The Blender Foundation, the developer of Blender, an integrated 3D creation software suite, has announced that its software has reached version 2.70a.The Blender Foundation has revealed the first maintenance update for Blender 2.70, although there are so many fixes and improvements that it’s hard to call it just that. The developers of Blender have been rather busy and they managed to integrate a huge number of changes and improvements in just a few weeks.
“New features include initial support for volumetrics in Cycles, and faster rendering of hair and textures. The motion tracker now supports weighted tracks and has improved planar tracking. For mesh modeling there are new Laplacian deform and wireframe modifiers, along with more control in the bevel tool. The game engine now supports object levels of detail.”
“The first results from the new user interface project are also in this release, with dozens of changes to make the interface more consistent and powerful. This is also the first release of the multithreaded dependency graph, which makes modifier and constraint evaluation faster in scenes with multiple objects.”
The developers from the Blender Foundation didn't stop there and they made a number of other changes as well. For example, cycles now has initial support for volume rendering including emission, absorption, and scattering, volume rendering can be used to render effects like fire, smoke, mist, and more, and the CPU rendering performance has been improved, particularly for hair, textures, and Open Shading Language.
Also, the Motion Tracker has been upgraded, the plane track workflow has been improved to be easier to control, the automatic feature detection is now also a lot better, the toolbar now has tabs to organize tools in categories, users can now edit multiple buttons at once, the Laplacian Deform modifier has been added to pose a mesh, the bevel tool now offers more control, the Blender game engine now supports discrete level of detail for meshes, support for working with Photoshop PSD files has been implemented, and more.
Unfortunately for the Linux users, the Blender developers don’t provide binaries or any other easier method of installing this complex application, like a PPA for example. This means that you will either compile the application yourself or wait until this version hits the official repositories of the distribution you are using.
A complete list of changes and updates can be found in the official changelog. You can download Blender 2.70a right now from Softpedia.