Blender 4.0 Released with Support for AMD RDNA2 and RDNA3 APUs, Node Tools

This release introduces light and shadow linking, AgX view transform for better color management, and more.
Blender 4.0

More than four months after Blender 3.6 LTS, the Blender Foundation released today Blender 4.0 as a major update to this powerful, free, open-source, and cross-platform 3D graphics computer software for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows systems.

Highlights of Blender 4.0 include Node tools as an accessible way for expanding Blender and customizing tools without requiring Python. With this change, Blender now provides specific nodes for controlling tool-specific data and enables geometry node groups to be used as operators from the 3D view menus. Moreover, the “Add Modifier” menu has been changed to a standard menu that includes geometry node assets.

Another exciting new feature in Blender 4.0 is light and shadow linking, allowing you to set lights to affect only specific objects in a scene and to control which objects act as shadow blockers for a light. Future Blender versions promise support for linking to the world lighting, as well as a more convenient UI to view and manage all light links in a scene.

“This adds more artistic control for lighting by breaking the laws of physics. For example, the environment and characters in a shot might have different light setups. A character could have a dedicated linked rim light to make it stand out, and shadow linking could be used to ensure no objects from the environment block it,” says the Blender Foundation.

Blender 4.0 adds support for rendering with AMD RDNA2 and RDNA3 APUs, revamps the Principled BSDF node to support a wide range of material types, makes Light UV available for all of the light sources in the Image Texture node, adds fractal noise support to the Voronoi Texture node, and adds new inputs to the Noise Texture node for generating fractal Perlin noise.

For color management, Blender 4.0 adds AgX view transform as a replacement for Filmic, promising better color handling in over-exposed areas. There’s also a new HDR (High Dynamic Range) option in the “Color Management > Display” panel but it only works on macOS for now and it requires a monitor that can display HDR colors.

New linear spaces and display devices are present as well in the new Blender release, which adds a new Kuwahara filter node for the compositor to give a painterly look to your images, a new system for interactively retiming strips in the sequencer, as well as the pose library has been updated to use the newly introduced asset shelf to bring pose assets to the 3D viewport.

New bone collections are available as well in Blender 4.0 as a replacement for both legacy numbered layers and bone groups, there’s a new method of mapping vertices to B-Bone segments for deformation, and it’s now possible to reorder NLA Strips vertically.

Among other changes, this release makes the Curve to Mesh node up to 2 times faster when the profile input is a single point, adds two new options to make it easier to clean up the modifier interface, a new Invert Pins operator is now available in the UV Editor, and new nodes are supported in the Viewport Compositor, including Movie Distortion, Sun Beams, Keying, Kuwahara (classic and anisotropic), Inpaint, and Double Edge Mask.

Blender 4.0 is available for download right now from the official website. For more details about the new features, fixes, improvements, and other changes included in this release, check out the release notes. Blender 4.0 requires OpenGL 4.3 or later on Linux systems and support for Intel HD4000 series GPUs is no longer available.

Last updated 6 months ago

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