Blender (software)

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics, interactive 3D applications, and computer games. Blender's features include 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, rendering, motion graphics, video editing, and compositing.

Blender 2.81 on Windows 10
Original author(s)Ton Roosendaal
Developer(s)Blender Foundation
Initial releaseJanuary 2, 1994 (1994-01-02)[1]
Stable release
2.81a (December 5, 2019 (2019-12-05)) [±]
Preview release
2.82 Alpha[2] [±]
Written inC, C++, and Python
Operating systemWindows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD[3], OpenBSD[4], NetBSD[5], DragonFly BSD[6], Haiku[7]
Size77 – 157 MiB (varies by operating system)[8]
Type3D computer graphics software
Alexa rank 4,324 (Global, December 2019)[10]

In 2019, the integrated game engine for making and prototyping games was removed with the release of 2.80.[11]


The Dutch animation studio NeoGeo (not associated with the Neo Geo video game brand) started to develop Blender as an in-house application, and based on the timestamps for the first source files, January 2, 1994 is considered to be Blender's birthday.[12] The version 1.00 was released in January 1995,[13] with the primary author being company co-owner and software developer Ton Roosendaal. The name Blender was inspired by a song by the Swiss electronic band Yello, from the album Baby which NeoGeo used in its showreel.[14][15] Some of the design choices and experiences for Blender were carried over from an earlier software called Traces, that Ton Roosendaal developed for NeoGeo on the Commodore Amiga platform during the 1987–1991 period.[16]

On January 1, 1998, Blender was released publicly online as SGI freeware.[1] NeoGeo was later dissolved and its client contracts were taken over by another company. After NeoGeo's dissolution, Ton Roosendaal founded Not a Number Technologies (NaN) in June 1998 to further develop Blender, initially distributing it as shareware until NaN went bankrupt in 2002. This also meant, at the time, discontinuing the development of Blender.[17]

In May 2002, Roosendaal started the non-profit Blender Foundation, with the first goal to find a way to continue developing and promoting Blender as a community-based open-source project. On July 18, 2002, Roosendaal started the "Free Blender" campaign, a crowdfunding precursor.[18][19] The campaign aimed for open-sourcing Blender for a one-time payment of €100,000 (US$100,670 at the time) collected from the community.[20] On September 7, 2002, it was announced that they had collected enough funds and would release the Blender source code. Today, Blender is free and open-source software largely developed by its community, alongside 15 employees employed by the Blender Institute.[21]

The Blender Foundation initially reserved the right to use dual licensing, so that, in addition to GPLv2, Blender would have been available also under the Blender License that did not require disclosing source code but required payments to the Blender Foundation. However, they never exercised this option and suspended it indefinitely in 2005.[22] Blender is solely available under "GNU GPLv2 or any later" and was not updated to the GPLv3, as "no evident benefits" were seen.[23]

Suzanne, the "monkey" mascot

In January–February 2002 it was clear that NaN could not survive and would close its doors in March. Nevertheless, they put out one more release, 2.25. As a sort-of easter egg, and last personal tag, the artists and developers decided to add a 3D model of a chimpanzee head, although it is called a "monkey" in the software. It was created by Willem-Paul van Overbruggen (SLiD3), who named it Suzanne after the orangutan in the Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Suzanne is Blender's alternative to more common test models such as the Utah Teapot and the Stanford Bunny. A low-polygon model with only 500 faces, Suzanne is often used as a quick and easy way to test material, animation, rigs, texture, and lighting setups and is also frequently used in joke images. Suzanne is still included in Blender. The largest Blender contest gives out an award called the Suzanne Award.

Release history

The following table lists notable developments during Blender's release history; green indicates the current version (2.81), yellow indicates currently supported versions, and red indicates versions that are no longer supported (though many later versions can still be used on modern systems).

Version Release Date[24] Notes and key changes
Old version, no longer supported: 2.03 2002 Handbook The official Blender 2.0 guide.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.25 October 13, 2002 First ever free version.[25]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.30 November 22, 2003 New GUI; edits are now revertible.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.32 February 3, 2004 Ray tracing in internal renderer; support for YafaRay.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.34 August 5, 2004 LSCM-UV-Unwrapping, object-particle interaction.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.37 May 31, 2005 Simulation of elastic surfaces; improved subdivision surface.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.40 December 22, 2005 Greatly improved system and character animations (with a non-linear editing tool), and added a fluid and hair simulator. New functionality was based on Google Summer of Code 2005.[26]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.41 January 25, 2006 Improvements of the game engine (programmable vertex and pixel shaders, using Blender materials, split-screen mode, improvements to the physics engine), improved UV mapping, recording of the Python scripts for sculpture or sculpture works with the help of grid or mesh (mesh sculpting) and set-chaining models.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.42 July 14, 2006 The film Elephants Dream resulted in high development as a necessity. In particular, the Node-System (Material- and Compositor) has been implemented.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.43 February 16, 2007 Sculpt-Modeling as a result of Google Summer of Code 2006.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.46 May 19, 2008 With the production of Big Buck Bunny, Blender gained the ability to produce grass quickly and efficiently.[27]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.48 October 14, 2008 Due to development of Yo Frankie!, the game engine was improved substantially.[28]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.49 June 13, 2009 New window and file manager, new interface, new Python API, and new animation system.[29]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.57 April 13, 2011 First official stable release of 2.5 branch: new interface, new window manager and rewritten event — and tool — file processing system, new animation system (each setting can be animated now), and new Python API.[30]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.58 June 22, 2011 New features, such as the addition of the warp modifier and render baking. Improvements in sculpting.[31]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.58a July 4, 2011 Some bug fixes, along with small extensions in GUI and Python interface.[32]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.59 August 13, 2011 3D mouse support.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.60 October 19, 2011 Developer branches integrated into the main developer branch: among other things, B-mesh, a new rendering/shading system, NURBS, to name a few, directly from Google Summer of Code.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.61 December 14, 2011 Render-Engine Cycles, Motion Tracking, Dynamic Paint, and Ocean Simulator.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.62 February 16, 2012 Motion tracking improvement, further expansion of UV tools, and remesh modifier. The first version to include the Cycles render engine.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.63 April 27, 2012 Bug fixes, B-mesh project: completely new mesh system with n-corners, plus new tools: dissolve, inset, bridge, vertex slide, vertex connect, and bevel.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.64 October 3, 2012 Green screen keying, node-based compositing.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.65 December 10, 2012 Over 200 bug fixes, support for the Open Shading Language, and fire simulation.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.66 February 21, 2013 Rigid body simulation available outside of the game engine, dynamic topology sculpting, hair rendering now supported in Cycles.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.67 May 7–30, 2013 Freestyle rendering mode for non-photographic rendering, subsurface scattering support added, the motion tracking solver is made more accurate and faster, and an add-on for 3D printing now comes bundled.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.68 July 18, 2013 Rendering performance is improved for CPUs and GPUs, support for NVIDIA Tesla K20, GTX Titan and GTX 780 GPUs. Smoke rendering improved to reduce blockiness.[33]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.69 October 31, 2013 Motion tracking now supports plane tracking, and hair rendering has been improved.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.70 March 19, 2014 Initial support for volume rendering and small improvements to the user interface.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.71 June 26, 2014 Support for baking in Cycles and volume rendering branched path tracing now renders faster.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.72 October 4, 2014 Volume rendering for GPUs, more features for sculpting and painting.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.73 January 8, 2015 New fullscreen mode, improved Pie Menus, 3D View can now display the world background.[34]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.74 March 31, 2015 Cycles got several precision, noise, speed, memory improvements, and a new Pointiness attribute.[34]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.75a July 1, 2015 Blender now supports a fully integrated Multi-View and Stereo 3D pipeline, Cycles has much awaited initial support for AMD GPUs, and a new Light Portals feature.[34]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.76b November 3, 2015 Cycles volume density render, Pixar OpenSubdiv mesh subdivision library, node inserting, and video editing tools.[34]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.77a April 6, 2016 Improvements to Cycles, new features for the Grease Pencil, more support for OpenVDB, updated Python library and support for Windows XP has been removed.[35]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.78c February 28, 2017 Spherical stereo rendering for VR, Grease Pencil improvements for 2D animations, Freehand curves drawing over surfaces, Bendy Bones, Micropolygon displacements, and Adaptive Subdivision. Cycles performance improvements.[36]
Older version, yet still supported: 2.79b September 11, 2017 Cycles denoiser, improved OpenCL rendering support, Shadow Catcher, Principled BSDF Shader, Filmic color management, improved UI and Grease Pencil functionality, improvements in Alembic import and export, surface deformities modifier, better animation keyframing, simplified video encoding, Python additions and new add-ons.[37]
Older version, yet still supported: 2.80 July 30, 2019 Revamped UI, added a dark theme[38], EEVEE realtime rendering engine on OpenGL, Principled shader[39], Workbench viewport[40], Grease Pencil 2D animation tool[41], multi-object editing, collections, GPU+CPU rendering, Rigify.[42]
Current stable version: 2.81 November 21, 2019 OpenVDB voxel remesh, transparent BSDF, brush curves preset in sculpting, WebM support.[43]


Official releases of Blender for Microsoft Windows, MacOS and Linux,[44] as well as a port for FreeBSD,[45] are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Though it is often distributed without the extensive example scenes found in some other programs,[46] the software contains features that are characteristic of high-end 3D software. Among its capabilities are:

  • Support for a variety of geometric primitives, including polygon meshes, fast subdivision surface modeling, Bezier curves, NURBS surfaces, metaballs, icospheres, multi-res digital sculpting (including dynamic topology, maps baking, remeshing, resymetrize, decimation), outline font, and a new n-gon modeling system called B-mesh.
  • Internal render engine with scanline rendering, indirect lighting, and ambient occlusion that can export in a wide variety of formats.
  • A pathtracer render engine called Cycles, which can take advantage of the GPU for rendering. Cycles supports the Open Shading Language since Blender 2.65.[47]
  • Integration with a number of external render engines through plugins.
  • Keyframed animation tools including inverse kinematics, armature (skeletal), hook, curve and lattice-based deformations, shape animations, non-linear animation, constraints, and vertex weighting.
  • Simulation tools for soft body dynamics including mesh collision detection, LBM fluid dynamics, smoke simulation, Bullet rigid body dynamics, ocean generator with waves.
  • A particle system that includes support for particle-based hair.
  • Modifiers to apply non-destructive effects.
  • Python scripting for tool creation and prototyping, game logic, importing/exporting from other formats, task automation and custom tools.
  • Basic non-linear video/audio editing.
  • A fully integrated node-based compositor within the rendering pipeline accelerated with OpenCL.
  • Procedural and node-based textures, as well as texture painting, projective painting, vertex painting, weight painting and dynamic painting.
  • Real-time control during physics simulation and rendering.
  • Camera and object tracking.
  • Grease Pencil tools for 2D animation within a full 3D pipeline.
  • The 3D viewport and UV editor have new interactive tools and gizmos, along with a new toolbar. These make it easier for new users to start using Blender, and for existing users to discover and use tools that previously required obscure key combinations.
  • The new contextual toolbars enable quick access to tools.
  • Eevee is a new physically based real-time renderer. It works both as a renderer for final frames, and as the engine driving Blender’s realtime viewport for creating assets.

Deprecated features

  • The Blender Game Engine was a built-in realtime graphics and logic engine with features such including collision detection, a dynamics engine, and programmable logic. It also allowed the creation of stand-alone, real-time applications ranging from architectural visualization to video games. In April 2018 it was removed from the upcoming Blender 2.8 release series, having long lagged behind other game engines such as the open-source Godot, and Unity.[11]
  • Blender Internal, a biased rasterization engine / scanline renderer used in the previous versions of Blender was also removed for the 2.80 release, in favor of the new Eevee renderer, a realtime PBR renderer.[48]

User interface

Blender's user interface incorporates the following concepts:

Editing modes
The two primary modes of work are Object Mode and Edit Mode, which are toggled with the Tab key. Object mode is used to manipulate individual objects as a unit, while Edit mode is used to manipulate the actual object data. For example, Object Mode can be used to move, scale, and rotate entire polygon meshes, and Edit Mode can be used to manipulate the individual vertices of a single mesh. There are also several other modes, such as Vertex Paint, Weight Paint, and Sculpt Mode.
Hotkey usage
Most of the commands are accessible via hotkeys. There are also comprehensive GUI menus.
Numeric input
Numeric buttons can be "dragged" to change their value directly without the need to aim at a particular widget, as well as being set using the keyboard. Both sliders and number buttons can be constrained to various step sizes with modifiers like the Ctrl and Shift keys. Python expressions can also be typed directly into number entry fields, allowing mathematical expressions to specify values.
Workspace management
The Blender GUI builds its own tiled windowing system on top of one or multiple windows provided by the underlying platform. One platform window (often sized to fill the screen) is divided into sections and subsections that can be of any type of Blender's views or window-types. The user can define multiple layouts of such Blender windows, called screens, and switch quickly between them by selecting from a menu or with keyboard shortcuts. Each window-type's own GUI elements can be controlled with the same tools that manipulate 3D view. For example, one can zoom in and out of GUI-buttons using similar controls, one zooms in and out in the 3D viewport. The GUI viewport and screen layout are fully user-customizable. It is possible to set up the interface for specific tasks such as video editing or UV mapping or texturing by hiding features not used for the task.[49]

Hardware requirements

Blender hardware requirements[50]
Hardware Minimum Recommended Production-standard
Processor 32-bit dual core 2 GHz CPU with SSE2 support 64-bit quad core CPU 64-bit eight core CPU
Memory 4 GB RAM 16 GB RAM 32 GB RAM
Graphics card OpenGL 3.3 compatible card with 1 GB video RAM OpenGL 4 or Higher compatible card with 4 GB video RAM OpenGL 4 or Higher compatible cards with 12 GB video RAM
Display 1280×768 pixels, 24-bit color 1920×1080 pixels, 24-bit color Dual 1920×1080 pixels, 24-bit color
Input Mouse or trackpad Three-button mouse Three-button mouse and graphics tablet
OpenGL version 1.4 (Blender 2.76 and earlier) 2.1 (Blender 2.77 up to 2.79b) 3.3 (Blender 2.8)

Supported platforms

Blender is available for Windows 7 and above, Mac OS X 10.6 and above, and Linux. Blender 2.76b is the last supported release for Windows XP and version 2.63 was the last supported release for PowerPC.[50]

File format

Blender features an internal file system that can pack multiple scenes into a single file (called a ".blend" file).

  • All of Blender's ".blend" files are forward, backward, and cross-platform compatible with other versions of Blender, with the following exceptions:
    • Loading animations stored in post-2.5 files in Blender pre-2.5. This is due to the reworked animation subsystem introduced in Blender 2.5 being inherently incompatible with older versions.
    • Loading meshes stored in post 2.63. This is due to the introduction of BMesh, a more versatile mesh format.
  • All scenes, objects, materials, textures, sounds, images, post-production effects for an entire animation can be stored in a single ".blend" file. Data loaded from external sources, such as images and sounds, can also be stored externally and referenced through either an absolute or relative pathname. Likewise, ".blend" files themselves can also be used as libraries of Blender assets.
  • Interface configurations are retained in the ".blend" files.

A wide variety of import/export scripts that extend Blender capabilities (accessing the object data via an internal API) make it possible to interoperate with other 3D tools.

Blender organizes data as various kinds of "data blocks", such as Objects, Meshes, Lamps, Scenes, Materials, Images and so on. An object in Blender consists of multiple data blocks – for example, what the user would describe as a polygon mesh consists of at least an Object and a Mesh data block, and usually also a Material and many more, linked together. This allows various data blocks to refer to each other. There may be, for example, multiple Objects that refer to the same Mesh and making subsequent editing of the shared mesh result in shape changes in all Objects using this Mesh. Objects, meshes, materials, textures etc. can also be linked to from other .blend files, which is what allows the use of .blend files as reusable resource libraries.

Import and export

The software supports a variety of 3D file formats for import and export, among them Alembic, 3D Studio (3DS), Filmbox (FBX), Autodesk (DXF), SVG, STL (for 3D printing), VRML and X3D.

Video editing

Blender features a fully functional, production-ready Non-Linear video editor called Video Sequence Editor or VSE for short. Blender's VSE has many features including effects like Gaussian Blur, color grading, Fade and Wipe transitions, and other video transformations. However, there is no multi-core support for rendering video with VSE.

Cycles rendering engine

Cycles is a path-tracing render engine that is designed to be interactive and easy to use, while still supporting many features.[51] It has been included with Blender since 2011, with the release of Blender 2.61.

GPU rendering

Cycles supports GPU rendering, which is used to speed up rendering times. There are three GPU rendering modes: CUDA, which is the preferred method for older Nvidia graphics cards; OptiX, which utilizes the hardware ray-tracing capabilities of Nvidia's Turing architecture; and OpenCL, which supports rendering on AMD graphics cards.

Multiple GPUs are also supported, which can be used to create a render farm – although having multiple GPUs doesn't increase the available memory, because each GPU can only access its own memory.[52]

Supported features[53]
Feature CPU CUDA OpenCL
Basic shading Yes Yes Yes
Shadows Yes Yes Yes
Motion blur Yes Yes Yes
Hair Yes Yes Yes
Volume Yes Yes Yes
Smoke and fire Yes Yes Yes
Subsurface scattering Yes Yes Yes
Open Shading Language (OSL) Yes No No
Correlated multi-jittered sampling Yes Yes Yes
Branched path integrator Yes Yes Yes
Experimental features
Displacement and subdivision Experimental Experimental Experimental


The integrator is the core rendering algorithm used for lighting computations. Cycles currently supports a path tracing integrator with direct light sampling. It works well for a variety of lighting setups, but it is not as suitable for caustics and certain other complex lighting situations. Rays are traced from the camera into the scene, bouncing around until they find a light source (a lamp, an object material emitting light, or the world background), or until they are simply terminated based on the number of maximum bounces determined in the light path settings for the renderer. To find lamps and surfaces emitting light, both indirect light sampling (letting the ray follow the surface bidirectional scattering distribution function, or BSDF) and direct light sampling (picking a light source and tracing a ray towards it) are used.[54]

The two types of integrators

  1. The default path tracing integrator is a "pure" path tracer. This integrator works by sending a number of light rays that act as photons from the camera out into the scene. These rays will eventually hit either: a light source, an object, or the world background. If these rays hit an object, they will bounce based on the angle of impact, and continue bouncing until a light source has been reached or until a maximum number of bounces, as determined by the user, which will cause it to terminate and result in a black, unlit pixel. Multiple rays are calculated and averaged out for each individual pixel, a process known as "sampling". This sampling number is set by the user and greatly affects the final image. Lower sampling often results in more noise and has the potential to create "fireflies" (which are uncharacteristically bright pixels), while higher sampling greatly reduces noise, but also increases render times.
  2. The alternative is a branched path tracing integrator, which works mostly the same way. Branched path tracing splits the light rays at each intersection with an object according to different surface components, and takes all lights into account for shading instead of just one. This added complexity makes computing each ray slower, but reduces noise in the render, especially in scenes dominated by direct (one-bounce) lighting.

Open Shading Language

Blender users can create their own nodes using the Open Shading Language (OSL), although it is important to note that this feature is not supported by GPUs.[55]


Materials define the look of meshes, NURBS curves, and other geometric objects. They consist of three shaders to define the mesh's surface appearance, volume inside, and surface displacement.[51]

Surface shader

The surface shader defines the light interaction at the surface of the mesh. One or more bidirectional scattering distribution functions, or BSDFs, can specify if incoming light is reflected, refracted into the mesh, or absorbed.[51] The alpha value is one measure of translucency.

Volume shader

When the surface shader does not reflect or absorb light, it enters the volume (light transmission). If no volume shader is specified, it will pass straight through (or be refracted, see refractive index or IOR) to another side of the mesh.

If one is defined, a volume shader describes the light interaction as it passes through the volume of the mesh. Light may be scattered, absorbed, or even emitted at any point in the volume.[51]

Displacement shader

The shape of the surface may be altered by displacement shaders. In this way, textures can be used to make the mesh surface more detailed.

Depending on the settings, the displacement may be virtual – only modifying the surface normals to give the impression of displacement (also known as bump mapping) – real, or a combination of real displacement with bump mapping.[51]

Demo reels

The Blender website contains several demo reels that showcase various features of Blender.[56]

Rendering engines

Engines included in Blender

  • CyclesUnbiased path tracing render engine. Included in Blender from version 2.61.[57]
  • EeveeReal-time PBR renderer. Render engine has been nicknamed Eevee,[58] later coined backronym — Extra Easy Virtual Environment Engine.[59] Included in Blender from version 2.8.[60]
  • Workbench — Using the default 3D viewport drawing system for modeling, texturing, etc.[40]

Past rendering engines:

  • Blender Render (Blender Internal) — Blender's non photorealistic renderer. It was removed from Blender in version 2.8.[48]
    • Render clay — Renderer is an add-on by Fabio Russo; it overwrites materials in Blender Internal or Cycles with a clay material in a chosen diffuse color. Included in Blender version 2.79.[61]
    • Blender Game Engine — A real-time renderer

External renderers

Free and open-source:[62]


  • Pixar RenderMan — Blender render addon for RenderMan
  • Octane Render — OctaneRender plugin for Blender
  • Indigo Renderer — Indigo for Blender
  • V-Ray — V-Ray for Blender, V-Ray Standalone is needed for rendering
  • Maxwell Render — B-Maxwell addon for Blender
  • Thea Render — Thea for Blender[66]
  • Corona Renderer — Blender To Corona exporter, Corona Standalone is needed for rendering[67]


Blender can be used to simulate smoke, rain, dust, cloth, water, hair and rigid bodies.[68]

Cloth simulation

A cloth is any piece of mesh that has been designated as 'cloth' in the physics tab.

Fluid simulation

Physics fluid simulation

The fluid simulator can be used for simulating liquids, like water hitting a cup.[69] It uses the Lattice Boltzmann methods to simulate the fluids and allows for lots of adjusting of the amount of particles and the resolution.

Particle fluid simulation

The particle physics fluid simulation creates particles that follow the Smoothed-particle hydrodynamics method.[70]


Since the opening of the source code, Blender has experienced significant refactoring of the initial codebase and major additions to its feature set.

Improvements include an animation system refresh;[71] a stack-based modifier system;[72] an updated particle system[73] (which can also be used to simulate hair and fur); fluid dynamics; soft-body dynamics; GLSL shaders support[74] in the game engine; advanced UV unwrapping;[75] a fully recoded render pipeline, allowing separate render passes and "render to texture"; node-based material editing and compositing; and projection painting.[76]

Part of these developments were fostered by Google's Summer of Code program, in which the Blender Foundation has participated since 2005.

Blender 2.8

Official planning for the next major revision of Blender after the 2.7 series began in the latter half of 2015, with potential targets including a more configurable UI (dubbed "Blender 101"), support for Physically based rendering (PBR) (dubbed EEVEE for "Extra Easy Virtual Environment Engine") to bring improved realtime 3D graphics to the viewport, allowing the use of C++11 and C99 in the codebase, moving to a newer version of OpenGL and dropping support for versions before 3.2, and a possible overhaul of the particle and constraint systems.[77][78] Blender Internal renderer has been removed from 2.8.[48] Code Quest was a project started in April 2018 set in Amsterdam, at the Blender Institute.[79] The goal of the project was to get a large development team working in one place, in order to speed up the development of Blender 2.8.[79] By June 29, 2018, the Code Quest project ended, and on July 2, the alpha version was completed.[80] Beta testing commenced on November 29, 2018 and was anticipated to take until July 2019.[81] Blender 2.80 has been released on July 30, 2019[82].


Blender is extensively documented on its website,[83] with the rest of the support provided via community tutorials and discussion forums on the Internet. The Blender Network provides support and social services for Blender professionals. Additionally, YouTube is known to have many video tutorials available for either Blender amateurs or professionals at no cost.

Modified versions

Due to Blender's open-source nature, other programs have tried to take advantage of its success by repackaging and selling cosmetically-modified versions of it. Examples include IllusionMage, 3DMofun, 3DMagix, and Fluid Designer,[84] the latter being recognized as Blender-based.

Use in the media industry

Open projects

Big Buck Bunny promotional poster
Sintel promotional poster
Tears of Steel promotional poster

Since 2005, every 1–2 years the Blender Foundation has announced a new creative project to help drive innovation in Blender.[125][126] In response to the success of the first project, Elephants Dream, the Blender Foundation founded the Blender Institute to do additional projects, with two projects announced at first: Big Buck Bunny, also known as Project Peach (a "furry and funny" short open animated film project), and Yo Frankie!, or Project Apricot (an open game in collaboration with the CrystalSpace game engine that reused some of the assets created for Peach).

Elephants Dream (Open Movie Project: Orange)

In September 2005, some of the most notable Blender artists and developers began working on a short film using primarily free software, in an initiative known as the Orange Movie Project hosted by the Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk). The codename, "Orange", in reference to the fruit, started the trend of giving each project a different fruity name. The resulting film, Elephants Dream, premiered on March 24, 2006.

Big Buck Bunny (Open Movie Project: Peach)

On October 1, 2007, a new team started working on a second open project, "Peach", for the production of the short movie Big Buck Bunny. This time, however, the creative concept was totally different. Instead of the deep and mystical style of Elephants Dream, things are more "funny and furry" according to the official site.[127] The movie had its premiere on April 10, 2008. This later made its way to Nintendo 3DS's Nintendo Video between 2012 and 2013.

Yo Frankie! (Open Game Project: Apricot)

"Apricot" is a project for production of a game based on the universe and characters of the Peach movie (Big Buck Bunny) using free software. The game is titled Yo Frankie!. The project started on February 1, 2008, and development was completed at the end of July 2008. A finalized product was expected at the end of August; however, the release was delayed. The game was released on December 9, 2008, under either the GNU GPL or LGPL, with all content being licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.[128]

Sintel (Open Movie Project: Durian)

The Blender Foundation's Project Durian[129] (in keeping with the tradition of fruits as code names) was this time chosen to make a fantasy action epic of about twelve minutes in length,[130] starring a teenage girl and a young dragon as the main characters. The film premiered online on September 30, 2010.[131] A game based on Sintel was officially announced on on May 12, 2010.[132][133]

Many of the new features integrated into Blender 2.5 and beyond were a direct result of Project Durian.

Tears of Steel (Open Movie Project: Mango)

On October 2, 2011, the fourth open movie project, codenamed "Mango", was announced by the Blender Foundation.[134][135] A team of artists assembled using an open call of community participation. It is the first Blender open movie to use live action as well as CG.

Filming for Mango started on May 7, 2012, and the movie was released on September 26, 2012. As with the previous films, all footage, scenes and models were made available under a free content compliant Creative Commons license.[136][135]

According to the film's press release, "The film's premise is about a group of warriors and scientists, who gather at the 'Oude Kerk' in Amsterdam to stage a crucial event from the past, in a desperate attempt to rescue the world from destructive robots."[137]

Cosmos Laundromat – First Cycle (Open Movie Project: Gooseberry)

On January 10, 2011, Ton Roosendaal announced that the fifth open movie project would be codenamed "Gooseberry" and that its goal would be to produce a feature-length animated film. He speculated that production would begin sometime between 2012 and 2014.[138] The film was to be written and produced by a coalition of international animation studios. The studio lineup was announced on January 28, 2014,[139] and production began soon thereafter. As of March 2014, a moodboard had been constructed[140] and development goals set. The initial ten minute pilot was released on YouTube on August 10, 2015.[141] It won the SIGGRAPH 2016 Computer Animation Festival Jury's Choice award.[142]

Glass Half

This project demonstrates real-time rendering capabilities using OpenGL for 3D cartoon animation. This project marks the end of the fruity naming scheme.


Caminandes is a series of animated short films and centers on the llama Koro in Patagonia and his attempts to overcome various obstacles. The series only became part of the Open Movie Project starting with the second episode.

  • Caminandes 1: Llama Drama (2013)
  • Caminandes 2: Gran Dillama (2013)
  • Caminandes 3: Llamigos (2016)

Agent 327: Operation Barbershop

Agent 327: Operation Barbershop is the three-minute teaser for a planned full-length animated feature and is based on the classic comics series Agent 327.


Hero is the first open movie project to demonstrate the capabilities of the Grease Pencil, a 2D animation tool in Blender 2.8.


On 25 October 2017, an upcoming animated short film named Spring was announced to be produced by the Blender Animation Studio. Spring was released April 4, 2019.[143][144] Its purpose was to test Blender 2.8's capabilities before its official release.[145] From the video description, 'Spring is the story of a shepherd girl and her dog, who face ancient spirits in order to continue the cycle of life. This poetic and visually stunning short film was written and directed by Andy Goralczyk, inspired by his childhood in the mountains of Germany.'

Online services

Blender Cloud

The Blender Cloud platform, launched in March 2014 and operated by the Blender Institute, is a subscription-based cloud computing platform and Blender client add-on which provides hosting and synchronization for backed-up animation project files.[146] It was launched to promote and fundraise for Project: Gooseberry, and is intended to replace the selling of DVDs by the Blender Foundation with a subscription-based model for file hosting, asset sharing and collaboration.[147][148] A feature of the Blender Cloud is Blender Sync, which provides synchronization between Blender clients for file changes, user preferences and other features.[149]

Blender ID

The Blender ID is a unified login for Blender software and service users, providing a login for Blender Cloud, the Blender Store, the Blender Conference, Blender Network, Blender Development Fund and the Blender Foundation Certified Trainer Program.[150]

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Further reading

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