Video Editing Tools: An Introduction to Blender (software)

In the world of video editing tools, Blender is a popular 3D graphics tool that's often used for modeling, texturing, UV unwrapping, rigging, smoke and water simulation, rendering, animating, and skinning. It is also used for simulating, editing non-linear work, compositing and for the making of 3D applications including visual effects, video games, and animated film.

History

Neo Geo, the Dutch animation company, created Blender for their own benefit and it took some years for it to enter the public domain and become free software. The primary author of Blender was Ton Roosendaal. It began being distributed as shareware by Not a Number Technologies who went on to declare bankruptcy in 2002.

Features

Features of Blender include simulation tools that are very advanced, such as realistic body simulators, cloth, fluid, dynamics for soft body rendering, animation tools for creating powerful bodies, node based materials, and script embedding technology. Blender has a feature set that is robust, and is comparable to high-end software such as Maya Cinema 4D, LightWave, and 3ds Max.

Blender features a file system that is internal and allows users to place many scenes into one file. Blender can act as a library from which content that's already been made can be borrowed. Files can also be automatically saved by the program, to avoid the risk of losing valuable work. All added effects for post production, textures, materials, sounds, images, scenes and objects for a complete animation can be saved in one single file - a real plus for any creator. Configurations for the interface are stored in files so that what is saved is exactly what is returned when the content is re-accessed. Import and export scripts running within Blender make inter operation with other 3D tools possible. Blender doesn't take up a great deal of disk space and can be run on most popular operating systems.   

User Friendliness

The Blender interface is notoriously difficult to learn, but after some time most users find that they are able to master it. Almost every function comes with a shortcut on the keyboard. Color themes and a tree overview are some improvements that have come along in recent years.

Editing Modes

There are two main ways in which to work, and they are the object mode and the edit mode, and users are able to toggle between them using the Tab key. The object mode is there to allow for the manipulation of objects as a whole, and the edit mode allows actual alterations to be made to specific data.

Visual Interface

One or more screens are visible, which can easily be divided into different sections. The sections can be divided into even smaller sections, and there are a number of types of window available to the user.

Popularity

Blender is extremely popular. Most devotees learn how to use Blended through tutorials in the online community and forums for discussion, such as Blender Artists. The first major commercial project that made use of a free version of Blender was Spider Man 2. Blender is a very useful tool once you know how to use it well.