3D Freebie: Blender 2.66 released
By Design Engineering StaffCAD/CAM/CAE Autodesk CAD
Open-source 3D modeling and animation app packs new rendering, dynamic modeling and particle fluid solver.
Blender, the multi-platform, open source 3D modeling, rendering and animation software package, recently announced its latest release. While a surface modeling application, similar to 3D Studio Max or Maya, the production capable software has some potential uses for CAD users and 3D designers.
On the modeling front, Blender supports a variety of geometric primitives including polygon meshes, fast subdivision surface modeling, Bezier curves, NURBS surfaces, meatballs and multi-resolution digital sculpting, among other techniques.
In addition, Blender is capable of complex dynamic lighting and keyframed animation and incorporates its own GPU-assisted pathtracer render engine (Cycles), as well as a number of plugin render engines.
With the release of version 2.66, Blender now includes a new Dynamic Topology Sculpting mode that subdivides meshes as needed rather than effecting the shape of the mesh. The application has also picked up improved rigid body simulation and a new particle fluid solver for more physically accurate results.
Among other improvements, 2.66 also includes improved import and export of the open source 3D file format Collada, an improved Bevel tool and more than 250 bug fixes.
Free to install and use, the open-source application runs on Windows, Mac or Linux and supports a number of file formats including 3D Studio, DXF, Wavefront OBJ, Lightwave, OpenFlight, PLY, Pro Engineer, Radiosity, Softimage, STL, TrueSpace, VRML, and X3D Extensible 3D, among others.