Blender's New Version Has Many 3D Modeling Improvements
Blender, an open source 3D modeling application so powerful it has been used to create high-quality, full-length animated films, is out in a new version 2.49. The announcement of the new version is here, including details on many significant new improvements. Among other things, it looks like developers are paying a lot more attention to video capabilities, which could make Blender a bigger player in movies and online video offerings.
Video Smarts. You can view Feature Videos demonstrating the capabilities of the new version of Blender online. The application's Game Engine now supports multiple streams of video textures for interactive playback in various environments. The streams can be video files, URLs for video files, image files, video captures, camera rendered video or other types. The Game Engine also performs faster now.
Extensions, Extensions. There are also many extensions available for use with the new version, in the form of Python scripts. You can view the Scripts Catalog of over 300 extensions here.
The Dome View. Among other interesting new additions in version 2.49 is real-time dome rendering. This allows Blender artists to visualize their projects within immersive dome environments, as seen at left. There are full domes, truncated domes, and other views.
Blender is an old and very feature rich application, and it's a lot of fun to use. If you're new to it, spend some time learning the basics. This post has an excellent collection of 25 Blender tutorials, and we also covered a good, free online book on Blender here. Also note that there is an ambitious new version 2.5 of Blender in the works, with details available.