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.
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 143 votes
Current version:5.0 stars
out of 1 votes
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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.