Blender 3.2 Release & New Features

Blender 3.2 was just officially released out of Beta, and you know what that means, more features and cool stuff to explore! Let’s not waste any time and jump right into it.

Download Blender 3.2 from Blender.org

Light Groups

When rendering with Cycles, you can now render out a separate render pass from a group of lights. This means you can create a bunch of point lights, group them up and just render out their light and nothing else. This is great for compositing where you want tohave 100% control over the lightning in a render.

Switching between different light group render passes.

Shadow Caustics

While the name might be a little misleading, we’re not actually creating caustics with shadows. What they mean is calculating the caustics in shadows of refractive objects.

If I were to explain what it actually does in layman’s terms… It’s just caustics but better looking.

If you think that sounds complicated, wait till you read the full release notes on it: https://wiki.blender.org/wiki/Reference/Release_Notes/3.2/Cycles#Shadow_Caustics

What’s going on exactly I cannot tell, but I know it looks a lot better in 3.2.

Motion blur + volumes = true

Something that has bothered Blender users in the past is the lack of motion blur in volumes. Meaning if you had a cool explosion going on in a fast-paced animated scene, everything would have motion blur except the explosion.

Left with no motion blur, right with motion blur.

Read more about motion blur in 3.2

Updates to Cycles

There have also been several updates to Cycles:

  1. Linux users using an AMD GPU can now use it for rendering
  2. Change color management settings in the render output (no need to render to change to filmic from standard!)
  3. The ability to add alpha output to the object info node
  4. Baking your textures to UDIM tiles

Sculpt painting

If you have enjoyed using the sculpting tools in Blender, you will probably enjoy the newest addition: sculpt painting.

When in sculpt mode you can now paint instead of deforming or changing the geometry. If you’re familiar with how some of the brushes in Photoshop work, you’ll recognize most of the paint brushes in Sculpt mode. You can smear paint, use color filters, and you can also mask areas based on their color value.

Geometry Nodes

A lot of the geometry nodes have been reworked to increase their performance, some nodes have improved their performance by 13 times. There have also been some tweaks and fixes to the UI for better readability.

The new geometry node. Read the documentation here.

There’s also a new node called “Duplicate elements”, this node allows us to duplicate points, edges, faces, instances, and curves.

Collections as assets

Something I looked forward to the most, was being finally able to create assets from my collections. Instead of having to merge everything together, you can now arrange your objects individually and just throw them into a collection, and reuse that collection as a premade asset. You can add them as instances or as real objects. And the best part of all, the thumbnail is created automatically for the whole collection.

Grease pencil

There’s a new modifier for grease pencil that is called Envelope. It draws lines between the point in your grease pencil drawing, almost making it look like a sketch.

The envelope modifier, can’t wait to see what people do with it.

Another feature that has been improved is the smoothing modifier, it can keep the shape better and the algorithm has been improved producing a much cleaner result.

Video sequencer

With all the improvements Blender is making, I sense that it’s not long until I completely abandon Premiere Pro for video editing. You can now name, lock, or mute channels in the video sequencer. Perfect if you want to offset the video with the recorded audio for example.

Finally a way to have an organized video workflow.

Modeling

It’s now possible to apply modifiers to objects that have multiple users. Say you created a rock and duplicated it several times as instances, all those new instances are using the same user, which made it impossible to apply a modifier. This is no longer an issue and I thank the Blender devs for that! You can also apply scale, rotation, or location. It’s also possible to select vertices with similar crease values.

Full changelog

If you want to read the full changelog, you can do so by clicking over to: https://wiki.blender.org/wiki/Reference/Release_Notes/3.2

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