Second Life Review – Blender 2.66a Released

A new version of Blender came out March 6: 2.66a. You can download Blender here. If you are not using the Archive Version install, save yourself some hassle in the long run and use that install.

There are release notes for Blender 2.66a. The notes are mostly about bug fixes. The release notes for Blender 2.66 are about the new features in this version of Blender.

New Blender Release 2.66a

New Blender Release 2.66a

One of the new features is the addition of: Dynamic Topology Sculpting. Previous versions have sculpting tools that only allow you to move existing vertices. The dynamic tool will allow the addition of vertices as you sculpt. I have yet to try it, so I am not sure how it works. I imagine this will be handy for modelers targeting Second Life™.

Support for MacBook ‘Retina’ Displays has been added. See: UI and Usability.

The Cycles Rendering engine now has hair… OK that does NOT sound right, but you get the idea. Blender hair is if no use for Second Life.

Image Transparency rendering was rewritten to improve appearance. This is a problem we have in SL too. This fix will do nothing for the SL problem. But, things will look better in Blender.

The Mesh Modeling part of Blender got a new vertex beveling tool. SL users may get some use out of this feature.

A new modifier for Mesh Caching has been added to the Blender Modifiers. There are also the new UV Warp and Laplacian Smooth modifiers added. I don’t know whether these will help SL users or not. I think it depends on where we end up with the SL avatar. If we get an ability to work with collision bones and shape keys in SL, then they will help. So, for now, they are probably not much help to us.

This release includes Particle Fluid Dynamics. This is a feature for use only in Blender, as are the improvements to Blender’s game engine.

The Collada export/import feature got some improvements. Animations will better handle shape keys and the armature modifier is better. I haven’t seen any news on whether this will help with animations targeted for SL .

There is a note in regard to Second Life: Collada files which have been exported with “Export for Second Life” will have their leaf bones (the last bone of a chain) oriented towards the negative Y axis when imported back to Blender.

I think that is a bug. But, bringing animations back into Blender after export is not a frequent need.

In the Addons we get a new 3D format: MilkShape.

…and there are about 250 bug fixes in 2.66. Add in the fixes from 2.66a and that’s a bunch.

Summary

Until I hear otherwise or run into a reason, I don’t see this as a ‘must-have’ update. But, I update to get the bug fixes.

6 thoughts on “Second Life Review – Blender 2.66a Released

  1. Maybe it’s not everyone but when I was using 2.65 for mesh items and when I tried to go into edit mode after using the subsurf modifier it would crash. 2.66 fixes that so if for no other reason than to be able to continue working on a mesh if one uses that modifier I would suggest the upgrade.

  2. I have been using dynamic topology sculpting for making a second life avatar and it helped me a lot, but i used it a bit different than usual. First of all, this sculpting feature seams to be working a bit like sculptrisand makes a lot of triangles what is far from a low poly mesh. But i made the avatar in two steps; first sculpting the high poly version than making the low poly version with snapping face turned on. This workflow gives me the ease of sculpting the original model ( that i can later use to bake normal and specular maps ) and making a optimal low poly model while i can move the points to the most perfect position without bothering about modeling issues.

    i got this idee from the first two lessens of the realistic head tutorial of blender
    http://cgcookie.com/blender/series/creating-a-realistic-head/

    • CG Cookie is great.

      I think your idea of making the hi-poly model and using it for normal, specular, and diffuse textures is pretty standard in professional game modeling.

  3. Why didnt you include the new Operator presets in the collada export sequence?

    For a noob like me, this is HUGE news…. I spent hours DL’ing and installing old versions of blender and a bunch of add on scripts just becasue no one seems to think its important to mention that they are now obsolete.

    Export Collada> set Operator preset to second life (static or rigged)>export

    You summarize..
    “Until I hear otherwise or run into a reason, I don’t see this as a ‘must-have’ update. But, I update to get the bug fixes.”

    I say…i hope you think otherwise..

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