Dev:Ref/Release Notes/2.63/Cycles

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Blender 2.63: Cycles

Mango quadbot.jpg

Viewport Rendering

Viewport rendered draw mode now shows background images, which can be useful to get a quick preview when making renders that will be composited over footage. (r45238)

It is also possible now to show the active render layer in the viewport, by enabling the option in the 3d view header. This is useful for testing how the render layers settings affect the render. (r45239)

Layers & Passes

Ambient occlusion support was added, with AO factor and distance to control the result. It is also available in a render pass for compositing. Note that just like shadow rays, objects with a Transparent BSDF will be treated as transparent, while objects with other BSDF's will not. (r44523)

There is also a shadow pass available now, mostly useful for compositing objects with shadow into existing footage. (r45242)

Mask layers were added, to specify objects to mask out any objects behind them in the render. This has the same effect as assigning a holdout shader to every object in the specified layer. This can be used for compositing objects into footage, to take into accounts objects in front of the virtual objects blocking the view from the camera. (r44520)

Cycles 263 render layer.png

Environment Maps

Cycles 263 mirror ball.png

Cycles can now render float precision textures, which is particularly useful for environment maps to use HDR images. (r44698)

The Environment Texture node now has a "Mirror Ball" projection mode. This is useful for mapping photographs taken of a chrome mirror ball into the background to light the scene. Note that the image must be cropped to exactly fit the ball. (r44750)

A new panoramic camera can be used to render an environment map with equirectangular project, by enabling the Panorama option in the camera properties. (r44521)


  • Add color ramp node. (r45173)
  • Add option to specify camera aperture in radius or f/stop. (r44702)
  • Add alpha output to image node. (r45240)
  • Add Clamp Samples option: this will clamp all samples to a maximum intensity they can contribute to the pixel, to reduce noise at the cost of accuracy. With value 0.0 this option is disabled, lower values clamp more light away. (r45428)
  • Improve the Oren-Nayar BSDF (roughness value for Diffuse) to avoid undesired dark rings, and give more accurate lighting when the light is behind the object. (r44330)


Fore more details on how these new features work, the Cycles manual has been updated.