Want to learn how to make 3D computer graphics and animations but think the software needed is too expensive? Meet Blender.
Blender is an open-source 3D computer graphics software product. Using Blender you can create animated films, all sorts of visual effects, interactive applications and even video games. For instance, Blender was used to create the animation below.
If you already use another animation software package the Blender interface may slow you down some since many of the commands have keyboard short cuts rather than contextual menus (this is improving however). But if you think you want to try out making animations, 3D images, or games you can’t beat Blender’s price, features, or community. Further, the popularity of the program is growing. You can even become a certified Blender trainer! The Blender website offers all sorts of information about the program including a quick reference, tutorials, a user manual, FAQs, demos, a discussion list, and examples of all sorts of projects.
There is also a very good book, just published, that covers using Blender with GIMP by Ben Simonds entitled Blender Master Glass: a Hands-on Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering.
Blender is cross platform meaning that is runs on a variety of operating systems including both Windows and MAC. The program has reasonable hardware requirements but this is a graphics program so you will need to make sure you have a decent graphics card that conforms to OpenGL specifications.
Overall, the program was easy to install and together with the above mentioned book and other resources anyone should be able to create really cool stuff. If you decide to give Blender a whirl I’d love to hear what you think about it.