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Blender

CNET Editors' review

If you've ever thought about making professional-quality animations but decided not to because of the cost of the software, your excuse just got up and walked out the door. Blender is a free, open-source 3D rendering program that puts the power of the medium back into the hands of the artist.

Blender features a laundry list of animation essentials that can be broken down into categories: Interface, Modeling, Rigging, Rendering, Animation, UV Unwrapping, Shading, Physics and Particles, Imaging and Compositing, and Real Time 3D/Game Creation. The interface, though loaded with complicated tools, is remarkable for neither obscuring nor interfering with the image being worked on. A brief sampling of tools and functions includes 3D paint for vertex weighing, polygon meshes, 2D and 3D procedural brushes, edge rendering, textures, collision simulation, and support for around two dozen 2D and 3D file formats. Extras can be added with Python scripting, and since it's open source, many scripts can be easily found for download in the user forums.

Blender is not for the faint of heart. Learning to use it is time-consuming and best done by following the detailed tutorials available on the Blender Web site. There is also an extensive online Blender community, making familiarization with the app less painful--if not pain-free. However, none of these detracts from the overall experience or usefulness of the program, and we strongly recommend it for advanced users.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 138

  • 5.0 stars

    "The powerful software for 3d animation 2.70 the latest"

    April 2, 2014  |   By winry_sha

    Version: Blender 2.68a

    Pros

    this software is awesome, i never thought this free software can performs super realistic scene, i saw from http://www.blenderartists.org/ of course i tried it.blender is really extraordinary software compare to those stupid free software.i rather buy blender if they sell it because of ease of use,complete pipeline for film production and faster for modelling

    Cons

    bugs are the problems for this software,of course free software need donations from us.lets say 1 million people donate only 10usd, for sure blender foundation can hire more professional coders.

    Summary

    i have been using 3ds max,maya,zbrush and mudbox including blender. i suggest blender for you not because of free but easy to use and faster for modelling and has features suits your needs

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Wonderful!"

    February 5, 2014  |   By twiggyw

    Version: Blender 2.68a

    Pros

    Powerful 3D modeling and animation tool.
    Open source which makes it free!

    Cons

    Buttons change positions frequently but this is not a problem if you keep up with all the updates

    Summary

    Some people complain it's hard to lean but of course it is! 3D modeling is not easy but if you dedicate and study you can learn it! And there's a lot of (free) material and tutorials out there. So if you love 3D modeling and animation you can start with Blender without cost. Of course donating to Blender.org is a good thing since thy give us the wonderful program for free. :)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Easily the best open-source program on the planet"

    February 1, 2014  |   By rschiwal

    Version: Blender 2.68a

    Pros

    Blender is an amazing, professional-level program. It easily compares with software that costs up to $6,000 a seat. While not superior to Maya, Zbrush, Houdini and Unity, it has all of the features of all of those programs combined. You can do an entire production in this one program.

    Cons

    The learning curve is a very big one.

    Summary

    I use it at work, in a cartoon studio, for training film and R&D production. The modelers tease me daily for not knowing Maya, but I frequently drop their jaws in amazement with what Blender can do.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "I CAN'T USE IT"

    January 19, 2014  |   By Bamboo731

    Version: Blender 2.68a

    Pros

    NONE at all.

    Cons

    IT DOESN'T EVEN RUN FOR ME SO IT IS USELESS.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "All this power and it is free?!!"

    August 15, 2013  |   By oabdalla

    Version: Blender 2.68

    Pros

    1. FREE
    2. Flexible and fully customizable user interface with built-in layouts and themes
    3. A great community of supports providing constant update to the software as well as video and written tutorials.
    4. Cross-platform compatibility (Windows/Linux/Mac)
    5. Rich features (modeling, texturing, still renders and animations, game engine, physics and simulation, scripting)

    Cons

    1. Some learning to fully grasp the capabilities of the tool and get used to its interface which may be intimedating at first with options and buttons distributed literally in all directions of your screen real estate
    2. Power requires capabilities and that is where Blender may crash more often than your typical Windows/Linux application if your hardware is not up to the task plus the ongoing development of the tools also brings with it some unstable code.

    Summary

    Overall this is a must have tool for any one who want to venture into 3D modeling and animation or computer generated art in general.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Purely Awesome!!!"

    June 13, 2013  |   By tomagnew

    Version: Blender 2.67b

    Pros

    Its amazing that software like this is free. If you are a graphic artist of any sort, 3D or not, this program can do everything. Its fun and very addictive!

    Cons

    Steep learning curve, non-intuitive interface, but its stable, works great and its free, so who cares.

    Summary

    Probably the best open source software in the world.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "One tool for all 3D works."

    December 7, 2012  |   By SreeSimha

    Version: Blender 2.64a

    Pros

    Cross Platform
    Extensive Python api
    All features at fingure tips
    Support for various formats
    Quick Development
    Very good community
    Good quality tutorials
    Good number of tutorials
    Streamlined interface
    Uncluttered UI
    Builtin Compositor
    Builtin Game Engine
    etc...

    Cons

    Not many except for a few rough edges.

    Game engine and Video Sequencer needs more attention.
    Doesn't have a good quality audio editor(It is expected since it has a good quality video editor)
    Crash save feature.
    Even more features from physics would be awesome. As of now, I cant get liquid and smoke interact with each other. Or even wind and rigid body interaction. All these are problems of a pro user who can by-pass them with simple tricks. Its difficult for first timers.

    Summary

    Blender is an amazing 3D software. Very soon it will have the complete potential to replace the leading industry standard softwares. Many budding animation studios in India are adapting to Blender which is actually a very interesting thing.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "More capabilities than I know what to do with"

    April 23, 2012  |   By Dr_Hipopotamo

    Version: Blender 2.62

    Pros

    This is a great software. I'm not much of an animator, but I've tried some things with it and it works well. I've heard that it's professional quality, which is amazing for a freeware. If you can figure out a way to learn it, go for it. This should help. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

    Cons

    Hard to figure out. Maybe it's just me, but I'm totally new to animation software, and I would be lost without the link I provided. Also, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to export a video that I had animated into an actual video file. It seems there are plugins you can download for that kind of thing. I know you can get one on creativecow.net to export into after effects. Only problem is that the tutorial and this plugin were both made for version 2.49. The current version is newer, and some things are different. If you can understand the software and have the plugins you need, I don't see anything wrong with it. Just be warned, rendering video takes a LONG time (hours), A faster computer does help, but even then, there's quite a wait. Make sure you save a lot as asking too much of your processor can also crash the program.

    Summary

    If you have a decent-sized hard drive, I don't see any reason not to get this. It's fun to have even if you can't do a tenth of the things that are possible. Don't expect it to be easy to learn, or to do complicated things (especially rendering) quickly. If you're looking for professional-quality software, I would strongly recommend it, but then again, I'm nowhere near professional quality, so what do I know?

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Awesome 3D picture and animation making program!"

    December 15, 2011  |   By AJman14

    Version: Blender 2.61

    Pros

    Very easy to use, realistic forces. They also have a very nice set of tutorials at http://www.blender.org/education-help/tutorials/?vm=r

    Cons

    Hard to get used to the functions.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Excellent product and it's free and open source :)"

    October 26, 2011  |   By shellcodes_coder

    Version: Blender 2.60a

    Pros

    Great product and it's open source :)

    Cons

    No cons, it's free and open source

    Summary

    It's a really powerful modeling package. It's free and open source. As an OpenGL programmer it's source code was very, very helpful. Open source is the future :)

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Results 1-10 of 138

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