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.
From Blender Foundation:
Blender is the open-source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. It is available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. Its animations systems support a variety of techniques and tasks, allowing the creation of complex animations.
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All versions:4.0 stars
out of 144 votes
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"All this power and it is free?!!"
Version: Blender 2.68
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)
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.
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.
Version: Blender 2.67b
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!
Steep learning curve, non-intuitive interface, but its stable, works great and its free, so who cares.
Probably the best open source software in the world.
"One tool for all 3D works."
Version: Blender 2.64a
Extensive Python api
All features at fingure tips
Support for various formats
Very good community
Good quality tutorials
Good number of tutorials
Builtin Game Engine
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.
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.
"More capabilities than I know what to do with"
Version: Blender 2.62
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
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.
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?
"Awesome 3D picture and animation making program!"
Version: Blender 2.61
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
Hard to get used to the functions.
"Excellent product and it's free and open source :)"
Version: Blender 2.60a
Great product and it's open source :)
No cons, it's free and open source
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 :)
Version: Blender 2.59
Free, loaded with everything you need to animate, model, and enjoy.
Some people say theirs crashes sometimes. I think it may be processor power or type that causes the crash. Just save more often.
You can not beat this software. It matches up with so many high end free soft-wares out there today. Open Office, Paint.net, and so many more are surprisingly powerful to a level that people can not use all the options. I took two classes on Blender - it is amazing and powerful!!I wish I could upload some of my work.
Updated on Sep 24, 2011
Version: Blender 2.57b
a good opportunity to create...eksperemintirovat...learn...
hard to learn-easy...in work...
those who are not afraid of difficulties -recommend it!
"was not what i was looking for...i think"
Version: Blender 2.49b
it loaded. i opened it ,if i become more knowledgable i may try it again.
i could not seem to load files to work with , or create anything.it asked me to download additional vyper or something(i did) . software did not seem to have a recognizable workflow .gui was sparse and cryptic.
i was probably the weak link .i would give it the benefit of the doubt and download it .especially if you are a game developer.ME? i'm just some shmuck that would like to animate his original artwork , and add his original music,narration, foley, and sweetener track .in a usable file format like avi,mp4 ,wmv,flv ,etc..
.apparently i need to up my game a bit.
"Blender 2.5 it out with User Interface very improved."
Version: Blender 2.49b
Long list of features, Ease of Use -- Yes, I mean EASE OF USE Beginning with the New User Interface in 2.5
The Blender 3D Community is growing, and it should grow faster as it's is integrated with ADOBEs great 3D Engine it has licensed for Flash announced at Adobe MAX 2011, and additionally the "Molehill 3D APIs"
AutoDesk has its followers entrenched.
But the long term future, I believe, is in the hands of the Open Source Blender 3D project. Adobe's "Hero" SDK for high-performance Mobile Gaming Experience as well as its 4k Full frame-rate Video experience with at time 0% CPU usage, demonstrated at Adobe MAX 2010, shows that there are changes in the wind here. More of us will write Python extensions and more of us will support The Blender Foundation which has brought us short-titles, but of the highest quality and storyline, such as Big Buck Bunny and many others ... see www.Blender.org