Free Resources for Becoming an Advanced Animator with Blender
In the graphics and animation software arena, you can find plenty of expensive, proprietary applications, but few are as powerful as Blender, which is a free, powerful open source 3D modeling, graphics and animation product. Blender is so powerful that it's been used to create very professional looking full-length animated movies. Here are six movies and animations created with Blender. In this post, you'll find our updated collection of resources for getting started with this powerful--and extremely fun--application. All the learning resources collected here are free and instantly available.
Blender 3D: Noob to Pro is a free wikibook on using Blender. It's very thorough, and you can jump through the Table of Contents from the home wiki page. There are graphics that take you through exercices such as rendering a goblet, lighting and spinning your goblet, and more. For getting started with the application, it's a must-have resource.
Like any top-notch graphics and animation application, Blender has very flexible options for lighting scenes. Especially if you already have some facility with Blender, check out Aaron Powell's discussion of lighting and rendering techniques. Powell is the author of the book on these topics and knows his stuff.
Are you absolutely new to Blender? If so, the web, and the Blender.org site both have many Blender tutorials, and the free online book "Blender Basics" is a great place to start with the application. There are also many fee-based books on Blender, and one is reviewed here. Still, Blender is one of those open source wonders for which the free resources are easily as good as any fee-based ones.
As we've covered before, if you have the time to spare, Tufts University's free online course on Blender is absolutely outstanding. The Tufts free online Blender course is broken up into Learning Units, as seen here, and if you go through the whole course you get 68 hours of education. Of all the Blender resources we've collected, the Tufts material is the richest, and it's also fun to go through the online course. Just be advised that it requires a time commitment.