When it comes to 3D modeling and animation software, one of the names that comes up most often is definitely Blender. It is a free software (GNU GPL license) long-standing: born way back in 1998, Blender has become a fundamental resource for digital artists, designers, animators and 3D graphics enthusiasts. Its growing popularity is due to a unique combination of powerful features, versatility and accessibility.
Blender looks like a virtual laboratory in which the creativity she is free to express herself. With advanced tools modelinganimation, rendering and physical simulations, the program – available in versions for Linux, macOS and Windows – offers the possibility of transforming abstract ideas into extraordinary visual works.
What is Blender and what are its main features
Equipped with a huge range of features, Blender allows you to create detailed 3D models using polygonal modeling tools, sculpting and curve-based modeling. Support the creation of complex objects for architecture, design, gaming and film projects.
The suite of animation tools allows you to move objects, characters and scenes fluidly. With a series of advanced controls which allow you to simulate fluids, smoke, fire and much more. The rendering engine Cycles allows you to obtain arealistic lighting as well as using complex materials and advanced textures.
L’API Python integrates into the application allows users to write custom scripts to automate repetitive tasks or extend the program’s functionality.
What’s new in Blender 4.0, the latest version of the 3D modeling software
Blender 4.0 it’s a major release of the 3D modeling and animation application. As such, it introduces a number of novelty that users have been waiting for for a long time. The new version of the open source program arrives approximately 8 months after the previous one. Furthermore, as confirmed by the roadmap by Blender, the release 4.0 it will remain with us until 2025 with a series of updates that will take place over time.
With the release of Blender 4.0, developers improve the user experience as a whole, with new features, visual improvements and a smoother workflow.
One of the most obvious features is the possibility of carry out searches in all drop-down menus and context menus by pressing the spacebar. Blender is in fact now very rich in features and it is not always necessary to remember how to access a specific tool: thus, the new search system makes access to features quicker, improving operational efficiency.
New options now allow you to navigate during transformations apply and position the cursor more precisely, significantly improving the modeling process.
The text management is improved with a new font and anti-aliasing options. Additionally, several visual enhancements, including adjustable outlines, transparencies, and status indications, improve the look and accessibility of the user interface.
The command “Save Incremental“, added in Blender 4.0, allows you to save the project in progress with a name that integrates a incremental numerical reference. Thus you can follow the evolution of a project, without the risk of losing previous changes.
Color management and color spaces
A series of optimizations applied to the system color managementwith the addition of AgX View Transform as default (becomes the default replacement for Filmic), offer the possibility of better treating colors in overexposed areasimproving the rendering of the scenes.
The new release of Blender adds new color spaces linear and display devices, improving clarity and consistency. Furthermore, it presents a new option HDR (High Dynamic Range) intended for macOS systems that debuts in the color settings of the 3D editor. This way you can enable the display of an extended color range on monitor HDR compatible.
Modeling and animation
I “modifiers” in Blender (modifiers, in English) are tools that allow users to make non-destructive changes to objects in the scene. These modifiers are applied on the mesh or to other types of objects and affect their shape, appearance, or properties without directly altering the underlying data. This means you can easily make changes, adjust parameters, and experiment with different setups without losing the original data.
Some examples of modifiers include the “Mirror” to create symmetries, the “Subdivision Surface” to add details, the “Boolean” to combine or cut shapes.
The word “mesh” in Blender refers to the three-dimensional grid of vertices, edges and faces that defines the shape of a 3D object. In simpler terms, a mesh represents the three-dimensional surface of a virtual object.
In Blender 4.0 the modifiers menu appears extensively redesigned and now includes references to geometric knots (geometry nodes). They allow you to create, edit and transform the geometry non-destructively using a node-based representation. In practice, it is possible to create complex geometric structures by applying a series of nodes in a network. The approach can also be based on procedural effects: you can create very complex geometric shapes based on algorithms and rules instead of manually modeling every detail.
This video offers a rather detailed introduction to how the node tools in Blender 4.0.
Sculpt e Paint
The expressions “Sculpt & Paint” e “Shading & Texturing” refer to two main areas of functionality and workflow within 3D graphics software. Sculpt (“sculpture”) is understood as the part of modeling of three-dimensional shapes. Blender offers advanced sculpting tools that allow artists to manipulate geometry similar to how you would sculpt a physical object. Sculpt tools include brushes, smoothers, and deformers, allowing you to detail and shape 3D models organically.
The digital painting in Blender it takes the form of the application of texture and colors on the surface of 3D models. It is possible to paint directly on the surface of an object using digital brushes.
Blender 4.0 introduces numerous improvements to tools such as Vertex PaintSculpte Weight Paintproviding new options and greater flexibility in use.
Shading e Texturing
In the phase shadingInstead, we are concerned with defining the surface properties of an object, such as its appearance when it interacts with light. Blender uses the node system for creating advanced materials. Users can adjust the color, reflectance, transparency and other attributes of materials by creating networks of shading nodes.
Is called “Principled BSDF” an advanced shader node that can be used to create materials that simulate a wide range of physical surfaces. This node is extremely versatile and greatly simplifies the process of creating realistic materials, allowing artists to control different aspects of the material through a single node rather than having to use several separate shader nodes.
The knot Principled BSDF appears heavily revamped in Blender 4.0 to support a wide range of material types. New features have been added while the engine performance Cycles are improved with the implementation of Multiscattering GGX.
The texturing (texturing) involves applying images or maps to the surface of objects to simulate detail, color, and variations in the surface. Textures can be used to add details such as roughness, imperfections and to define the color distribution.
Since the processor Apple M3 supports the ray-tracing in hardware, Cycles uses this feature by default.