3. Compile Blender with CMake
Install CMake from your package manager.
Automatic CMake Setup
If you're not interested in manually setting up CMake build directory, configuring, building and installing in separate steps, we provide a convenience makefile in Blender's source directory which sets up CMake for you.
cd ~/blender-git/blender make
Once the build finishes you'll get a message like..
Blender successfully built, run from: /home/me/blender-git/build_linux/bin/blender
Updating your local checkout and rebuilding is as simple as:
cd ~/blender-git/blender make update make
There are some pre-defined build targets:
- make - some are turned off by default because they can be difficult to correctly configure for newer developers and aren't essential to use & develop Blender in most cases.
- make lite - the quickest way to get a Blender build up & running, can also help to avoid installing a lot of dependencies if you don't need video-codecs, physics-sim & cycles rendering.
- make full - this makes a complete build with all options enabled, matching the releases on blender.org.
For a full list of the optional targets type...
If you want to have more control over your build configuration or have multiple build directories for a single source directory. You can follow these steps.
Typically useful for developers, who built frequently.
Preparing CMake's directory
Now you have to choose a location for CMake build files, currently in-source builds in Blender aren't supported.
By doing an "out-of-source" build you create a CMake's directory aside from
~/blender-git/blender, for example
mkdir ~/blender-git/build cd ~/blender-git/build cmake ../blender
This will generate makefiles in the build directory (
As said above, in-source-builds where you build blender from the source code directory are not supported.
If CMake finds a
CMakeCache.txt in the source code directory, it uses that instead of using
If you have tried to do an in-source build, you should remove any CMakeCache.txt from the source code directory before actually running the out-of-source build:
Editing CMake Parameters
Note that CMake should detect correct parameters so you shouldn't need change defaults to simply to compile blender, this is only if you want to change defaults, make a debug build, disable features etc,
so you may want to skip this section for now and come back to it later if you want to make adjustments.
You can modify the build parameters in different ways:
~/blender-git/build/CMakeCache.txtfile in a text editor
- using cmake-gui if your distro supports it
- Opens a graphical interface where you can easily change parameters and re-configure things.
- using ccmake tool, with
- Opens a text interface where you can easily change parameters and re-configure things.
- cmake parameters can also be easily set on the command line, for eg.
cmake ../blender \ -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/blender \ -DWITH_INSTALL_PORTABLE=OFF \ -DWITH_BUILDINFO=OFF \ -DWITH_GAMEENGINE=OFF
- These commands are exactly those found in
~/blender-git/build/CMakeCache.txtso you can copy commands from there and use them in the command line without running ccmake.
After changes have been done and you have generated the makefiles, you can compile using the make command inside the build directory:
cd ~/blender-git/build make make install
Also notice the install target is used, this will copy scripts and documentation into ~/blender-git/build/bin
For future builds you can simply update the repository and re-run make.
cd ~/blender-git/blender git pull --rebase git submodule foreach git pull --rebase origin master cd ~/blender-git/build make make install
Both portable & system installations are supported.
Portable installation is default where scripts and data files will be copied into the build '~/blender-git/build/bin' directory and can be moved to other systems easily.
WITH_INSTALL_PORTABLE to install into
CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX which uses a typical Unix FHS layout: bin/, share/blender/, man/ etc.
If you want to share your build with others you may want to include libraries with Blender (statically linked libraries).
Listing needed shared libs
You can see all needed shared libraries by running:
objdump -x path/to/blender | grep "NEEDED"
Note: by default, Python is not static. To make it so, You'll have to edit
PYTHON_LYBRARY to something like
/usr/lib/libpython3.4m.a;/usr/lib/libexpat.a (exact paths depend on your OS).
Static Linking Each Library:
- Enable general static linking
- Set WITH_STATIC_LIBS to ON, so that CMake will try to make Blender link against static libs, when available. Though not perfect, this should reduce quite nicely needed shared libs.
- Set the FFMPEG_LIBRARIES var to full paths of all needed libs (xvid, x264, etc.).
- Set (or create) Boost_USE_STATIC_LIBS to true. If you are using boost automatically built by the install_deps.sh script, you should not need to do anything else.
- But if you are using your own distro's boost package, you most likely will have to set (or create) Boost_USE_ICU to true too (and install the relevant libicu development package), to get Blender linking.
TODO: other libs?
Now that you can build Blender and run Blender, there are changes you can make which greatly increase the speed of build times.
Use one of the CMake configuration editors (ccmake or cmake-gui), see Editing CMake Parameters
For really fast rebuilds you can disable Every option with the WITH_ prefix, except for WITH_PYTHON which is needed for the UI. This speeds up linking and gives a smaller binary.
Remove the files created by make install since they will become stale. However, Blender still needs to be able to find its scripts or you will have a very minimalist looking interface. This can be solved by linking the source directory to your Blender binary path so copying isn't needed and scripts are always up to date.
rm -r ~/blender-git/build/bin/*.* ln -s ~/blender-git/blender/release ~/blender-git/build/bin/
For convenient access, create this symlink to run blender from the source directory:
ln -s ~/blender-git/build/bin/blender ~/blender-git/blender/blender.bin
You can add any files created this way to ~/blender-git/blender/.git/info/exclude so they won't count as untracked files for git. Add your local files here, instead of in .gitignore, because .gitignore is also committed and will affect everyone else.