Blender 2.66 Release Notes
The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.66. This release contains long awaited features like rigid body physics simulation, dynamic topology sculpting and matcap display.
Other new features include Cycles hair rendering, support for high pixel density displays, much better handling of premultiplied and straight alpha transparency, a vertex bevel tool, a mesh cache modifier and a new SPH particle fluid dynamics solver.
Dynamic topology is a new sculpting mode that subdivides the mesh as needed, whereas regular sculpting only affects the shape of a mesh. This makes it possible to sculpt complex shapes out of a simple mesh, rather than just adding details onto a modeled base mesh.
The Bullet physics library has now been integrated into the editor and animation system, which makes rigid body simulations available also outside of the game engine. This results in a much simpler workflow and gives more control over the simulation.
Support for MacBook "Retina" Displays was added, proper DPI scaling in all editors, new high-res icons and transparent tool and property regions. User Preferences and Startup File have been split up, new ways to recover sessions were added and copy & paste of objects inside the 3D View is supported now.
Initial support for hair rendering was added, multiple importance sampling for lamps, preview rendering is available inside the properties editor, new closures and optimizations for OSL, non-progressive integrator was improved and support for packed, generated and movie textures was added.
The image pipeline has be refactored to handle transparency in images better and compatible to standards. There are two alpha types for images that are useful for different purposes, and we now try to automatically do the right conversions and operations.
The Bevel tool supports bevelling individual vertices in addition to edges now, with one or more segments.
The new Mesh Cache modifier can apply animation from external files onto a mesh, with support for the MDD and PC2 file formats. A new UV Warp modifier can rotate, scale and translate UV maps on a mesh using objects or bones. The Laplacian smooth modifier now supports shape enhancement, rather than smoothing this will exaggerate the shape of the mesh.
A new SPH particle fluid solver was added, designed for more physically accurate results.
The character physics type received a number of new options, profiling and debug information has been cleaned up, and simple shadow maps can now take clipped alpha transparency into account.
For python scripting two new features were added: library .blend files can now be load asynchronously to keep the game engine from freezing, and joystick events can now be handled from python without logic bricks.
Collada import and export was improved for animation: shape keys are now supported, and the armature modifier has been made more stable, respecting axis orientation and scene scaling.
New features include vertex color baking, more efficient ambient occlusion baking for multires meshes, edge based UV stitching, more control over mapping texture brushes for texture painting, gradient tools for weight painting, and a translate node for the compositor.
Added MilkShape 3D format support and EDL Video Import.
In addition to the new features, over 250 bugs that existed in previous releases have been fixed.