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Blender 3.0 Release

December 03, 2021

Ben Shinn
Ben Shinn
Blender Splash screen artwork

Blender 3.0 has recently been released, and with it comes some exciting new features and some very welcome improvements, especially to the performance inside the application.

First, Blender’s PBR engine: Cycles. Cycles X is the latest iteration, involving a rewrite of the current Cycles rendering engine. It was a complicated process, but clearly one worth doing as most projects will now render 2-8 times quicker!

Unfortunately, this does come with a downside, OpenCL is no longer supported. This means that some older GPUs will no longer be compatible with the newest version of Cycles. If you’ve got a newer (RDNA2) AMD card that should be compatible with the HIP AMD driver that is now required for AMD GPUs.

This updated also brings changes to the optimum Cycles workflow. The best way to render is now to use a noise threshold value rather than to manually set the number of samples. You can however set a maximum and minimum number of samples. There is also an option to set a maximum time that the render can take although we wouldn’t recommend using that with GradedBlue Renderfarm as it will produce inconsistent results when rendering on different types of computers.

The denoising algorithms have also been improved, but again I wouldn’t recommend using it with an animation, as it will produce different results for each frame. Instead, I prefer to denoise all the frames at once as if they were a video clip in my editing program (Davinci Resolve).

Denoising in Davinci Resolve

The rendering aspects of Blender aren’t the only things to receive a speed boost. The viewport performance has been improved (by roughly 2-3 times). Performance with high resolution meshes in edit mode has also been improved along with the speed of the Boolean modifier. The undo function has also received a speed boost.

The recently added Geometry nodes have had an overhaul, they now function more like material shaders. Instead of connecting the attributes using the attribute name, the values are now passed as links, the same way a colour attribute would be passed to a diffuse material shader.

We’ve been testing the pre-release versions of Blender with GradedBlue Renderfarm and we’ve been making changes to the rendering client so that we can add support as soon as possible. We’re looking forward to trying out all the new features in the official release and we hope you’ll enjoy using version 3.0 on the renderfarm.

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