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If you are a 3D animation enthusiast, you probably have tried many 3D production software such like Maya, 3ds Max, most of which are extremely expensive for individuals and small businesses. Fortunately, there is an alternative that can compete with them on functionality and performance, and is free, open-source, cross-platform, very lightweight and full-featured 3D creation program – Blender (from Holland), which provides a series of solutions for producing animated short films, including modeling, animations, materials, rendering, audio processing, video clipping, and more.
Blender is designed for a variety of media industry workers and artists, provides multiple user interfaces that are easy to use under different working environments. It supports various of polygon drawing methods, comes with advanced film & television and animation solutions, integrates Python as its built-in scripts, supports for multiple third-party renderers (such as YafaRay, Freestyle, Cycles), and also comes with a game engine and a real-time 3D render engine for creating interactive 3D content.
As a comprehensive 3D authoring tool, Blender at least provides the following features: Modeling, UV-Mapping, Texturing, Rigging, Skinning, Animation, Particles, Physics (physical simulation of other systems), Scripting, Rendering, Motion Tracking, Compositing, Post-production, and game production.
The program code of Blender is refinedly written in C, C++, and Python. It has pretty rich sets of functions, and is very user-friendly. The point is, Blender’s application effect is so amazing that in many aspects it’s not less than 3ds Max at all. With Blender, users who are interested in 3D drawing can make their favorite 3D models without any cost on money, and animation creation amateurs will be able to open their animation journey totally!
// Key Features //
|Photorealistic Rendering||Blender now features a powerful new unbiased rendering engine called Cycles that offers stunning ultra-realistic rendering.
The built-in Cycles rendering engine offers:
|Fast Modeling||Blender’s comprehensive array of modeling tools make creating, transforming and editing your models a breeze.
Blender’s modeling tools include:
With Blender’s new rendering engine the possibilities for materials are endless.
Key features are:
|Fast Rigging||Transforming a model into a posable character has never been easier!
Blender offers an impressive set of rigging tools including:
|Animation toolset||Whether it’s simple keyframing or complex walk-cycles, Blender allows artists to turn their still characters into impressive animations.
Blender’s animation feature set offers:
|Sculpting||Experience the joy of sculpting organic subjects using the built-in sculpting feature set of Blender.
Sculpting in Blender includes:
|Fast UV Unwrapping||Easily unwrap your mesh right inside Blender, and use image textures or paint your own directly onto the model.
Blender allows for:
|Full Compositor||Blender comes with a fully fledged compositor built right in. That means no more exporting to third party programs, you can do it all without leaving the program.
The compositor comes with:
|Amazing Simulations||Whether you need a crumbling building, rain, fire, smoke, fluid, cloth or full on destruction, Blender delivers great looking results.
Blender’s simulation tools include
|Game Creation||Included in Blender is a complete game engine, allowing you to create a fully featured 3d game right inside Blender.
The game engine includes:
|Camera and Object tracking||Blender now includes production ready camera and object tracking. Allowing you to import raw footage, track the footage, mask areas and see the camera movements live in your 3d scene. Eliminating the need to switch between programs.
The Camera and Object Tracker includes:
|Library of Extensions||With a large community of enthusiasts and developers, Blender comes loaded with a vast array of extensions that you can turn on or off easily.
Some existing extensions include:
|Video Editing||Blender even comes with a built-in Video Editor.
The Video Editor allows you to perform basic actions like video cuts and splicing, as well as more complex tasks like video masking.
The Video Editor includes:
|File Formats||Blender comes packed with import/export support for many different programs.
|Flexible Interface||Novice and advanced users will love the ability to customize their layout completely. From simply splitting their viewport, to fully customizing it with python scripting, blender works for you.
Blender’s interface also offers:
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