Blender 3.4 Released with Native Wayland Support on Linux, Many Improvements

Blender 3.4

The Blender Foundation released today Blender 3.4 as the latest stable version of this open-source, free, and cross-platform 3D computer graphics software that brings various new features and many improvements.

The biggest change in Blender 3.4, which comes exactly three months after Blender 3.3 LTS, is the enablement of native support for the next-generation Wayland windowing environment on GNU/Linux systems. Initial Wayland support in Blender landed back in 2020, as a build option, but now it’s finally enabled by default.

Until now, Blender recommended Linux users use the X11 display server, but now Wayland is fully supported in addition to X11. When Wayland is detected, Blender is using it as the preferred windowing environment.

Currently, Blender on Wayland supports smooth scrolling with trackpads, as well as reliable cursor warping and multi-touch gestures (pinch to zoom, pan, and orbit) on tablets and trackpads. What’s currently not supported under Wayland is window positioning and depth.

However, it would appear that NVIDIA GPU users may not be so lucky as current NVIDIA graphics drivers don’t fully support features needed for Wayland support, so they may experience graphical glitches and flickering. “This is not specific to Blender so NVIDIA users may want to use X11 until driver support improves,” said the devs.

Native Wayland support in Blender 3.4 has been tested with the GNOME desktop environment using GNOME Shell and Mutter (libdecor is a requirement), the KDE Plasma desktop environment, as well as Sway (wlroots) based compositors. You can check if Wayland is used in the Blender > About dialog.

Also for Linux users, the Blender 3.4 release brings support for GPU rendering via EEVEE / WorkBench, as well as support for headless rendering. In addition, Linux users are recommended to upgrade to ROCm 5.3 or a newer version as a workaround for issues with textures on AMD Radeon Vega and RDNA1 graphics cards.

Other changes in Blender 3.4 include a new Redo panel to the NLA, Dopesheet, and Timeline editors, the ability to override all USER and SYSTEM paths using environment variables, a new stack of fonts for improved language and symbol coverage, FreeType caching, improved font anti-aliasing, faster creation of thumbnails for WebP images, and the ability to extract frames from WebM videos that dynamically change resolution.

Also new in this release is support for FFmpeg AV1 encoding for video rendering, support for evaluating metaball objects as meshes, the ability to import multiple files during SVG imports, a new algorithm to close gaps in the Fill tool, a new geometry-based relax brush and new operators in the UV editor, as well as the ability to preview geometry and attributes in Viewer Node’s viewport and spreadsheet.

On top of that, Blender 3.4 adds a new evaluation system to geometry nodes, supports the creation of points inside volume grids for the Distribute Points in Volume node, lets you view node group assets in the add menus of the Node editor, adds support for “PBR” extensions in .mtl files, adds a new Storypencil add-on for Storyboarding, and adds support for AMD Radeon RX 7000 series GPUs (RDNA3 architecture).

A new popover in the 3D Viewport header lets you manage all auto-masking options, new GPU built-in shader enums are now available to support both 2D and 3D graphics, a new function lets you access UV islands from a BMesh, new path guiding integration in Cycles is now possible using Intel’s Open Path Guiding Library.

“This feature improves the sampling quality of individual paths reducing the noise in complex lighting scenarios such as; long indirect light bounces, indirectly illuminated shadow areas, or reflected light sources,” said the Blender development team. “During rendering, path guiding learns an approximation of the scene’s light distribution (direct and indirect). This information is then used to guide paths into important directions that might not be explored well using standard directional sampling methods that only consider the local material or the directly visible light sources.”

The user interface has been improved a little in this release with new keyboard shortcuts (PageUp and PageDown) to scroll entire pages, as well as ↖ Home to reset scrolling to the bottom, the ability to detect existing files and add +/- auto-increase options for output file paths, improved editing of text containing non-precomposed diacritical marks, improved display of text caret and selection when editing 3D Text Objects, the ability for the select menu to order results by distance, and support for font thumbnails to preview content, languages, and shapes.

Performance and memory improvements are present as well in Blender 3.4, which is a recommended update for all users, even those using the long-term supported Blender 3.3 series. For more details about the changes included in this release, check out the release notes.

Blender 3.4 is available for download as a universal binary for all Linux systems from the official website.

Last updated 6 months ago