in the 3D viewport.
🛠️ Other Changes and Improvements
There's more. Some other noteworthy changes include:
- Support for Intel HD4000 series GPUs has been dropped.
- A new blendfile compatibility policy has been implemented.
- Snapping has been improved, allowing for faster and more precise snaps.
- The minimum required OpenGL version for Linux and Windows is now 4.3.
- Filmic has been replaced by AgX view transform for better handling of colors in over-exposed areas.
You may also refer to the official release notes for more details of this Blender release.
📥 Download Blender 4.0
You can get the latest tar package of Blender from the official website for Linux, Windows, and macOS.
💬 Ready to start creating with Blender 4.0? Prefer something else? Let us know below!