Intro to New Blender Features

    The release of Blender 2.61 is a pretty big milestone with some really impressive new features that will likely draw in a torrent of new users. The feature that long time blender users are most appreciative for would have to be the new Cycles render engine. The feature that will most likely draw new users would have to be the motion tracking, which let's users put 3d objects in movies.

Cycles Render Engine
     Before Blender 2.61 when rendering a 3d scene that was indoors or most scenes for that matter, the render lacked certain light elements that left the scene looking blan and not real. With the Cycles render engine the lighting is handled completely differently and it shows as the renders are allot more realistic. Another feature of cycles is that it features OpenCL and will use graphics cards for rendering where possible.

In this tutorial from Andrew Price of Blender Guru you will discover:

  • The difference between the internal renderer and Cycles
  • Some of the cool features of Cycles
  • How to create your very first Cycles render
  • Using lights, materials, textures and bump mapping
  • How he made the donut scene

Motion Tracking
    Blender as a video editor is a pretty powerful tool, and with the new motion tracking features things just got serious. Mixing people into 3d scenes had been doable for a long while now, but with motion tracking we can now put 3d objects into movies.

A small 10 second example

A quick run through of setting up motion tracking. In this video the ground has already been mapped and the object is getting mapped.

    The other new features for blender 2.61 include ocean simulation, dynamic paint, camera sensor size and presets, 3D mouse color wheel editing, and more translations to other languages. New Addons in this release are an Adobe After Effects exporter, an Acclaim and C3D motion capture importers. Not to mention the 108 bug fixes and improved methods for new developers to make addons.

Blender is a free and Open Source Software get it at
Release notes for Blender 2.61
Demo files to that open in Blender's to try the new features