Get Up to Speed with Blender, for Graphics and Animation Panache
Among graphics and animation software applications, including expensive proprietary ones, there are few substitutes for Blender, which is a powerful open source 3D modeling, graphics and animation product, for which there are many community-driven resources. Blender is in fact 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.
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.
To get going with Blender very quickly, the free online book Blender Basics remains the best way to go. Once you've digested the material there, try the Tufts course and you'll be well on your way to doing graphics and animation with some serious panache.