Unveiling Advanced 3D Tools: Blender 4.0 and Rhino 8 Debut

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New human models in Blender 4.0 [Source: Blender]

Last week saw two very popular 3D modeling software tools receive major upgrades.

The two are Blender, an open source tool, and Rhino 3D, a popular commercial tool.

Let’s first look at Blender 4.0

Blender 4.0

Blender is a very popular tool due to its very comprehensive set of functions, combined with its price: zero. That’s because it’s provided through an open source project where it’s built by the community.

Blender has gone through a number of versions. I learned how to use one of the earlier versions, but it was extraordinarily challenging because of the highly complex interface. Subsequent versions simplified the interface somewhat, but the sheer amount of function demands a complex interface.

Blender 4.0 seems to have focused mainly on improvements in rendering, particularly in the generation of accurate views of a 3D scene. A key addition is the “COAT” layer, which is applied over all basic layers and can, for instance, simulate emissive textures.

A new version of the microfiber shading model, named “SHEEN”, has also been introduced. This presents a method for texturing surfaces, enabling the creation of surfaces with a fuzzy feel. However, the current version can also mimic dust on surfaces, which could contribute significantly to more life-like renderings.

New methods for handling color have also been developed, along with what is referred to as a “more principled BSDF”. This manages reflections, tinting, and more.

Most of these new features revolve around rendering, catering to the majority of Blender users who create visual 3D assets, rather than the geometry necessary for 3D printing.

Blender 4.0 does include some modifications to the geometry node system, where nodes can now be run as general operators. This reduces the need for Python coding for complex generative 3D models.

Finally, there are several user interface enhancements that should make Blender a bit easier to use.

If you’re using Blender version 3, why not upgrade to version 4.0? It won’t cost you anything.

Rhino 8

Rhino has been upgrade to version 8. The popular tool is often used to build highly complex 3D models due to the software’s ability to generate 3D content with its “Grasshopper” system.

One of the most interesting new features is “Shrinkwrap”, which can be used to instantly create a watertight mesh around Rhino objects. That would eliminate invalid STL exports, something that can cause problems when printing.

Rhino 8 has also been natively coded for use on Mac silicon, which will make it significantly faster on M1/2/3 platforms.

They’ve simplified tasks in Rhino 8 with easier workflows. An instance is the “PushPull”. There are novel methods to perform clipping and sectioning, with numerous enhancements to the Grasshopper environment.

If Rhino is a tool you use, notably on a Mac, this could be a beneficial upgrade.

Via Blender and Rhino3D

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