Blender 2.8 Highlights

Introduction

The Blender 2.8 project has gone a long way since its start. With the upcoming Code Quest bringing the first Beta release even closer, it’s a good time to reveal some of the most remarkable highlights of Blender 2.8 so far.

EEVEE

The render engine EEVEE took the world by storm with its good looking, modern, real-time rendering capabilities. At this point, EEVEE can already do final renders, compositing, sequencer, you name it.

You may want to work purely with EEVEE or side-by-side with Cycles. Either way you will witness firsthand the convergence of ray-tracing and real-time technologies.

Multi-Object Editing *

Workspaces made a debut early in the Blender 2.8 process. And now that ‘mode’ is part of the workspace (no longer tied to the object), we started on the long-awaited multi-object editing project.

This quick demo by Campbell Barton shows a very early version of it. So far only limited mesh editing and UV support is possible, yet multi-character pose implementation is also planned.

Grease Pencil *

What started as an annotation tool for shot corrections soon evolved to be a powerful use of Blender on its own. The Grease Pencil project is back for a full swing with a complete 2D animation pipeline combined with all the wonders of 3D.

This trailer shows a preview of Hero – an upcoming open movie completely made with Blender 2.8 and Grease Pencil. Hero is using Grease Pencil integrated with EEVEE, while helping define the required tools for 2D animations in Blender.

Collections

A big revamp was done for scene management in Blender 2.8. The outdated Layers system was replaced with Collections and View Layers, addressing some requirements for the scene organization pipeline.

Collections can be named, nested, linked, have dynamic overrides, and be managed entirely in the Outliner. Speaking of which, the outliner now supports filtering as well as extended drag and drop.

Draw Manager

Blender’s Viewport changed. A lot. It now has a complete draw manager system that allows compositing of different engines in real-time. Each mode (e.g. object, edit, pose) is now treated as its own engine, and can be combined with others.

As you can see in this video, lamps and widgets can now be displayed in front of the Cycles preview. The new draw manager also allows Grease Pencil to mix its hand-drawn objects on whichever render engine you are using. It doesn’t matter if it is EEVEE or Cycles.

OpenGL

Most of these changes are possible thanks to some long-overdue technical refactors done deep in the Blender code. One thing in particular that had to change was the minimum OpenGL version supported by Blender, which was upgraded to OpenGL 3.3.

At first that meant black screens, glitchy drawings and slow user interface rendering. More recently we started to see multi-window come back, offline OpenGL rendering and of course, all sort of fancy real-time rendering options thanks to this upgrade. Not to mention that Blender is now much more future-proof.

The Future

This article is only scratching the surface. Blender 2.8 also brings static and dynamic overrides, application templates, interface improvements, a brand new dependency graph, better asset management and much more.

Code Quest

The upcoming Code Quest will polish those projects and deliver a cohesive workflow to integrate all of them. The official Code Quest to-do list and initial planning will be shared in the week of April 9th. Stay tuned to this blog, or follow the official Blender Development channels on Twitter and YouTube.

* These projects are being developed in branches, all the rest you can play with by downloading the Blender 2.8 daily builds.
Post artwork by Daniel Bystedt

33 comments 53,965 Views
  1. Cool. Is the outliner done for now or are there more improvements coming? Like to be able to reorder objects non alphabetically in whatever order we desire maybe? 😉

  2. Still hanging out for the new kaymap and and leftclick select options like the rselect script….

  3. Eagerly waiting for character animation

  4. Still waiting the day beta works on Mac….

  5. Looking exciting! Any idea when native GLTF 2.0 support is being added? Using the exporter addon is very cumbersome.

  6. Will collection switching and objected moving still be somehow controlled by the number keys as currently is. I’m really looking forward to collection, so much power and control will be added, but it would be a shame to have the current switching and objected movement features gone as it makes such great speed up to productivity compared to other 3D packages (Maya) where layer linking and toggling is all mouse based, and blender loves a good hotkey.

  7. This is already being thrown out on Phoronix, but I’ll ask to see how far off I was in response by saying no sooner than the year 2020.

    If Blender is going for future proof then Vulkan will ultimately be the successor, sooner rather than later, to OpenGL.

    What is the target for this? 2.9? 3.0?

    • To give you an idea of a timeframe, Blender has been planning the move to OpenGL 3.3 for the last few years, starting the work before Vulkan was announced. And one of the stated goals of the project is to work on mobile devices such as Android. So Vulkan isn’t a priorty for the project, at least for the current developers, that I have seen.

      Now, that said, the work done here will make it much easier to do a Vulkan port, thanks to the more modern design of the engine. So it could be done by a lone hacker that wanted an interesting project. It should wait a few releases for the 2.8+ branch to be stable first.

  8. One thing I have not heard any updates on is Render Layers. Are there any updates to how Render Layers work with the new layer management system?

  9. Good job.
    still waiting for the particle info node to work correctly.
    i would love to try the particle stuff

  10. I am very happy that the multi-object editing is in development! It is a very useful feature and sometimes indispensable.

  11. These are some very exciting highlights, that EEVEE rendering engine surely looks amazing!

  12. Really looking forward to this. When you say that EEVEE can handle compositing, I am assuming that you do not mean node based compositing . That will come later correct?

    • Basic Node Based compositing is already there for f12 renders, what’s missing for now is viewport “real timish” compositing

      • Got it. I have heard that APIs such as OFX (for real-time compositing nodes) have never been compatible with Blender before, but I wonder if it could work now.

  13. I know I’m being impatient for asking this and I’m sure others have asked about this as well but I find information regarding improvements to sculpting to be sparse. No interviews or posts seem to indicate that there will be any heavy focus on sculpting for the time being or in future projects even though many blender users who are seriously into character design is resorting to using Zbrush.
    One core feature that makes Zbrush more appealing is their use of layers in order to sculpt fine details without destorying the base sculpt. Otherwise sculpting wrinkles and pores on a face is incredibly tedious. Also Zbrush’s ability to move around limbs while sculpting as if it was rigged seems like a valuable tool as well.

    I assume implementing such a feature is no easy task but I would just like to know if there is someone out there that is involved in heavy development that’s at least considered this improvment.

  14. under the seens, “collections” I do not see the eye to click on showing that objects are active. will that be added, as in previous versions?

  15. This came out on my B-Day!

  16. Excellent… it is more Blender 3 than 2.8 😉 Thank you!

  17. Possibly dumb question: I would like to try EEVEE rendering but when I start the copy of Blender 2.8 from 2018-04-28 18:50 I notice that:

    (1) There is apparently no way to select the EEVEE renderer or any other renderer; I only see the Blender Icon, “File” “Render” “Window” “Help” “General”, and then, flush right within the window are the scene and Render Layer drop downs and nothing else — none of the usual version ID and status information.
    (2) That makes me ask: Are EEVEE options just not available for Macs yet?
    (3) Also, but less important, I found that just exploring the 2.8 interface for a few seconds can easily crash the application so all I want to do is see if I can do final renders from 2.79b quickly in batch mode. The 2.8 interface, while nicer-looking than 2.79, is clearly not ready for any sustained use. Big disappointment.
    (4) I have been using 2.79b for a while wth great stability.

    I am running the following:

    Model Name: iMac
    MacOS: 10.12.6
    Model Identifier: iMac12,2
    Processor Name: Intel Core i7
    Processor Speed: 3.4 GHz
    Number of Processors: 1
    Total Number of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
    L3 Cache: 8 MB
    Memory: 24 GB
    Boot ROM Version: IM121.004E.B00
    SMC Version (system): 1.72f1

    Can you suggest any way I can check out EEVEE rendering on my iMac?

    Thanks.

  18. What will be the expected size of setup / package of upcoming blender 2.8 ?
    Only that is the size what matters. 2.79 and other older verson setups are less than 100mb, by seeing this users think that this is a lol software. And compared to others like maya/3ds which has >1GB setup size.
    Whatever- till today blender is my favourate and best 3-D suite. and I SUPPORT IT. Blender can easily beat Maya; that i believe.
    BLENDER IS THE BEST

    Do you agree friends??

  19. Blender never disappoints.

  20. Guys what about the old blender render system?

    It is very easy for me to export to iclone using blender default renderer texture and materials.

    While I am still not able to export properly to iclone with cycles node system without baking all the maps
    which takes extra steps and time.

    Can you guys not keep the default render and texturing system intact? and give us the option to select among all the engines like Evee, cycles, default blender etc?

  21. Please don’t leave out UDIM support in this release.

  22. Hey blender would become much better if it had a game engine with cycles rendering.I never use BGE because of Internal rendering in it.So pls add an engine with cycles rendering so that we can make a game and model in blender.

  23. not working iput presets. Maya style not workin.

  24. The layered texture paint from Blender Internal will be in 2.8, on eevee since Blender Internal is removed?

  25. VSE still sucks performance wise and there is no plan to improve it

  26. Hi. I wander if in Blender 2.8 one would be able to increase fps in the video editor, for example from 30 to 60 frames per seconds

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