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Blender 2.74: Modeling

Modelling improvements include: A new Custom Normals system to make normals editable, new ways to transfer mesh data between meshes, several improvements for the transform tools like a new Inverse-Square Blending mode for Proportional Editing, improvements for other tools such as a tool to ensure convex geometry, a new "Connect Vertex Path" tool, ...

Modifiers

Custom Normals

The new Normal Edit modifier

Meshes now support custom normals, i.e. normals differing from automatically computed ones. Main current features are Py accessors to allow importing of custom normals (use by FBX importer so far), ability to transfer normals in DataTransfer tools (see below), and a modifier to do some basic normal editing ('Radial' normals for low-poly trees, and 'Directional' ones to make them point towards a given target).

More on the the manual page

Examples of using custom normals to import CAD-generated geometry and get correct shading - on top, pre-2.74 result, on bottom, 2.74 import with custom normals.

A cap in 3DView.
A rendered model (source: Fateh Merrad).


Examples of edit custom normals to point towards a give direction - shading trick often used in games to enhance trees and other vegetation at a cheap cost.

Left tree uses auto-computed default normals, right one uses NormalEdit modifier to bend them towards the camera.
Same scene rendered with Cycles, note how advanced light handling in raytracer gives fewer interest to that kind of hacks.

The .blend file of this example, credits to zeauro (Ronan Ducluzeau).

Mesh Data Transfer

Transferring normals between objects.

New operator and modifier to transfer data layers from one mesh to another, using various mapping methods. UVs, VCols and VGroups are supported, not yet shape keys.

See also the manual page

Notes:

  • Weight transfer button/menu entry in WeightPaint mode now uses that generic modifier, old vgroup-specific one has been removed. All things possible with old modifier should remain possible with new one, though.

Here is an example of using data transfer to edit custom normals (with the .blend file File:Data Transfer Normal Torus.blend), credits to zeauro (Ronan Ducluzeau).

Modifier Improvements

  • Hook modifier now has multiple falloff options, as well as custom curve falloff.
    There is also an option to compensate for non-uniform scale to better support hooks & lattices (which are often using non-uniform scale) (c69458985cdb0c)

Tools

Transform

Other Tools

  • 'Fit camera view' has been enhanced, it now also works with orthographic cameras (780bb88a7a5b30)
  • 'Split Concave Faces' tool has been added so you can make sure all your Quads/NGons are convex.
    Access from 'Mesh -> Cleanup' menu (64124ba904dc).
  • 'Connect Vertex Path' tool has been added, to connect vertices in the order they're selected, running a second time closes the loop (b1dbda143da3)
  • 'Vertex Connect' (Jkey) can connect multiple selected points (b1dbda143da35)
  • 'Vertex Connect' (Jkey) can connect vertices by edges (as well as splitting faces) (b1dbda143da)
  • Select similar faces in Edit mode has a new option, select by Flat/Smooth shading (c79c48cc93b5)