For developers, the user interface and Python API will be frozen at the end of today. We will wait two days before making it official in case serious issues come up. There are a few exceptions that might still change:
UV editing toolbar and gizmos improvements.
Adding back the Transform tool (and leaving other gizmo settings in place).
The focus for developers now shifts to bug fixing and documentation. The next target is to fix all high priority bugs by mid June, then release somewhere in July. Bug fixes that require deep changes and are likely to cause other bugs should be done as early as possible.
For contributors working on new features, we will not be able to give much attention to code review in the coming month. It’s best to get patches in as good a state as possible so they are ready to review and commit for 2.81.
The Summer of Code coding period starts next Monday. Bastien will set up branches and commit rights for students.
New Features and Changes
Images & Video
Unsaved .blend and image file handling has been improved, so that unsaved changes are unlikely to be lost. Images can now be saved to disk along with the .blend file. New images that have not been saved to disk yet will be packed into the .blend file. (Brecht Van Lommel, Jacques Lucke)
Image texture alpha modes have been changed. The new Channel Packed mode can be used for channel packing as commonly used by game engines, where the RGB and Alpha channels contain different images that should not affect each other. The new None replaces the Use Alpha option. (Brecht Van Lommel)
Image editor panels have been reorganized to fit the new UI guidelines. (Brecht Van Lommel)
Sequencer menus and sidebar panels have been reorganized for consistency and clarity. (Peter Fog, William Reynish)
Outliner visibility control has been further refined. Ctrl+click isolates visibility for collection, while shift+click applies visibility recursively for collections and parenting hierarchies. (Dalai Felinto)
The object properties now have a Visibility panel, to access the same object visibility settings available in the outliner and easily keyframe them. (Dalai Felinto)
Display of active, selected and edited items in the outliner has been tweaked. (Harley Acheson)
Theme colors for Blender Dark and Blender Light have been tweaked. (Pablo Vazquez)
Various new and updated icons for the interface. (Andrzej Ambroż, Alessio Monti)
Desktop icons have been updated for consistent colors across platforms. (Yevgeny Makarov)
The user interface for preferences auto-saving has been tweaked, with preferences operations moved into a menu. For loading factory settings, there is now the option to do it permanently to overwrite existing preferences, or temporarily for testing. (Campbell Barton, William Reynish)
The Blender icon in the top bar now opens a menu for application-level info, with Splash, Support Blender, Help and Install Application Template… menu entries move there. Some entries in the File menu have been moved into Recover and Defaults submenus. (Pablo Vazquez)
Eevee materials gained an option for backface culling. There was already an option for the viewport, the new option exists to control backface culling for renders and import/export. (Clément Foucault)
Eevee subsurface scattering and volume rendering is now automatically enabled when there are objects with these effects in the scene. (Clément Foucault)
Sun light size is now specified as an angle. This is the angular diameter as seen from earth, which is between 0.526° and 0.545° in reality. (Tim Stullich)
Depth of field and film transparency settings are now shared between Cycles and Eevee. (Jeroen Bakker)
The OpenColorIO color management configuration was updated to remove legacy transforms. This provides a clean base for future improvements. (Brecht Van Lommel)
Replace Log view transform with Filmic Log.
Remove Rec.709, DCI-P3 displays that were incomplete and outdated.
Remove outdated RRT and Film transforms, replaced by Filmic.
Remove camera responsive curves that don’t work with HDR colors.
Rename Default view transform to Standard.
Custom Normal Editing: improved user interface. (Howard Trickey)
Alt+N now opens the normal editing menu for quick access.
Normal editing tools now automatically add the custom normal layer and enable autosmooth.
Face strength tools set the strength directly.
These changes make the obscure Normal panel obsolete, so it has been removed.
Objects: new 3D cursor alignment option when adding objects. (Hans Goudey, Pablo Dobarro)
Grease Pencil: new filter for onion skinning, to select only specified keyframe types. (Antonio Vazquez)
Armatures: Apply Pose as Rest Pose now has an option to only affect the selected bones. (Alexander Gavrilov)
Selection occlusion in multi-object edit mode is now working. (Germano Cavalcante, Campbell Barton)
The dependency graph and scene update Python API have been changed to better reflect the internal dependency graph system. Despgraph API documentation with usage examples is available. Scripts that access meshes with modifiers or any other evaluated data-blocks will need to be updated. (Sergey Sharybin)