Blender software. Source: blender.org
Blender software. Source: blender.org

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics program used for creating films, visual effects, 3D models, and video games. Blender was created by the Dutch animation studio Neo Geo and was written by Ton Roosendaal. Roosendaal created Not a Number Technologies (NaN) in 1998 to develop the program until the company went bankrupt in June, 2002. In July, 2002, enough funds were donated to release the source code for Blender, which is how it became free and open-source software.

Blender Software Features

Blender 2.5 has a fully customizable interface, character modeling, rigging, solids modeling, animation, rendering, UV unwrapping, raytrace rendering, physics and particles system, shading, realtime 3D/game creation, imaging and compositing, extensible, and camera and motion tracking. Supported platforms are Windows XP, Vista 7, Mac OS X (PPC and Intel), Linux, and FreeBSD.

Blender Software File Format

Blender uses .blend files. Blender files start with a header, the version, endianness, pointer size, the file’s DNA, and a collection of binary blocks storing the actual data. Blender files are difficult to convert, although there are software packages, such as readblend, to convert the files.

Blender Software Reviews

Users have found that Blender is harder to use than other programs largely due to hotkeys as the only method of giving commands in earlier versions. Blender has responded to the criticism by creating more comprehensive GUI menus. The newer versions are described as more intuitive and most users learn by community tutorials and discussion forums. There is also an online user manual.  Blender has been used in projects such as Spider Man 2 for the storyboard, shows on the History Channel, and The Secret of Kells.