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Blender 2.80 release candidate (blender.org)
390 points by crispinh 3 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

This is (a release candidate for) a huge milestone in Blender's history. So much has been improved, that some, including myself, have speculated why they didn't choose to make it a 3.0 release.

Aside from the fantastic new features geared towards existing users, which are described in detail & with pictures in the OP, this release also makes Blender a lot more user-friendly for those who haven't used it before. 3D software almost necessarily has a steep learning curve for new users, as you have to learn not only how to use a new program, but also how 3D content creation itself works. But in this release the developers and designers have made an effort to get rid of the biggest "gotchas" that many new users complained about when using previous versions of Blender.

If you've wanted to get into 3D content creation before, there's never been a better time!

Another thing to note is that the future of Blender development never looked as good as it does now.

The recently introduced 'Blender Development Fund' already recieves € 37245 every month in donations, which directly goes to hiring more Blender developers.

As impressive as 2.80 is, I'm really eager to see what 2.81+ brings, one area which looks like it will get a major improvement is 'sculpting' where a newcomer (Pablo Dobarro) has been making waves with a lot of interesting development in a separate branch, resulting in hints from the Blender Foundation of him being hired soon.

Good times!

Pablo Dobarro's work around improving sculpting is really incredible, and imho, makes Blender compete as a zbrush alternative (at least as a solid casual alternative). If you want to see this project succeed, you can donate to his patreon: https://www.patreon.com/pablodp606/posts

In release notes[0] for Cycles there are a lot of mentions of CUDA. Also many mentions of OpenCL, with the ominous note that it’s been “disabled on macOS platform”.

I’m wondering how complex can animations be, with reasonable frame render times, on macOS with Radeon Pro Vega 16? I know it’s a very open-ended question but I’m curious for any take.

(For some context, I’m completely unfamiliar with the pipeline/ecosystem, but wanted to hobby around with 3D for a while. Lacking a suitable GPU, now I’m considering how viable would this be on latest MBP’s graphics. If not so much, I might go for a cheaper GPU option & postpone my 3D experiments until I can have a fixed workstation with fast GPU in addition to laptop I use for work.)

[0] https://wiki.blender.org/wiki/Reference/Release_Notes/2.80/C...

I used to use Blender a lot for a variety of things in the past. However, with 2.8, the UI became so slow on my Mac Mini that I decided to buy an external eGPU. However, I hadn't read the "OpenCL disabled on macOS platforms" update. So the eGPU didn't really help. So for me, I'm still on Blender 2.7 as the UI is much faster there. For reference, I have Blender running on a 5k display, so there're a lot of pixels to move around. Nevertheless, buying an eGPU won't help you a lot with Blender 2.8 as the internal GPU is too slow for the UI - at least in a reasonably high resolution. I was briefly pondering buying a second Linux box just to use Blender, but that also sounds insane. So until Apple patches their broken Nvidia relationship up, or Blender supports something like MoltenVK, there's no good way of running 2.8 on most macOS devices.

Edit: I didn't test the RC yet. So maybe the performance is better now. Also, I never tried on a smaller display. It might work just fine on a 1920x1280 screen.

I can't imagine OpenCL in any way being involved with the rendering of the UI. Maybe you're confusing it with OpenGL?

If you're having problems making use of an eGPU (that's supported by apple, which rules out nvidia!), you should report that. eGPUs will probably be a common use case.

That probably has something to do with Apple's abysmal support for OpenGL. They have even deprecated it for their proprietary Metal API. From Blender's perspective supporting a proprietary API is not worth it.

If you're just learning then new Eevee renderer in 2.80 is great for 90% of things and is pretty much real-time. For those final shots you can use cycles with your CPU, it's going to take longer but lack of a GPU shouldn't stop you as a hobbiest.

edit: after some more reading I'm not sure if Eevee works on CPU, but I don't have blender 2.8 on a cpu-only machine to test this.

Eevee is a gpu only renderer.

The new 2.8 release comes with the Eevee "real time" 3d engine, which should work well with your current system.

If you need to use Cycles, it'll still work fine with your CPU for now - and you can always either use an online render farm (there are many!) for more complex stuff, or buy a separate rig if you end up using it enough.

Yes, it is unfortunate that Cycles no longer supports OpenCL on macOS. There has been talk in some of the Blender groups about porting it to Metal (Cycles was designed from the ground up to support multiple platforms like OpenCL and CUDA), and they were speculating that it could be done by a skilled developer in 3–6 months [0]. Hopefully there are enough Blender users on Mac to justify this effort. Anyone here have ideas about organizing / funding this?

In the meantime, check out AMD ProRender [1]. It appears to be a viable alternative to Cycles for most things and can run on Metal on macOS.

At any rate, for more substantial renders, I strongly recommend cloud farms. You can make your own using spot instances to save money, and fire up more servers to get your render done more quickly. Getting an overnight render done in less than an hour (without tying up your workstations) is super helpful since it gives you more freedom to iterate. This kind of task (where you need a huge amount of processing power periodically for specific jobs) is where cloud computing really shines.

And there is also Eevee, which is not a Cycles replacement, but I believe it is fully supported on macOS.

[0] https://lists.blender.org/pipermail/bf-committers/2018-Decem... [1] https://community.amd.com/docs/DOC-2183

Thank you, had no idea about ProRender and haven’t thought of offloading the renders to EC2. Looks like using a spot P2 instance could be really cost-effective (if prices keep at reasonable levels), definitely worth trying first.

There is a useful tool for this called brenda. The original repo by creator James Yonan hasn't been updated in years, so it uses an old version of Blender by default, doesn’t allow you to choose availability zone (which affects pricing), and doesn't support GPU rendering out of the box. I forked it [0] to address these issues for my own use, and updated the documentation to try and make it easier for people to get started.

[0] https://github.com/gwhobbs/brenda

I actually saw brenda come up a few times while researching readbeard’s suggestions, as you said the original seemed not super up-to-date. Thank you for mentioning your fork! Going to try in the next couple of days.

Even if my experiments won’t justify spinning up multiple instances, this should greatly reduce setup overhead.

> to try and make it easier for people to get started

What do you think about putting a simple GUI in front of this toolset—for those not proficient with CLI (I imagine many 3D artists using Blender may fall into that category)? I’ve been doing something similar as part of a consulting job recently, so couldn’t help thinking along those lines… Would be happy to help make it more accessible, should be an interesting exercise.

I think it's probably cheaper and safer to buy a second hand gpu rig and use it as your reneder farm.

With that said, your initial 3d experiments should run just fine on cpu only.

I am interested in jumping in. I’m concerned that new features, even if better, would make it hard to find up to date documentation and tutorials. Any recommendations?

Youtube has several people frantically creating tutorials for 2.8: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blender+2.8+tut...

'Too hard to learn' was a legitimate concern in the early days... even though the payoff is huge. Perhaps it still is some, but not more than most other 3d suites. The interface is so much discoverable, and has switchable key maps so that it's similar to other 3d apps.

I got started with a tutorial (on Udemy I think) that used a much older version and while it definitely took me longer I think I learned a lot more. I got to poke around and try things and make mistakes that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

> If you've wanted to get into 3D content creation before, there's never been a better time!

I've heard that several times as this version has been in the works. Will this make most of the tutorials for Blender harder to work through until they are updated? I've heard that the UI will be pretty different.

> the UI will be pretty different.

The is the most frustrating downside - the side effect of all major software overhauls - all of a sudden the wealth of tutorials and guides are out of date!

It'd be interesting if Blender had an interaction recorder for tutorials, which could be turned on and off as desired.

The user would make and record a tutorial entirely in blender, and an interaction text file would be saved.

When a new version comes out, the interactions could be replayed, with the new menu tree, effectively re-rendering the whole video.

Doing so could also allow a user to upload a file summarizing their key bindings, and have any customizations shown in the tutorial.

It wouldn't be perfect, but it'd be neat if it existed.

Most people making tutorials already switched over to 2.8 a while ago, so there is already a large body of tutorials available.

Blender is also related with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. You can create and edit 3D models of AR/VR with Blender.

Do you mean "create for AR/VR" or "create in AR/VR"?

Any 3D application is useful for the former so I'm not clear on what specifically you're referring to.

If you mean the latter then I'm aware of a "edit inside VR" add-on for Blender but unclear on what the AR connection might be.

This is probably a reference to the integrated motion tracking support[1]. Sure, you can use any 3D application to generate content for AR, but it's a lot easier to overlay 3D object into an existing scene when the 3D application can process a video and automatically adjust the camera parameters to match.

[1] https://lesterbanks.com/2019/07/everything-you-wanted-to-kno...

Sorry, I mean Blender as a 3D application. You can create or edit 3D models and export them to AR application.

what plans does the team has for 3.0 ??? any thing groundbreaking tech ???

Well, they're thinking of overhauling the core.[0] Pablo Vazquez also made a video on why he thinks it shouldn't be 3.0 yet.[1]

[0] https://code.blender.org/2013/06/blender-roadmap-2-7-2-8-and...

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJE7vMmOYZ4

That roadmap is 6 years old at this point. I’d imagine plans have changed a little since then.

> there's never been a better time!

Sounds like the best time is "in the coming days." :) But seriously: I'm not sure I want to cut my teeth on a version that hasn't been fully tested for bugs.

It's not a beta, it's an RC. 2.8 has been being tested for bugs for months now.

Anyone can read in the developer blog’s last entry (2 clicks away from blender’s homepage) that the final 2.8 version was scheduled in only 5 days, but OP seemingly wanted the karma points. Otherwise there isn’t any real reason for sharing a RC of a project you are not working with without checking what is the release plan.

Then why is it RC and not release?

I've been using Blender 2.80 as a daily tool since it hit alpha, having started in the industry with the pre-release of Maya beta 4 in 1996.

I'm tempted to start with a snarky comment like "only 19 years to get left-mouse select?" or "Microsoft shipped a Linux kernel before Blender got left-mouse select" but the fact is 2.80 is a huge UI improvement.

At this point, the UI is merely a bit odd, as opposed to inconceivably terrible. If you are a hobbyist or have only occasional need for 3D editing, Blender should absolutely be your go-to tool today. At this point it's no harder to learn and not significantly quirkier than Maya or 3ds Max, it's just different.

When the last major Blender UI update came out (something like 2.64? I can't remember) I recall saying "one more round of UI improvement like this and I'd consider starting my next studio pipeline around Blender rather than Maya." That was about 6 years ago. Today I'd consider building a studio pipeline around it but probably decide against, though one more round of improvement like 2.80 and I'd definitely start a studio on Blender over Maya which hasn't advanced significantly in more than ten years. 2025 FTW!

I haven't pulled down the RC yet (I'm still on the most recent beta) so this might have changed in RC but if you are considering shifting from your 3D editor of choice to Blender, you'll want to know that parenting relationships are still needlessly buried but accessible[0].

[0] https://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/127105/the-outli...

Have all 'modes' been updated, how is it for non-linear [video] editing (NLE) now. I usually use KDEnlive but have used Blender in the past for this and it was pretty good but entirely unlike anything else in it's controls IIRC.

Even in the new UI, I still use right click to select. Old habits die hard.

Blender is an incredible achievement for the open source community. It is an extraordinarily capable bit of software and 2.80 brings so many huge changes and refinements.

While it still remains a complex bit of software it is not has difficult as its reputation would suggest and 2.80 makes a lot of concessions to making the UI more familiar to newbies.

For anyone wanting to jump in now, here's a good guide for making your first model in Blender 2.8, even if you have never made a model before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBqYTgaFDxU

Thank you kindly, this is the kind of thing I was looking for. I've been thinking about getting into 3d modeling for a while now.

I credit Ton Roosendaal for his direction of the project. Since I first started following the project, there have been two large refactors. Both which have driven significant improvements.

A lot of the 'difficult' reputation lingers from the pre-2.5 days when the UI was quite different from anything most users had ever seen before. The 2.5, and now 2.8, UI reworking has gone a long way to remove this barrier for many users.

I'm totally looking forward to the work that has gone into UI improvements. My prior attempts at using Blender left me puzzled, and I figured it was kindof the vi of 3D modelling eg. made for full-time as opposed to casual work. Though my son told me it isn't difficult if you know the basics. Anyway, I'm used to SketchUp and have a couple of models (no animations), so is there a way to import .skp files? Years ago, I used SketchUp Pro's Collada export with some success, but since SketchUp has changed to a browser-based free version (ugh), it looks like I'll need to use an old SketchUp install.

If you're used to SketchUp, you might be interested in this.[0] I don't think it'll land in 2.8, but I'm sure it'll end up in the nightlies.

[0] https://twitter.com/pablodp606/status/1148242297638858752

The recommendation is to go through a few online tutorials (YouTube). Just follow along a donut and coffee cup tutorial and that should teach you most of the basic things you need to use the UI for modelling. Even though 3d software is and looks really complex, the main things used in 3d modelling are pretty simple to learn.

Blender 2.79 does support the importing of some .skp files. I'm unsure if 2.80 supports the same.

I'm in a similar boat. In the past, the UI has been much too confusing for me, so I gave up trying to learn, but the new UI looks great. I'll give it another try when its released, for sure!

The interface is impressively bad. I think it is the only program for which I had to Google how to close a window. I am glad that they are taking it seriously.

Unfortunately, as a casual user (opening it maybe once or twice a month), this release has the side effect of breaking all the interface tutorials out there. It is probably still for the best in the long run, but I've had to keep both 2.79 and 2.80 installed.

> this release has the side effect of breaking all the interface tutorials out there

All the obsolete interface tutorials. There are plenty of new ones for 2.80.

> the vi of 3D modelling

> I think it is the only program for which I had to Google how to close a window

Jokes aside, the UI really isn't that bad and they removed most of the little gotchas in 2.8 (e.g. left-click is used for selection now). I would say the UI is quite a bit better than a few other popular 3D modelling applications like Maya, but worse than Modo.

I felt the same way until I watched some videos (like those by blenderguru, for instance) and once I did that, it all started to make more sense. Just watching someone else use the UI helped me get a sense of the basics.

The new renderer, Eevee, is brilliant and fast and is only one of the many great improvements to what was already one of my favourite bits of software.

Some of the best open-source desktop software that there is.

Another renderer? They already have two parallell and partially incompatible pipelines...

Blender Internal (1) and the Blender game engine were both removed in 2.80. Eevee uses the same nodes as Cycles.

(1) Blender's legacy rendering engine which has been around since the '90s


Hadn't noticed Internal had disappeared, but indeed it has. Suppose there's not really any need for it with Eevee existing now.

Part of the original rationale for Eevee was to replace Blender Internal.

How is performance (ram/cpu) compared to internal?

I used to switch to internal when designing on really low-end hardware (Atom tablets)

From my understanding (SOMEBODY CORRECT ME IF IM WRONG) Eevee is designed for realtime rendering in mind - it uses tricks similar to videogames to get high quality renders without raycasting everything.

So it performs FAR better than blender internal.

Yes, Eevee is a fast pbr renderer and can give very similar results to cycles with no effort, except there's some setup needed to do indirect lighting and reflections... and some tweaking needed for good lamp shadows in some cases, but the payoff is huge. I have a high resolution render that takes 12 minutes in cycles, 30 seconds in eevee with no grain... some features are not there line a shader bevel, but otherwise very similar, and there's workarounds for that.

> left click select as the new default

This is a huge improvement for new users. Right click was very un-intuitive when coming from other applications.

Congrats to the Blender team on this release.

They make so many good decisions without sacrificing functionality.

I feel Blender should loan some of its UI people to GIMP...

Why GIMP though? I thought Krita was pretty nice.

GIMP and Krita focus on different stuff even if some of their functionality overlaps. GIMP focuses on photo editing whereas Krita focuses on digital painting. This sort of focus affects what priorities functionality for each program gets.

Krita usually does as I want, gimp has a mind of its own.

On other words, gimp has much worse UIX and desperately needs an overhaul

So glad to see 2.8 getting closer to release. I recently used blender for a project, had a problem with the new gltf exporter, luckily it was so easy to fix that even I could create a patch and a pull request, which was reviewed and accepted within a day. Now THATS open source!

I had a GLTF export problem too! Though I can’t remember what specifically. Thanks for your help!

No more "just learn them 100 shortcuts you newbie". It was incredibly annoying advice for casual user, who has simply forgotten everything everytime they need to do some 3D-modelling.

You could usually hit space bar and start typing a command to find it and run it.

For the curious, search is now mapped to f3.

It has a real-time physically based renderer now: https://wiki.blender.org/wiki/Reference/Release_Notes/2.80/E...

The hardest thing for me in blender so far has been uv coords. Sometimes I seem to be editing them, but they don't change, sometimes the ui for it seems to be gone. Sometimes they don't seem to apply. Sometimes the material seems to get lost.

It's been an incredible festival of mis-design, so far.

So, I hope that has improved.

UV editing has a tab at the top now. There's a few things to keep track of to be successful with this tool and hook up with materials, but I don't think the difficulty is much different then similarly powerful tools. There's youtube tutorials that will walk you though it.

It has been a long wait.

I'm still not quite used to the new UI, but I generally trust the Blender foundation that most changes are to the better (and many of them can be reversed through settings).

Excited to try this, but the download is going at low KB/s ... anyone got a torrent for the linux version?

In the end I downloaded it through Steam - just select the release candidate beta channel.

Thanks for the tip, I had no idea blender was on steam (and had beta channels there too!)

Link for the lazy: https://store.steampowered.com/app/365670/Blender/

Oh wow, the UI has changed significantly which is a huge milestone. Back in the days any mention of the UI being awkward would typically just result in people telling you "you just aren't smart enough to use it" which basically just let people to roll with Maya instead.

I mean honestly the old UI wasn't bad, it just was wildly different from anything else which makes the learning curve too steep. I can't recall the blender UI ever feeling like it got in my way after I got to grips with how it does things.

This is great news tempered by the fact that this is the first version since the NaN buyout that I'll not be able to run without buying new hardware. I saw many similar lamentations in the various fora, usually met with "It's 2019 etc etc." And so it goes.

They already bent over backwards working around bugs in drivers the GPU vendors abandoned years ago to support 10 year old NVIDIA hardware, 7 year old AMD hardware, and 5 year old Intel hardware. And it still works on hardware older than that (at least on Linux) in spite of not being "supported". I don't know what else people are expecting them to do.

People are being unreasonable.

It's free software and it's the best there is. Even a commercial software package that you'd pay 100's of dollars for would be worse in the compatibility dimension that the poster is lamenting.

It's actually much worse. I use SolidWorks (parametric 3D solid modeler for mechanical design) and my company pays around $4k per seat, and it requires you to use a specific SolidWorks-certified GPU driver, which means you are forever stuck with whatever bugs that version has. It's an awful situation. My last laptop (Dell Precision M4800) had graphics issues with docking and undocking and sleeping and waking, but I couldn't update the GPU driver because it would break solidworks. Fun!

How much does 3d Studio max cost? I haven't used it since the 90s so even the name might have changed. I thought it was thousands.

Last I checked its 1500 a seat... a year.

They bumped the OpenGL version up to 3.4 (or something) which means older hardware can't run it anymore--one of the main reasons I had to give up my Junior Woodchuck Blender Hacker hobby since I can't afford new hardware...

They bumped the OpenGL version to 3.3 which is 9 years old. I don't know exactly what hardware you have but there's some that supports newer GL versions on Linux vs Windows, i.e the integrated GPU in Sandy Bridge hardware only goes up to 3.1 in the Windows driver but the Linux driver supports 3.3. AMD Linux drivers support 3.3 all the way back to HD2000 hardware from 2007.

I know it sucks, but at least it sounds better than giving up an entire hobby: Couldn't you just stay on the last working version of Blender?

Not if I wanted any patches accepted ;)

The first version since the NaN buyout... So you mean the first version since 2002?

One advantage of Blender being open source is that you can use any previous version forever. And the previous versions are quite good!

If you need to buy new hardware to run Blender,

1) You probably need just a budget but contemporary graphics card, under $100, to improve your computer from implausibly old (and therefore unsupported) to very cheap (but good enough for Blender), raising the question of what light computer usage has allowed you to postpone this and other upgrades for years.

2) You want to use vintage equipment lying around, not a "normal" computer, raising the question of whether you are interested in practical use or in attempting stunts.

Which requirement? Supporting legacy hardware such as VGA resolution monitors (640x480) adds a lot of complexity for little gain IMO.

Anyone know what's the feature shown in the banner video where a seemingly hand-drawn griffon is then used to generate a 3D model?

It's grease pencil as others have mentioned, Jama Jurabaev talked a bit about this kind of workflow in a Blendconf talk last year[1]. I believe that griffon is this[2] piece of concept art he did for the Fantastic Beasts movie.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpcKPJTmqSI&t=935

[2] https://www.artstation.com/artwork/oO2r0q

It's Grease Pencil. Looks like they convert the Grease Pencil to mesh at the end of the clip as well. Grease Pencil is 2d painting in 3d.

Looks like the Grease Pencil feature that is mentioned on the page if you scroll down a bit.

Talk about amazing, free software! Thanks to everyone that worked so hard on this!

Such helpful Blender communities on YouTube sharing tutorials that can help you achieve any effect, build any model, rig any character, motion track and composite any video!

This new release of Blender sounds awesome! How can I learn Blender effectively?

I've tried in the past but got frustrated quickly with the low quality or with how out of date the videos were. I don't mind paying for quality.

I'd recommend video tutorials on YouTube. There's many great ones already: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blender+2.8+tut... And use forums if you get stuck. https://blenderartists.org/ Help others to learn faster.

You’ll probably have to wait before resources are available for the new UI

People have been making 2.8 tutorials for months. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blender+2.8+tut...

The first thing I'm going to check is how to close a "window" if they haven't put a simple X in the top right, I'll be disappointed.

It still has the powerful tiling window system. There's no overlapping windows so you don't close windows, you combine and subdivide windows to make the tool layout you want.

But now there's Tabs for different default window setups: Layout, modeling, Sculpting, UV Editing... So you shouldn't have to change the setups much, they're already designed for the task. You can can still customize/ create your own. That feature was already there as a drop down but now it's more accessible and you can add more default layouts.

My first forays into Blender involved accidentally creating some new UI windows, closing others and being unable to fix either without resetting the whole of my preferences.

That same system of panels is still in use, but they shrunk the hot corner for it significantly so it's much harder to accidentally activate.

That said: learning how it works is definitely worth the effort if you have a large screen. You can have as much or as little on the screen as you like.

Unfortunately, the existing YouTube tutorials will be outdated. Hopefully, the ui will be so perfect that it won't matter! (Am I dreaming?)

It bends over backwards to be discoverable for new users, but it's still a powerful 3d program with many features... an understanding of those concepts are needed to make any 3d tool to work. There's already a ton of 2.8 video tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blender+2.8+tut...

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