Non-profit organisation, The Blender Foundation, has released a major update to its open source, cross-platform 3D graphics software. Packed full of new features and improvements to the user interface, it is now more consistent and powerful.
One added feature is that Cycles now has initial support for volume rendering; this also includes emission, absorption and scattering, which is a useful tool for achieving effects like fire, smoke, mist or absorption in glass.
The motion tracker now supports weighted tracks so that the as features disappear or become difficult to track, the result still remains stable. An added detector algorithm has also made the automatic feature detection more stable.
An important change for Blender 2.70 is the threaded dependency graph, which allows object modifiers and constraints to be computed with mutiple threads, taking advantage of multicore processors. This change is the start of making the dependency graph in Blender more powerful.
The addition of a toobar is just one of the changes that has been made to the interface. As well as allowing you to organise tools into categories, it also means that multiple buttons can be edited at once. Improvements have also been made to lists, header menus, tooltips, buttons and menus.
Of course there are smaller changes for this version too and although they may not be as noticable, a better visualization of masks and control over mask filling, gravity option for sculpting, negative texture values to support vector displacement and a Lamp Data shading node to create more customized NPR shaders, are all alterations that improve the overall experience when using Blender.
In addition to all the new features, over 560 bugs have been fixed.