Free-ware (produced under international collaboration). Application originally authored by Ton Roosendal, Netherlands
A very powerful free software used for 3D modelling and visualisation similar to 3DS Max.
Next version release:
Weekly. Check www.graphicall.org for compilations
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Blender is akin to 3DS Max but it is free! The great advantage of freeware (apart from it not costing) is that it usually comes with a fine array of community support. This is certainly the case for Blender. The program is designed to maximise usability according to its own internal logic and is principally used for the production of 3D models, 3D visualisation and simulation.
Blender's primary functions lie in:
1. 3D modelling (texturing, rigging, animating etc)
2. Video visualisation rates very highly in Blender's list of out- puts.
The primary outputs for which Blender is currently used are:
2. Video visualisation rates very highly in Blenders list of out- puts.
Blender has a good logical interface oriented entirely towards the production and visualisation of 3D models.
The program operates on a specific and quite different logic to many other applications. For this reason, it often takes a little while to get to grips with it and users, especially those raised on the likes of Adobe logic (lots of floating windows) will find the logic of Blender surprising. Having said that, Blender's logic is nonetheless very good. Also, Blender 2.5 will be more polished and in line with industry standard logics making it easier to pick up. Most users who manage to get through this initial phase of surprise swear by Blender as being an excellent and highly advantageous software to use.
Blender uses both command line and graphic menus to input data. The program's chief advantage at the interface level lies in its extensive and very logical keyboard shortcuts and functions. Learning to use these will constitute the primary challenge of learning Blender. This tutorial explains the interface.
Interoperability is sometimes an issue as Blender can only share file types which are opensource (non-commercial).
Over and above those strengths and weaknesses listed already, Blender at present is:
+ + Excellent quite simply in that it is free. This also puts in place a great deal of online community support.
Blender provide provides a good deal of online support and learning resources. Manuals are for sale on Blender's website of which Media Lab stock one or two.
To get you started Media Lab suggest the following tutorials:
Beginner A: Interface
Beginner B: Vital Functions
Beginner C: Viewport
Intermediate A: Materials and textures
Intermediate B: Textures
Intermediate C: Keyframing
Advanced A: Advanced mesh modelling
Advanced B: Using dupliverts
Advanced C: Paths and dupliframes
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First published Mon. 1 Feb. 2010