Intro to Blender. The OpenSource Animation Software

Below is a summary, which I prepared few days back, on the world’s 1st open source movie and Blender (the open source 3d modelling software used to create it).

World’s first open source movie! It is named Elephants Dreams. It is a 11 mins short created by some volunteers in 9 months using only open source softwares. It created quite a stir when it was released. Half million of this has been downloaded! The 3d modelling & animation has been done entirely using the open source 3d modelling software Blender. It is open source since all its production files have been realeased! This movie has been released under Creative Common license .

Shots from the movie

Some notable features of blender (ref: wikipedia, official site):-

  1. Has animation tools like fluid dynamics and soft body.
  2. Has in-built ray tracer plus has native support for external ray tracer — yafray.
  3. Has in-built game engine. This game engine can be “programmed” by just connecting some boxes (logic bricks).
  4. Has in-built sculpting tool like SharpConstruct. This year blender has been granted 3 projects for Google Summer of Code 2006; one of them will enhance blender‘s sculpting tool to even greater height than SharpConstruct.
  5. Basic non-linear video editing and compositing capabilities.
  6. Has very small footprint (Windows installer is 6.5MB) and is available for many platforms, viz. Windows, Mac, Linux, Solarix and FreeBSD.
  7. Has integrated Python interpreter. Hence you can code in the popular Python language for which many documentations are already available and is very easy to learn.
(Version 2.42 is out with lots of goodies see here)

Blender is slightly hard to learn (like Maya). But you have many active communities where you can post your problem and you will get a helpful reply within an hour. The most active English forum is Blender forum). You have even lots of video tutorials. The most notable progress in this direction is the Blender Summer of Documentation 2006. For the first time Blender Foundation this summer will be granting 10 people 500 EUR for substantial contribution to documenting blender.

Quick links to important Blender related sites:-

More links at this and this.

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