Blender 3.5 Released with Hair-Raising Improvements

A new version of open-source 3D animation software Blender is available to download.

Blender 3.5 features the usual crop of bug fixes, performance patches, and stability tune ups. But it’s notable for introducing big improvements to the way it handles hair.

Yes, hair.

It sounds hair-lariously random but, naturally, animators often need to work with hair (and fur, and grass) Last year’s Blender 3.3 release introduced a a new curves-based hair system and that effort gets “major” improvements in this update.

Animators also gain access to an all-new hair asset library. Styles available via this built-in pool can be quickly dragged and dropped from the asset library directly on to the workspace.

Blender 3.5 also makes generating, styling, adjusting, and manipulating hair curves on surfaces, with options to create new hair curves, interpolate existing curves, duplicate, clip, deform, and smooth hair curves.

Animators wanting to channel their inner stylist can go wild with options to clump, curl, braid, frizz, straighten, roll, and trim hair curves.

Outside of the salon, Blender 3.5 debuts support for Vector Displacement Maps (or VDM). These brush maps make it easy to, and I’m gonna quote Blender devs here: “create complex shapes that can have overhangs in one brush dab.”

Rounding out the bigger changes, Blender 3.5 boasts a brand new GPU-based compositor backend. This, Blender say, takes the 3D Viewport “to the next level” with overlays “drawn on top of the compositing result, allowing you to see and interact with your mesh and other objects”.

Powerful stuff — and that’s not all.

Other changes in Blender 3.5:

  • New nodes and physics
  • 3D viewport uses Metal on macOS
  • Cycles can now use a light tree
  • Spot lights support non-uniform object scale
  • Pose Library gains news options
  • New Ease operator in the Graph Editor
  • Grease pencil improvements
  • Support for importing/exporting .usdz files

For every dot, dash, and detail of what’s new do check out the release notes for Blender 3.5.

Get Blender 3.5

Blender is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can (as always) download Blender directly from the Blender website. This ensures you’re getting the latest release as intended.

Linux users do have other options, though as there’s an official Blender snap; Blender is on Flathub; and Blender is diligently maintained in community repos on other distros, including the AUR.