The Blender Foundation has unveiled its first Long Term Support release of the Blender 3.x series with the release of Blender 3.3 LTS. LTS releases are supported for two years from release.
Also available as a portable Windows build, this is the third major point release in the 3.x series since it debuted in December 2021.
Blender 3.3 LTS unveils the usual massive collection of changes. It opens with major improvements to the new hair grooming system through a new Curves Sculpt Mode and support for Geometry Nodes.
Supported tools for grooming hair include Add/Delete, Density, Comb, Snake Hook, Pinch, Puff, Smooth and Slide.
The UV Map – used to define relationships between 2D textures and the surface of a mesh – gain two nodes: UV Unwrap and Pack UV Islands. These offer just the tip of the iceberg, with more than a dozen other nodes also added, three of which offer path-finding across mesh edges to create everything from growing vegetation to impossible mazes.
The Line Art modifier gains the ability to calculate accurate cast shadow and light/shadow separation lines in conjunction with a light reference object. The Grease Pencil also becomes more accessible thanks to its keyframes appearing in Dopesheet and Timeline editors.
Performance improvements see much faster loading times for Line Art objects thanks to the use of multi-threaded leading.
Those with Intel Arc GPUs will be pleased to learn that support for rendering has been added using oneAPI, while AMD GPU Rendering for Vega generation graphics cards has also been enabled. Minor optimisations have also been rolled out for Metal GPU rendering on Apple Silicon chips.
This merely scratches the surface of what’s new in this latest release. A detailed list of highlights can be found under Release Notes on the main Blender website, while complete release notes can be read on the Blender wiki.