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March 27, 2024

Blender 4.1 Officially Launched: Discover the New Quality-of-Life and Performance Enhancements

The Blender Foundation released today Blender 4.1 as a new update to its powerful, free, open-source, and cross-platform 3D graphics computer software for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows systems.

Arriving more than four months after Blender 4.0, the Blender 4.1 release is here to introduce quality-of-life improvements and performance enhancements all across the board to make Blender more useful and reliable, especially for modelers or animators.

Highlights of Blender 4.1 include a new file handler API that lets devs extend traditional file “import” operators with drag-and-drop behavior throughout the Blender UI, adding support for the Alembic, Collada, Grease Pencil SVG, OBJ, OpenUSD, PLY, and STL file formats within the 3D Viewport and Outliner areas.

Also new is GPU-accelerated hardware support for OpenImageDenoise when using GPU rendering in the 3D viewport, supporting NVIDIA GTX 16xx, NVIDIA TITAN V, and all NVIDIA RTX GPUs, Intel GPUs with Xe-HPG architecture or newer, as well as Apple Silicon. For now, AMD GPUs are not supported due to stability issues.

Blender 4.1 introduces a new Soft Falloff feature for Point and Spot lights, allowing them to render similarly to Blender 3.6 LTS and prior versions. The light texture radius serves as a blurring element for the projected texture when the new Soft Falloff option is enabled, and it becomes directly apparent on the spherical light source when the Soft Falloff option is deactivated.

In this version, Bone Collections are displayed hierarchically, appearing in a tree structure rather than a flat list, and you can rearrange them via drag-and-drop. Furthermore, double-clicking an item or collection icon in the outliner now selects all its children, a feature highly anticipated by users.

The release of Blender 4.1 also includes a new “Bake Channels” operator in the Graph Editor, enabling users to specify a baking range, set the gap between baked keys, eliminate keys outside of the baked range, select an interpolation type for new keyframes, and convert modifiers into keyframes.

It also adds an option to create motion paths relative to the active camera, improves the speed of Dope Sheet by only calculating keyframes that are visible in the current view, and adds a new option in the Graph Editor to automatically lock key movement to either the X or Y axis.

Support for the Cryptomatte, Defocus, Keying Screen, and Vector Blur nodes was added to the Viewport Compositor, and the Keying Screen node has been updated to use a Gaussian Radial Basis Function Interpolation to produce smoother temporally stable keying screens.

Blender 4.1 improves the Viewport Compositor to cache multi-pass images, improves the Sun Beams node to produce smoother results, updates the Inpaint node to use Euclidean distance instead of Manhattan distance, and improves Linux CPU rendering performance by about 5% across benchmarks.

Among other noteworthy changes, this release replaces the Split Viewer node with the Split node, a new option lets users disable bump map correction, AMD GPU rendering support was added for RDNA3 generation APUs, and the mesh “Auto Smooth” option has been replaced by a modifier node group asset.

Furthermore, the new curve type supports new operators, a new render “simplify” setting adds the ability to turn off the calculation of face corner and custom normals in the viewport, the Musgrave Texture node was replaced by the Noise Texture node, and Python has been upgraded to Python 3.11, matching the VFX platform 2024.

For sculpting, Blender 4.1 adds brush settings for view and normal automasking values, adds a brush setting for input samples, and adds a scene setting for the automasking propagation step value. Also, the video Sequencer received many performance optimizations across the board, audio waveforms are now displayed by default, and the Sequencer Scopes got visual look improvements.

For more details about the new features, fixes, improvements, and other changes included in this release, check out the release notes. Meanwhile, you can download Blender 4.1 right now from the official website.

Last updated 4 hours ago

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