Blender 3.5 gets vector displacement, Hair in Geometry nodes, more

Blender 3.5 just released, and it has a bunch of new and exciting features that are meant to help you speed up your workflow and achieve a greater vision for your art. With each iteration, Blender continues to gain popularity and becomes increasingly viable for game development pipelines. In fact, it’s fully aligned with the VFX Reference Platform 2023, making it industry ready for studios and indies alike!

Blender gets you out of hairy situations

Among Blender’s primary new features are Hair in Geometry Nodes, Vector Displacement, and Viewport Compositing. Hair in Geometry Nodes is a convenient tool that allows you to create hair with ease right from the visual node editor. While it’s not intended to replace bezier curves for hair modeling (unless you want it to), many users will likely prefer it once they get try it out. With presets such as curls, braids, hair frizz, roughness, smooth, roll, and loads of others, this is sure to enhance the hair modeling workflow.

Not quite Zbrush subtools, but still cool

Vector Displacement, which is something Zbrush has, and is now available in Blender 3.5. It allows you to create sculpting brushes similar to height maps, but with additional depth data. Artists can drag vector displacement maps or presets over their mesh to add complex geometry to their models automatigically. This opens up new possibilities for artists who want to create intricate models with ease and speed. While these may make you think of Zbrush subtools, they are not the same. Instead, VDMs are more like brush alphas.

Blender 3.5 also includes many other updates, such as Grease Pencil improvements, motion tracking resolution alterations on the fly, and the ability to copy and paste UVs between groups of faces with the same topology for channels, meshes, and even .blend files. These additional updates make it a significant release that will benefit artists in many ways.

Blender is getting really good

With a range of tools and features that make it accessible for both seasoned professionals and beginners, the open source 3D modeling and sculpting software offers a powerful platform for 3D art creation. If you’ve never tried Blender before today, this is literally the best time to hop in on it and maybe save yourself thousands of dollars in software licensing costs. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but it’s not that bad once you get in the swing of things. Let me know in the comments if you’re going to implement any of the new changes into your workflow. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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