There's a new version of Blender since some months ago, 2.70, recently updated to 2.71. This has been a major release with many new updates. If you're following my Blender books, you may wonder if it would be advisable to update, if you can update, and if there will be problems following the books that refer to a previous version. In this post, I will address all the interface changes that may make some Blender screen snapshots to look different, and where some tools are located now. My apologies I couldn't do this before: RL has been a little crazy in the past months, and catching up with all the delayed work involving my Blender classes and books has been quite hard.
Would it be advisable to update? Yes, no doubt, go to the Blender website and download Blender 2.71 right now!
All published books up to date are affected. However, don't feel "oh my gosh, do I need to learn everything again?" You will see that almost everything we learned behaves exactly the same. There are not many interface changes with respect all that was explained in those books, but please refer to this post if you find differences and feel lost :-)
(The affected books, in case there are doubts: Interface Basics, Modelling Basics, UV Mapping and Texturing Basics, Curves. About the upcoming books: Although they say they're using Blender 2.69, I tried to check all the screenshots in Blender 2.70 and 2.71, and there should be no differences.)
Remember two important things before going for the changes that affect the Blender books series:
- You can have different versions of Blender installed in your computer, and execute each time the one that would be more convenient. As long as different versions are installed in different folders, all is fine.
- Remember that you do not need to set your user preferences each time you install a new Blender version. This short tutorial covered how to move your Blender settings from one to another version.
Blender 2.71 makes even easier the task of moving our settings. Open it up, and read carefully the splash screen:
Yes, it says "Copy Previous Settings" and it's going to do exactly what you think it will do. Click it. Yay! :-)
With that said, let's go now for the changes that are relevant to all of the books published until now.
TabsThis is the first that's going to strike us as "hmmm... Where did everything go?" When we open up the Toolshelf, we see that it presents this appearance:
Instead of having that long list of tools that made us to scroll until finding them, they have now been arranged into tabs, categorized. There will show more tools if something is selected, related to what is selected:
Hitting TAB for Edit mode we continue to see that the tools change to tools that are available only in Edit mode:
And notice how in particular, the Shading Smooth/Flat buttons that, in Object mode, were under the Tools tab, in Edit mode are under this new Shading/UVs tab, giving us shading option not only for faces (as we were used to), but also for edges and vertices, all in the same place:
By the way, maybe you have noticed that the Info Toolbar no longer has an Add menu:
This has been moved to the Create tab of the Toolshelf:
Personally, I find this to be a more consistent place for these options to be. SHIFT A continues working over the 3D View, showing the Add menu.
Where else are we going to find tabs? Within the Image Editor, in the Toolshelf, for now:
Also, notice that in here there's another consistency change. We know that when we hit T over the 3D View to open up the Toolshelf, it opens to the left, and when we hit N for the Properties panel, it does open to the right. When we worked in the UV/Image Editor, the T panel opened to the right, and the N panel opened to the left. This has changed: Now, when in the UV/Image Editor, the T panel opens to the left, and the N panel opens to the right, to be consistent with the behaviour on the 3D View.
Menus have now separator bars, which in my opinion makes them clearer, specially since similar options are grouped together:
Not much is left that could affect us and the material that's up to date in the Blender course. So as you can see, even though Blender 2.70 and 2.71 have been major releases, there's not much that did affect us :-) There have been a lot of new features, but our course hadn't reached them yet.
If you want a full description of all features, Gottfried Hofmann from Blender Cookie has made a wonderful course, available for free, here (The course is in video tutorial format, with some text as a summary per section.)
If you have heard about Cycles render, or have worked with it, here it comes the big news: Blender 2.71 supports baking for Cycles! See: You wanted to download Blender 2.71 right now :-)
PS: If you're following the books, remember that in this page you will find a list of questions and answers related to the books, from people having followed them. When other people had trouble and completed the right form in the store, I've tried to help them sort the issues. I find that kind of material quite relevant to learning too, which is why it's published in the store blog. All names are removed. The important is what they asked.