Secret Hacky Knowledge

How to get early access to new Blender versions

The Blend.

Become a better Blender artist in 5 minutes each week.

By Samuel Sullins

The Blend

Blender’s always getting updated.

The folks at are constantly working on it. Adding new features, fixing bugs.

There’s a new release every 4-5 months.

But the beta version of that release comes out earlier.

Beta just means “still kinda buggy.” So you can get the latest version of Blender before they officially release, if you don’t mind the odd bug or crash here and there.

That’s what today’s Blend is about: how to get Blender betas, and how to see what’s included in new releases.

Today’s Technique

When they create a new Blender version, it goes through a few phases:

  • Alpha: not full-featured, very buggy.

  • Beta: all features, still buggy.

  • Release: done.

You can download a version of Blender at any of these stages. Simply go to the builds page here, where you’ll find a big list of the latest daily builds. There’ll be alpha, beta, and release options (as available.)

You can even go to the patch page and see different builds being used to test specific features (though they will be very buggy, and you may have to do some research to figure out just what fixes or features they offer.)

It’s also hard to know what’s new in a new version of Blender. For that, you can go check out the release notes (which is a huge list of everything that got changed, and everything new.)

Go to the developer wiki at the release notes page, and you can see what’s done and what’s coming.

Now check out this bit of art I came across:

Really Random Render

Jonas Dinges made this incredible cinematic render.

This is low poly on a whole new level—and I have no idea how he did this.

This scene is almost entirely silhouette-based. The owl, the trees, the grass—everything is shown as a silhouette. Which makes me wonder: is it 3D or just 2D?

Still not sure.

My favorite part of this render is the lighting—I have no idea how he achieved the beautiful golden glow across everything. Maybe it was done in post, with compositing.

Also the smoke from the chimney is clever—it is incredibly simple but still obviously smoke.

Jonas does a lot of amazing work. I’ll definitely feature him here again soon…

Samuel’s Selections

  • Blender 4.0 will bring for loops to Geometry Nodes

  • An artist made a node network that automatically generates a complete low-poly diorama

  • Stache explains everything about water in Blender in this video

Can't think what to blend?

Try something flat. A bowling alley or a boring desert.

P.S. Just released my latest (and possibly best) fiction, read it here. ↓

P.P.S. That’s a lie. I released it 3 weeks ago. But I still want you to read it.

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