Blender 2.80 Release Notes
Blender 2.80 has a revamped user interface, to make it easier to discover and use its many features.
The interface has a redesigned look with a new dark theme and modern icon set, to put the focus on the artwork that you create. Keyboard, mouse and tablet interaction got a refresh with left click select as the new default. Quick Favorites menus provide quick access to often used tools. The layout of the properties editor and preferences has been updated.
Templates and workspaces let you quickly get started with tasks like sculpting, texture painting or motion tracking. They can be customized to create your own efficient working environment.
The 3D viewport and UV editor have new interactive tools and gizmos, along with a new toolbar. These make it easier to for new users to start using Blender, and for existing users to discover and use tools that previously required obscure key combinations.
Besides gizmos for tools, various elements like lights, camera, and the compositing backdrop image now have handles to adjust their shape or other attributes.
Eevee is a new physically based real-time renderer. It works both as a renderer for final frames, and as the engine driving Blender’s realtime viewport for creating assets.
It has advanced features such as volumetrics, screen-space reflections and refractions, subsurface scattering, soft and contact shadows, depth of field, camera motion blur and bloom.
Eevee materials are created using the same shader nodes as Cycles, making it easy to render existing scenes. For Cycles users, this makes Eevee work great as a realtime preview. For game artists, the Principled BSDF is compatible with shading models used in many game engines.
There is a new, modern 3D viewport to visualize your scene in flexible ways.
A new Workbench render engine was designed for getting work done in the viewport, for tasks like scene layout, modeling and sculpting. Eevee powers the viewport for interactive modeling and painting with PBR materials.
Overlays provide fine control over which utilities are visible on top of the render. These also work on top of Eevee and Cycles render previews, so you can edit and paint the scene with full shading.
Grease pencil is now a full 2D drawing and animation system.
Grease pencil objects are a native part of Blender, integrating with existing object selection, editing, management, and linking tools. Strokes can be organized into layers, and shaded with materials and textures. Besides a draw mode for strokes, these objects can also be edited, sculpted and weight painted similar to meshes.
Modifiers can be used to deform, generate and color strokes. Often used mesh modifiers like array, subdivide and armature deform have equivalents for strokes. Rendering effects like blur, shadows or rim lighting are also available.
Rendering physically based hair and fur is now easy with the Principled Hair BSDF. The Principled Volume shader makes it easier to set up volume materials like smoke and fire. Random Walk subsurface scattering provides more accurate results for thin and curved objects.
A bevel shader was added for rendering rounded corners. The Ambient Occlusion shader can now be used for procedural texturing.
Cryptomatte is a standard to efficiently create mattes for compositing. Cycles outputs the required render passes, which can then be used in the Blender compositor or another compositor with Cryptomatte support to create masks for specified objects.
Vector Displacement is now supported, along with a new Displacement node for easier control. New offscreen dicing scale helps to significantly reduce memory usage for adaptive subdivision.
Many rendering optimizations were done including combined CPU and GPU rendering, much improved OpenCL start and render time, and CUDA support for scenes that don't fit in GPU memory.
Layers and groups have been replaced by collections. These are used for organizing objects in a scene, instancing groups of objects, and linking groups of objects across .blend files.
The outliner provides an overview of the collections and objects in a scene, with easy organization using drag & drop. The 3D viewport also has fast operations for moving objects between collections.
More fine-grained control over 3D viewport visibility was added, with a distinction between temporary and permanent hiding, as well as hiding by object type.
Multiple meshes can now be edited together in edit mode, including UV mapping. Armature editing and posing also supports multiple objects, to easily animate multiple characters.
Custom normal editing was revamped, with more powerful tools and modifiers. Bevel now supports normal hardening and miter patterns.
Subdivision surfaces now use OpenSubdiv, for more powerful creasing and compatibility with other software.
Many new constraint, modifier and bendy bone features were added for rigging.
New keyframe visualization and editing tools were added. The NLA editor has new blending modes and better keyframing to support more complex rigs.
Driver editing can now be done in place with a convenient driver editing popover.
The Khronos glTF 2.0 importer and exporter is now bundled with Blender. This file format is designed for efficient loading of 3D scenes, often used for game engines and 3D content on the web.
COLLADA and Alembic support were improved.
Video import and export now supports metadata and the WebM file format.
The core modifier and animation evaluation system was rewritten, to improve performance and pave the way for new features.
On modern multicore CPUs, scenes with many objects or complex rigs can run up to an order of magnitude faster.
The unit system was improved with more control over the display and editing unit, and different quantities.
Cloth physics now has more reliable and stable collision, a more realistic cloth spring model, and finer control over forces.
Background images are replaced by image objects that can be organized and transformed as part of the scene.
The video sequencer cache system was rewritten for better performance and control.
Blender Internal was removed, replaced by Eevee and Cycles renderers.
The Blender Game Engine was removed as well, we recommend more powerful alternatives like Godot Engine.
Blender 2.80 is an API breaking release. Addons and scripts will need to be updated, both to handle the new features and adapt to changes to make the API more consistent and reliable.
Most add-ons for 2.79 are available for 2.80 as well. A few new ones were added, and a few were removed.