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Full user review
"Blender: The Hidden Surface"
Blender has a lot of features and it's free but one of its best known facts is its steep learning-curve. As usual, there's more to Blender than what most people see...
Being in the field of education and having been a student, I know how hard it is for emerging educational institutions to budget licenses for expensive high-end professional software. In the rapidly moving (no pun) field of 3D animation, this is an even bigger problem when having to invest such large amounts of money to purchase packages such as Maya (single retail $7000 on 16/5/2007) for large numbers of students when new versions get released very quickly. In some parts of the world, the course fee can be many times cheaper than the license of the software itself.
With open-source digital art packages like Blender, artistic freedom can finally reach everyone. Now the competition need not only be between the rich. This is also good news for commercial application developers as now there are lesser reasons for people to pirate their software and there is potential for a growth in the industry. Open-source still has an advantage even if commercial software is available for free since the GNU GPL makes the source code available to everyone so people can become developers of such powerful software instead of just being users.
Nothing is perfect