September 23, 2008

Cool Tools: Blender

Imagine trying to create “Finding Nemo” with free software. That’s the concept of Blender in a nutshell.

Blender is a free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems. It has robust features similar in scope to other high-end 3D software such as Softimage, Cinema 4D, Lightwave and Maya.

Among its capabilities are support for a variety of geometric primitives, including polygon meshes, fast subdivision surface modeling, Bezier curves, NURBS surfaces, metaballs, digital sculpting, and outline fonts. If you’re not into 3D design just yet, know that those features mean that Blender is a serious piece of free software!

Blender is full of features and it really puts to shame a lot of similar commercial software. Anyone who's ever been curious about computer-generated images should try playing with Blender. It’s a great alternative for students who might not want to fork over hundreds of dollars for software they may or may not enjoy.

If you’re looking to get started with Blender, you need to go through a lot of internet tutorials because the software is difficult to learn. Just Google the software and you’ll find numerous sites that provide tutorials for Blender. Tutorials are extremely recommended, especially to people new to this type of program.

Blender is a great 3D suite with a huge set of tools. A word of warning: using Blender is time-consuming. It is not software that’s easily learned and it takes a lot to learn the ropes. But for free software with this much power, it does not get any better than Blender.