A new version of the open source 3d software Blender has just been released. Version 2.57 might not sound like much but it is in fact a milestone. This version is the result of several years of development of the 2.5 series including completely rewritten source code, redesigned user interface and bunches of new features.
Blender 2.57 is more smooth, intuitive and optimized, and feels like a new application compared to the 2.4 series. Blender is capable of any traditional 3D discipline: you can model, texture, rig, animate, render and so on. But Blender also includes advanced physics, particle systems including hair simulation, amazing sculpting features, a full blown sequence editor, advanced cloth, smoke and fluid simulations, and a node-based compositing system to mention some. See the list of recent changes here.
Blender comes in Linux, Windows and Mac versions and of course in both 32 and 64 bit versions. And don’t be fooled by the version numbering: In the Blender world huge improvements are made from version 2.44 to 2.45 to 2.46 and so on.
More than just an application – it’s a community
Most software has got annoying parts, bugs and features you would like to change. So ever tried calling the big software companies asking them to change a feature? Good luck, I’d say!
Blender is different. Blender is open source meaning it is created by the community for the community.
You can actually experience coders tweaking features or fixing bugs over night. The next day you can download a new version of Blender and that just continues. You gotta love that! Another point is that new features surface all the time because the creative people in the community just continue building on the open source code. This community driven dynamic is truly unique and is in my opinion the main point why Blender differentiates from commercial alternatives.
Conclusion: Try it
Blender is free to use, which is the reason you should try it. But Blender is also a feature-rich 3D application in constant development which is the reason you’ll continue using it.
Recent years Blender has grown to be a serious alternative to established packages like Maya and 3ds Max. For some the choice of 3D software is almost a religious thing, but again: Blender is free to use. Blender is updated constantly. Blender has a community where artist and developers are working together. Blender has got amazing features. And when you get used to the interface Blender has an incredibly fast work flow.