Blender 3.1 is finalized and this update of the open-source 3D editor brings a very important feature for macOS users: compatibility with Metal, Apple’s in-house graphics API. It is also Apple itself that has contributed to this effort, both by providing financial support and by offering its technical expertise.
Concretely, it is one of the rendering engine called Cycles (a “path tracer based on physics”) which adopted Metal in this update. Support is currently limited to all Apple Silicon Macs, as well as Intel Macs equipped with a dedicated graphics card provided by AMD. You must also use macOS Monterey, version 12.2 is sufficient for Mac M1, Intel models will have to wait for the 12.3 update currently being finalized.
If you’re using an Intel Mac without a dedicated AMD card, be aware that Intel GPUs should be supported in the future. In addition, Blender promises performance improvements to come, although this update should bring a significant gain. The measures presented by the developers make it possible to highlight doubled performance on certain tests.
Blender 3.1 brings many other new features, mainly focused on performance for this version. The full list is available in the project documentation. The app can be downloaded from the official website, in Intel or Apple Silicon version depending on your Mac.
Although macOS Monterey is required to benefit from the Metal integration, Blender only needs macOS 10.13 to be installed. The app is free, but you can participate in its development by subscribing to Blender Studio, a €10 per month subscription that gives access to tutorials and even some animated films created using this tool.