The Blender Foundation have just shipped Blender 4.1 Alpha and the star of the show is the new EEVEE Next real-time rendering. EEVEE was first added back in 2019 with the release of Blender 2.8 and it made the results you saw in the Blender viewport more closely match what you could expect to see when your project was exported to a game engine. The EEVEE Next project builds upon EEVEE giving it higher fidelity rendering closer to Cycles in quality, while retaining the real-time performance.
Key Features of EEVEE NEXT include:
- Virtual Shadowmapping: Increases shadow resolution and maximum sharpness while keeping relatively low memory footprint.
- Subsurface Scattering: New algorithm that eliminate light leaking between objects and supports per pixel radius.
- High Light count support: Lights are now efficiently culled and there is virtually no limits to the maximum number of lights in a scene.
- Motion Blur: Now supports shutter curve.
- Shading: Arbitrary number of BSDFs are now supported without major performance impact. Raytracing and SSS is no more restricted to one BSDF node.
- Thickness output: This is a new output which control the thickness for translucency, refraction and volume shader.
- Renderpass: All passes are rendered at once and do not need multiple geometry passes (except cryptomatte).
- Irradiance Cache: The baking has been totally rewritten and data is now stored inside the lightprobe objects which allows modifications after baking.
You can learn more about Blender EEVEE Next and see it running in Blender 4.1 alpha in the video below.