Blender Foundation has released the latest version of its open-sourced modeling and animation software, Blender 3.4, with a bunch of new features included. Highlights including the support path guiding for quicker render in Cycles render engine, new auto-masking option provides a faster way of painting and sculpting with Cavity, new geometry-based UV relax tool, new Geometry Nodes and more. Scroll down to check out what's new in Blender 3.4 with XRender!
| Path Guiding and Cycles Rendering
Path guiding was integrated into Cycles render engine to reduce noise and improve sampling quality of light paths in complex scenes with the support of Intel's Open Path Guiding Library (Open PGL).
With path guiding enabled, Cycles analyses the light distribution in a scene and uses that information to 'guide' the light paths that make the most significant contributions to a render. The current implementation supports guiding on surfaces with diffuse BSDFs components as well as inside volumes. The feature is now supports CPU rendering only, which you may enable from Render Properties – Sampling – Path Guiding.
In addition, the Cycles render engine also get improvements such as adding support for AMD Radeon RX 7000 series graphics cards GPU rendering, enable Intel GPUs in Apple Metal starting with macOS 13, upgrade Intel OneAPI & Open Shading Language, and more. For more details of new features for Cycles render engine, you may click here to check out.
| Auto Masking In Sculpt Mode
The Auto-Masking option in Sculpt Mode has been improved to create a cavity mask for parts of the surface of a model for painting and sculpting as a quick alternative to frequent manual masking.
All auto-masking modes can be combined for more specific mask effect and the Auto-Masking feature can be accessed from Header or via the shortcut Alt + A. According to the release note, all the properties are applied across all sculpt brushes and can also "be configured per brush in the Advanced Brush Settings".
| UV Tools Updates: Geometry-Based Relax Brush & More
Blender's UV tools also gets new features as well as performance improvements. The biggest change should be the new geometry-based relax brush that "improves the quality of the UV mapping by making the UVs more closely follow the 3D geometry".
In addition, UV scult tools also get improvements like respect pinned vertices, work with constrain to bounds, ignore winding, preventing orphaned islands, new operators Randomize Islands & UV Align Rotation and more. You may check all the new features in UV tools here.
| What’s More
Blender 3.4 is available for Windows 8.1+, macOS 10.13+ and Linux. You may check Blender Foundation's overview of the new features in Blender 3.4 here or learn more details about the update from the release note here. All version are free to download, you may get the latest version here or play around with the splash artwork shared by Blender Studio.