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Blender – best freeware 3D image creation software

Blender interface screenshotBlender is the open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. Available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. Blender therefore is fully free to use and distribute within any educational, professional or commercial environment. Artwork created with Blender – including python scripts – is the sole property of the creator.

There are main Blender features:

Interface

  • Revolutionary non-overlapping and non-blocking UI delivers unsurpassed workflow
  • Flexible and fully configurable window layout with as many screen setups as you prefer
  • Undo support on all levels
  • Powerful built-in database system allowing instances, scene management, and dynamic linking multiple project files
  • Anti-aliased fonts with international translation support
  • Windows for animation curves/keys, outliner, schematic scene diagram, non-linear video sequence editing, character animation action editor, non-linear animation mixer, image/UV editing, file/image selection and file management
  • Built-in text editor for annotations and editing Python scripts
  • Consistent interface across all platforms 

Modeling

  • A range of 3D object types including polygon meshes, NURBS surfaces, bezier and B-spline curves, metaballs, vector fonts (TrueType, PostScript, OpenType)
  • ‘Smooth proxy’ style catmull-clark subdivision surfaces with optimal iso-lines display and sharpness editing
  • Mesh modeling based on vertex, edge and/or face selection
  • Boolean mesh functions
  • Editing functions such as extrude, bevel, cut, spin, screw, warp, subdivide, noise, smooth Soft selection editing tools for organic modeling
  • Python scripting access for custom tools

Animation

  • Armature (skeleton) deformation with forward/inverse kinematics, auto skinning and interactive 3D paint for vertex weighting
  • Non-linear animation mixer with automated walkcycles along paths
  • Constraint system
  • Vertex key framing for morphing, with controlling sliders
  • Character animation pose editor
  • Animatable lattice deformation
  • ‘Ipo’ system integrates both motion curve and traditional key-frame editing
  • Audio playback, mixing and editing support for sound synchronisation
  • Python scripting access for custom and procedural animation effects

Rendering

  • Very fast inbuilt raytracer
  • Integral support for the famous Yafray render engine
  • Oversampling, motion blur, post-production effects, fields, non-square pixels
  • Environment maps, halos, lens flares, fog
  • Various surface shaders such as Lambert, Phong, Oren-nayar, Blinn, Toon
  • Edge rendering for toon shading
  • Procedural Textures
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Radiosity solver
  • Export scripts available for external renderers such as Renderman (RIB), Povray, Virtualight
  • UV texture editor with various mesh unwrap modes

Realtime 3D/game creation

  • Graphical editor for defining interactive behavior without programming
  • Collision detection and dynamics simulation
  • Python scripting API for sophisticated control and AI, fully defined advanced game logic
  • Supports all OpenGL lighting modes, including transparencies, Animated and reflection-mapped textures
  • Playback of games and interactive 3D content without compiling or preprocessing
  • Audio, using the SDL toolkit
  • Multi-layering of Scenes for overlay interfaces
  • Files

  • Save all scene data in a single .blend file
  • .blend format supports compression, digital signatures, encryption, forwards/backwards compatibility and can be used as a library to link to from other .blend files
  • Read / Write TGA, JPG, PNG, Iris, SGI Movie, IFF, AVI and Quicktime GIF, TIFF, PSD, MOV (Windows and Mac OS X)
  • Native import and export for DXF, Inventor and VRML files, with python scripts available for many other 3D formats
  • Create stand-alone executables containing interactive 3D content or play back with the 3d web browser plugin

Supported Platforms

  • Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP
  • Mac OS X
  • Linux (i386)
  • Linux (PPC)
  • FreeBSD 5.3 (i386)
  • SGI Irix 6.5
  • Sun Solaris 2.8 (sparc)

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