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What's new in Blender 2.74:
- Cycles got a few optimizations, a new "Pointiness" attribute and objects can now use the texture maps from other objects, the Viewport is now able to display Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field, the Outliner was improved in quite some ways, it is now possible to edit normals, the Hair tools developed for the Gooseberry Project are now available (including improved hair dynamics, child hair modifiers and various interaction tools), texture painting can now be done using Cavity Masks, Freestyle memory consumption was greatly improved, the Grease Pencil rewrite from Blender 2.73 was continued to make more editing tools available, improvements for animation interaction and many more features which are worth checking out!
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- C: \ Multimedia \ Graphic \ Graphic Editors
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Expert-oriented GUI, yet comprehensive documentationBlender is more oriented towards advanced users, and the seemingly complex user interface is proof of that. Fortunately, this software comes with a well-structured user manual and tutorials.
Plus, because Blender is open-source, there is a vast online community that can help you get familiarized with it. If you are a curious amateur interested in 3D graphic editing, you can easily lose yourself in the documentation.
Tools to take advantage of at your fingertipsOne of the most important aspects of Blender is the fact that it lets you view all the tools and features, without making you drag anything around. As a result, you can add modifiers (e.g. array, boolean, edge split, mask, mirror, multi-resolution, lattice, mesh deform, smooth, wave, collision, explode, smoke), render an image, undo and redo your actions, take a screenshot or screencast.
Additionally, you can customize themes in the settings menu or by modifying the script in Python, yet also use the grease pencil, UV unwrapping, texture painting, vertex paint, halos, shading, physics, a game logic editor, rigging (armatures, skinning, posing), world and ambient effects, and many more.
Performance and conclusionWe were not able to find any errors or bugs in this program; however, we were able to tell that it uses a high amount of CPU and system memory, which is normal when you consider its level of complexity.
To sum up, if you want to get a first-hand look at a professional 3D graphic editor, give Blender a shot. Power users, with vast knowledge of graphic editing, are certainly at an advantage. If you are interested in bypassing the installation process, you should know a portable edition is available, called Blender Portable.
Blender was reviewed by Elena Opris, last updated on March 31st, 2015
Also available: Portable Blender
Runs on: Windows XP / Vista / Vista 64 bit / 7 / 7 64 bit / 8 / 8 64 bit
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