A Blender update is coming… soon. The Alpha version and nightly builds are available now, here: Blender Latest. But, I want to know if this is an update I need or want. So, I went looking through what people are saying. The big one for me is… the User Interface is changing. Ugh.
So, here is a video (8/13) that does a decent job of showing us the changes.
The video producer provided these time stamp entry points. I suggest you start at the 2:12 TM. Or if you are only interested in how it affects those of us using it for Second Life™, just read my comments below.
1:22 – Alpha, Beta & Release Candidate
2:12 – UI Redesign
3:24 – EEVEE, the Physical Based Real Time Render Engine
4:43 – New Work Engine: OpenGL
5:19 – Grease Pencil (2D Animation Toolset)
6:38 – Matcaps (Material Capture)
7:48 – Zootopia Hair Shader
8:01 – Pixar Open Subdiv
8:34 – Dependency Graph, Asset Manager, Static Overrides and More
9:16 – Daily Blender Build Download
10:16 – Blender Resources
The new render engine looks to be awesome. But, the User Interface (UI) is going to kill me. They seem to be trying to make Blender easier for new users to learn. …like 3D modeling and animation can be easy to learn? Still probably a good thing no matter how annoying I find it.
They moved most of the stuff at the bottom of windows to the top… give me a break… That will take a bit to get used to.
The ‘A’ key to select and deselect seems to work differently… ‘A’ selects all and ‘ALT-A’ deselects all. I had to go to the menus to figure out what changed. But, it was in the menu and easy to find.
2.8 is going to place extra demands on your graphics card because of the new EEVEE rendering engine. So, if you have an old graphics card, you may find the 2.79 version faster. In this case I’m not sure what ‘old’ means.
MatCap or Materials Capture is a feature that assists in texturing and handles lighting. This is a feature I think will be handy for SL users.
There are some other features that may help with tasks we do. But, until I can play with 2.8 I can’t tell.
The author, I didn’t find his name – but I didn’t look very hard, speaking in the video thinks this update will bring Blender up to the level of 3D Max and Maya, or at least much closer.
I downloaded a copy of today’s build. I played with it a little bit. I think this version will be easier for people new to Blender and modeling.
If you thought Blender was too hard to learn, give it another try when 2.8 releases. The basics are easier and they provide more reminders of which keys do what and… less dependence on key-commands.
Still understanding modeling, texturing, and animating are complex tasks requiring knowledge and understanding. I don’t see that part of your education coming from the Blender program.
With the major UI change I wonder how AvaStar adapts? In the Blender-AvaStar group the word is, it isn’t ready yet. But, we have some time before 2.8 is released. After all it is in Alpha, which for them means it isn’t ‘feature complete’. That means they may add or remove features. But, they aren’t going to add or remove the UI. So, I suspect Gaia is already working on adapting AvaStar.
So, when are we likely to see 2.8 release? In early July the word was the Alpha was sort of user/tester ready, which makes no sense to me because there are always nightly releases once the new version is usable, in the loosest terms. The Beta was expected August 12, which is past and no Beta showing in the downloads today. Then in late-mid September the API is to lock down.
This ‘lock down’ is the point when add-on makers can get serious. So, sort of the starting gun for add-ons. Get the horses in the starting gates then Bang-GO. So, this would probably be the point when Machinimatrix people start finalizing their work.
October 20th is when the first release candidate of Blender should appear or so they thought in July.
I suspect we will see a final release of 2.8 within 2018. But, exactly when is undeterminable. Once an RC is out the people using the RC start finding problems. How long they take to fix is a pure guess.
My guess is, AvaStar will likely update some time near or shortly after 2.8 releases.
To Update or Not?
This is an update I suspect I’ll make when projects current at release time are complete. No point changing in the middle. I see no features that will improve the final result. These all seem to be changes for better ways to do things.
But, the UI change is here to stay. Historically I don’t remember Blender ever reverting UI changes. So, at some point I’ll likely have to deal with the UI change. I am looking forward to the improved render engine.