Bug fixing and bringing back features in 2.5 has been taking up most of our time in the last two weeks. However a number of new features have been added as well, so let’s talk about those a bit.
Campbell and Martin worked on a Gimbal mode for the transform manipulator, which allows you to see exactly where each Euler axis actually is and edit only the single f-curve corresponding to that axis. It also gives you a nice visual indication when you reach Gimbal lock.
Work has gone into the shape key editing user interface, focusing on making the workflow more efficient, so less clicking, mode switching and manual work is needed compared to 2.4x. It’s now possible to create new shape keys by blending existing ones, mirror shape keys, edit shape keys with the blending applied, and to switch between shape keys in edit mode. Further the shape key list now shows editable values for each, and the list can be scrolled through and resized. Shape keys can be reordered and weights can be quickly cleared for experimenting with different shapes.
Autosave is also back now in 2.5, and working correctly now with library linked files, which were problematic in 2.4x. This should help the artists recover their work when Blender crashes.
We now have a basic deep shadow map implementation in SVN, it is not very advanced yet but working stable. This will be mostly important for hair rendering. Right now it supports transparency for shadows using a fixed alpha value per material, and lower memory usage than equivalent multi sample buffer shadows. Here’s an exaggerated example of how alpha allows to let more light pass through.
Further, Nicholas has been doing an excellent job improving the internal sculpt code. It’s now using a BVH for sculpting and redrawing code, so that those no longer needs to go over the whole mesh when drawing a stroke. I’ll start working on sculpting as well soon, mostly focusing on performance and memory usage.
For interested developers, the feature wishlist is being updated all the time, so please check it out. Also, the 2.5 list has many items that developers could pick up. Some features we think are feasible even if you’re not an experienced Blender developer, and that we could use here (see the web page for details):
- Connecting node links more efficiently
- Sequencer strip selection, transform, snapping, .. improvements
- Bring back Ctrl+L, Link Selected
- Proportional editing in object mode
Thanks to Martin Poirier for adding object proportional edit mode, Revision 24185