Try new Maya-style menus in Blender 2.72
Originally posted on 22 September. Scroll down for updates.
The Blender Foundation has posted an official test build of Blender 2.72, adding new Maya-style pie menus, layered texture painting, support for god rays, and a number of updates to the Cycles renderer.
New Hotbox-style ‘pie menus’
First, and potentially the most contentious, are the new pie menus, which display a ring of contextual options, a bit like Maya’s Hotbox and other radial menus.
Perhaps wisely, given the recent debate surrounding changes to Blender’s UI, you actively have to choose to activate them by installing an add-on. By default, there are only six, but you can create new user-defined menus.
Texture painting also gets a big overhaul, with a new texture slot system for layered painting.
The new Material mode automatically detects any material textures that are candidates for painting and displays them as layers, in addition to creating a material, UV map and diffuse texture for painting.
There is support for 16 layer blending modes, including Hue, Color, and various Dodge, Burn and Light options.
Other new paint features include new Sharpen, Fill and Mask tools; and airbrush-style opacity and mask pressure options. There are also new Line and Curve stroke modes, available throughout the software.
Rendering and compositing enhancements
The Cycles renderer has been updated, with early support for volumetric rendering and subsurface sampling on the GPU; plus improved glossy and anisotropic BSDF importance sampling.
The Freestyle non-photorealistic render engine integrated into Blender’s internal renderer in version 2.67 has also now been integrated into Cycles; while the built-in compositor now supports god rays.
There are also a number of new modelling and animation features, plus updates to the game engine.
Updated 6 October Blender 2.72 has now officially been released. As well as those listed above, new features include improved FBX import with support for armatures, shape keys and animation.