Blender Release Cycle Update

During the development of Blender 2.8, the release cycle was formalized into a 4-releases per year schedule, with one of the releases offering long-term support (Blender LTS).

While having many releases in a year allows for quick iteration and progressive improvements, based on the experience from developers and users following this schedule over the past years, we propose to reduce the number of releases to 3 per year (one of them being LTS).

Each release comes with overhead such as documentation (manual, API), release notes (web and video), coordinating the actual builds and tests, overlapping development phases (Bcon3/Bcon1). Having one fewer release — and potential corrective releases — each year will reduce this overhead, while new features and improvements won’t have to wait too long to make it into a release.

New Release Schedule

The proposed schedule extends the Bcon1 (new features/big changes) and Bcon2 (improve and stabilize) phases, and better aligns with annual events (e.g. SIGGRAPH, Blender Conference) and holiday periods.

Blender Release Schedule 2023-2024
Blender Release Schedule 2023-2024

In order to get into the new release schedule, 2023 will be used as a transition period:

  • Blender 3.5 continues unchanged, release expected at the end of March.
  • Blender 3.6 follows the old schedule, becomes LTS. To be released in July, with support until July 2025.
  • Blender 3.7 is skipped.
  • Blender 4.0 follows the new schedule, and adds two extra weeks of Bcon1 to allow for bigger changes, expected to be released in late November.

The goal is to have:

  • A new LTS release every year, supported for two years (just as it is currently, but released around the same time of the year).
  • A major version and breaking release every 2 years (3.0, 4.0, 5.0…).

We hope this new schedule will give developers more time to code, users more time to test, and ease the maintenance of tools by studio TDs and add-on developers.

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  1. Please make a circular array option for the ‘Array’ modifier like ‘Cinema 4D’ has.

    Example: (9 years ago this was available !)

    It would be very helpful not to have to use the ‘Empty’ object method…

    Thanks !

  2. Edge groups please. We are waiting for that for at least 4+ years (see Right Click Select). So we can use multiple level of bevel modifier on different edge groups, with different properties. Please!!! Modelers needs some love too! No One cares about us.. :(

  3. Getting the viewport to perform better should be the major priority in the next builds.

    – M

    • I wonder if your requirements are different than some. I find the viewport to be more responsive than any other program I’ve used. I do a lot of ArchViz with millions of polys, trees, buildings, plants etc. I will disable collections sometimes, but many times I don’t, because Blender can just HANDLE it.

  4. Shall we expect any updates to Mantflow or the physics system?

    • No update to Mantaflow is planned, however there is ongoing work in the Geometry nodes simulation branch which eventually involve fluid solvers.

    • questions me is there other physics that come from Nils search group thats maybe flow 2.0 phi flow 2.0….are feature of Manta flow involved that goes beyond 0.13 Version now…

  5. Can you make a plug-in tag management for 4,0, external plug-ins are not a word

  6. By Blender 4.0 Right Click Select should move to , when it’s independent then unfortunately it’s full of spam and makes no sense. is thankfully not full of spam and there is no need for anyone to be able to see exactly who liked a content or comment.

  7. This is by far the best decision, as it gives us artists to play (throughly) with the new features and publish something valuable rather than jumping to the next best release and the next best tools that the awesome developers release at Blender HQ and community…

  8. This is great but please please more focus on VFX and compositing. Stuff like the deep pass or proper reflection blocking passes. There are just a few things really holding blender back from becoming an industry standard candidate.

  9. brecht wrote:

    “For 3.0 we had breaking changes with Cycles X and geometry nodes fields. For 4.0 there are no decisions made, but Eevee Next and removal of old particles seem like logical breaking changes for that release, which we don’t want to postpone too long.”

    When replaced, will there still be some kind of “Particle properties” menue in the Properties editor with editable values (e.G. Number, Seed, Velocity, Rotation, Physics, Render etc.)?

    Don’t get me wrong: Geometry nodes are great and give way more detailed control over the distribution of particel. But to be honest they are hard to learn (at least for me) and the sliders and values of the current “Particle properties” are faster for editing. Especially for newcomers the entry for blender would be more complicated. I would find it ideal if the “Particle properties”-menue would still be there and underneath of it some pre-defined geometry nodes are generated. And if the user touches these nodes then – alike when using “particle edit” – some sliders/ input fields are no longer editable.

    And another question: Will blender be able to transform old particle systems into the new Geometry node system?

    Thanks and have a great day!

    • I’m pretty sure there will be a particle addon, asset or preset to get so you can the same editing experience like with the old system.

    • Please do not abandon the current particle system. I may have 50 particle systems distributing plants, trees etc. I do not want to have to sift through node string after node string to manage these partical systems. That would be a nightmare for me.

      • I guess what am saying is, I hope particles will work similar to materials. Where you have the nodes but you can also build them in the side panel, similar to what we have now. The particle properties panle is so good for seeing all of the particle systems that an object has. It is easy for me to read and make changes.

  10. C’est géniale j’espère que on aura de bonne fonctionnalités mais en ce qui concerne les mises je pense comme si vous êtes entré de perdre la motivation qu’à l’époque de la version de 2.8. exemple avec la version 3.5 il ya que des améliorations pas grand choses, des nouvelles fonctionnalités qui sont inutilisables pour la des gens mais bref en tous cas j’attends la version 3.4 avec impatience

    • 2.8 was in development for years and marked a major milestone. in 3.5 we have changes to animation, poselibary, sculpting, an much more. but most important: performance improvemtns and fixes. Tex dont loose motivation, they do even more and for 4.0 many big features are in development already

  11. Now , that Blender Is fully loaded Start working a open sources window system for blender window user
    that will allow to run legacy blender classic which are still usable. Since 2018 I voice to the foundation and no fees back. They have been warn less red tape with Microsoft developers. Blender needs to have its own open sources widow environment.

  12. I’m really glad to see that the team is able to make such a mature, crucial decision.
    I hope it will give you more time to work in a better pace and to relax and enjoy it (and the rest !) more :)

  13. Great! Hoping more features that are tested make earlier into the master branch with less overhead and releaser per year. But, why skip to 4.0 instead of 3.8? We went from 2.4 to 2.8 in 20 years and now from 2.8 to 3.5 in a few years time. The system now seem to work fine 3.0, 3.1, etc. Unless of course 4.0 is a major release with massive updates of sort. Then it would make sense – like 2.8 should have been 3.0

  14. So glad to read so!
    I truly hope this will give developers the chance to work on basic features on top of the extraordinarily ones they’ve been gifting us.
    For example, a better working depth/mist pass, a true overscan to be used with EXRs, a deep pass would be lovely too… I understand these features wouldn’t really be appreciated by single users and artists, but those would mean a lot to studios and everyone collaborating with other professionals.
    Keep up with the amazing work guys!!!

  15. I hope that Blender 4.0 will be Blender, made by you. dedicated to the authors of the right click select ideas that were voted on (their realization).

    • Totally agree

    • Yep.
      Like the group container based hierarchy that is required for over 5 years now. Blender still has to do parenting over empties trick to reproduce something that is a foundation feature in all files formats/other software.
      Thanks for the geo nodes, they are amazing, but PLEASE fix the lacks from the base foundations FIRST: Have a object structure that is viable.

  16. Ah, I hope in 4.0 UV editor will be noticed finally. Blender can do so many stunning things already but almost unusable for game development due to the lack of UV unwrapping control: partial unwrap with preserving pinned vertices, proved to be useless “Sync Selection” or it would be correct to say useless unsync selection. The algorithm of unwrapping could also be improved. In terms of characters Blender gives you extremely stretched convexes (nose, tits, chin in stylised characters) and always compresses forehead for no reason. And there’s almost no instruments given to fix it properly.

    • I guess it could be better but I have no problem making characters for game engines with correct UVs, so “almost unusable” is a bit of a stretch.

      • Yeah when people make such harsh pronouncements like this it always comes off as a lil dramatic lol

    • Blender is simply never going to be enough in every sitatuion and you shouldn’t expect it to be.

      I would look at Rizom. Its amazing for UVs and there’s a bridge addon that connects it to Blender.

  17. This looks good!

    The Release Notes for Blender 3.5 state that it will be compatible with the VFX platform again. This is a very welcome news! Can we expect all new releases to be compatible with the VFX platform of their calendar year going forward ?

  18. Gorro_Rojo yeah something like that. LTS releases come at the end of a non breaking cycle and then the number change signifies a new cycle of bigger breaking changes.

  19. Can we make a page for 4.0 release where the community can vote for the features and the big changes that will be integrated by then.

    Blender 2.8 was a huge and amazing release, where everybody was striving for deep improvements, and there was no fear changing obsolete stuff for a better, more standardized and modern solutions.
    The papercut forum was packed with hundreds of good suggestions and devs were listening. We need this revolution spirit back for 4.0!

    Now the development choices feel way less open and daring than it was back then, even while the budget skyrocketed (thanks the to 2.8 momentum)…

    By example, many of the top right click select topic are still completely ignored for years like:
    Blender bob did a wish list video that is full of great recommendations that should be more listened to:
    Where are the great usd addons developed by AMD for Blender. Was it just consider not good enough to be mainstreamed ? Because importing and exporting usd files is not enough to qualify Blender as usd compliant.

  20. Im glad the schedules are changing! and that all the discussions led to this. Although I do want to know, why skip 3.7 3.8 and 3.9? seems somewhat arbitrary at least without reading any reasoning on it. is it ti make breaking changes sooner?

    • because next year blender age will be 30, they want nice version number

    • We do a new major version and breaking release every 2 years, as previously announced here.

      The number of 3.x releases is a consequence of that. Previously the plan was to go up to 3.7 LTS, now with only 3 releases this year we’ll end it at 3.6 LTS.

      For 3.0 we had breaking changes with Cycles X and geometry nodes fields. For 4.0 there are no decisions made, but Eevee Next and removal of old particles seem like logical breaking changes for that release, which we don’t want to postpone too long.

      • Any chance the problems with bump map detail in cycles and light leaking through bump maps (and displace used as bump only) will be fixed this year?

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