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Building Blender on Windows

These are instructions to build Blender for Windows, with Microsoft Visual Studio.

Quick Setup

Building Blender is not as hard as most people would think. For beginners, easiest is to follow these steps carefully. For more details and alternative ways to set up a build environment, see below.

Install Development Tools

Git, CMake and Visual Studio must all be installed.

  • Install Visual Studio 2019 or 2022 Community Edition (free, be sure to install the 'Desktop Development with C++' workload)
  • Install Git for Windows
    • In the installer, choose to add Git to your PATH to ensure make update can correctly function.
  • Install CMake
    • In the installer set the system path option to Add CMake to the system PATH for all users.

Starting the Command Prompt

Then open the command prompt window by hitting the Windows key+R, and then typing cmd.exe

Note

It is important that you use cmd.exe and not powershell or any other shell, the instructions below may not work otherwise.

Download Sources and Libraries

Create a folder to store your copy of the Blender source code. This guide will assume your chosen folder is C:\blender-git.

Download the Blender source code:

cd C:\blender-git
git clone https://projects.blender.org/blender/blender.git

Download the Blender libraries:

cd C:\blender-git\blender
make update # (1)!
  1. When using Git Bash (or similar) instead of the Windows command prompt, use ./make.bat instead of make:
    ./make.bat update
    

make will automatically detect the libraries you need and offer to download them for you. Do note that this set of libraries is several gigabytes large and may take a while to download.

If you prefer to download the libraries manually please see the advanced setup section below

Compile Blender

cd C:\blender-git\blender
make # (1)!
  1. When using Git Bash (or similar) instead of the Windows command prompt, use ./make.bat instead of make.

Once the build finishes you'll get one or more message like this, pointing to the location of your freshly built Blender:

-- Installing:
C:\blender-git\build_windows_Full_x64_vc14_Release\bin\Release\\somefile\]

in that folder you should find your blender.exe you can start to run blender.

To update to the latest changes afterwards, run:

cd C:\blender-git\blender
make update
make

Branches

With the quick setup instructions the main branch will be built by default, which contains the latest Blender version under development.

To build another branch or a pull request, first checkout the branch and then run make update to update the add-ons, libraries and tests to match.

cd C:\blender-git\blender
git checkout <branch-name>
make update
make

Visual Studio IDE

Blender supports Visual Studio 2019 16.9.16 and VS2022. Older versions will not work.

See instructions to work in the Visual Studio IDE, instead of building from the command line.

Remember to build the INSTALL target, otherwise Blender will not launch due to missing dlls.

Source Control

Git

Git is required for accessing the Blender source code. Git for Windows command line utilities are sufficient, but more user friendly user interfaces exist. For example TortoiseGit integrates with Windows explorer.

Build Options

By default Blender builds will be similar to official releases. Many Build Options and Targets are available for debugging, faster builds, and to enable or disable various features.

For a full list of the optional targets, run:

make help

Manual Setup

The quick setup instructions use the convenience batch file to set up a build directory, run CMake configuration and build all with one make command.

For more control, you can manually do these steps.

CMake

Install and run the CMake application.

  • Set the Blender source directory, e.g. C:\blender-git\blender
  • Choose a Build Path located outside the source directory, e.g. C:\blender-git\build
  • Click Configure, and change options as desired
  • Click Generate

Any changes to the build-system will re-generate project files automatically from within Visual Studio when building.

Compile from the Command Line

From the command prompt, navigate to the chosen build path folder.

Then in the following command just substitute [CONFIG] with one of the following options: Release, Debug, RelWithDebInfo.

cmake --build . --target INSTALL --config [CONFIG]