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Happy Birthday, Blender!

92

Happy Birthday, Blender! people blender foundation

Image: The Blenderest Birthday Cake Ever

Today is Blender's official 20th birthday! In order to celebrate, I invite everyone to share their first encounter with Blender, and talk about how it impacted their lives. I'll start with my personal story below.

This is my Blender story.

I'm not sure of the exact year anymore, but it must have been around 1996 or 1997 1998 (thanks, Ton! ;-). My Blender journey started when I first installed Linux on my desktop PC. Having finished the installation, I ended up with a system that allowed me to launch an XTerm, a clock, and a pair of eyes that followed my cursor around the screen.

In the years before, I used to do a lot of freelance computer animation work, and this got me thinking about Linux 3D software. I looked around, and found the just released Linux version of Blender - it must have been around version 1.36 or 1.37.

I still remember the total confusion Blender left me with. I couldn't even figure out how to quit it! Doing a 'kill' command was the only way I could think of!

Yet I was intrigued and continued to experiment. After a while I started to publish some simple tutorials (some of you may still remember those). I also found out that Blender's developer, one Ton Roosendaal, was actually Dutch, like me! I got in touch and visited him when he launched his first manual.

That moment was the start of a beautiful adventure - in the years after, I published tutorials, edited two 'Blender Tutorial Guides' for Ton (I just found the files of one of them and will publish them shortly, just for fun!). I then quit my job and went to work for Not a Number for two years. After the second bankruptcy I helped Ton launch the crowdfunding campaign to raise the €100,000 to buy back Blender's source code from the investors and release it as GPL code. I experimented a bit with the 'Blender Knowledge Base' and on January 3 (another birthday tomorrow! ;-), 2008 I started experimenting with blogging Blender news. You all know how that turned out.

I currently spend 1-2 hours a day running BlenderNation and it looks like I'll be involved with the Blender Institute some more this year - more on that later.

To me, Blender has always been an amazing passion that brings together so many talented, interesting, funny (and sometimes annoying!) people - I regard many of you as my friends, even if we may have only met a few times, or never at all. I truly can't imagine not having it in my life as it has influenced so many decisions I've made and things that I currently do. And not in the least, through BlenderNation, Blender helps me feed my family.

Thank you Ton, for your amazing and selfless gift!

Share.
  • http://cgcookie.com/blender/ Jonathan Williamson

    My first experience with Blender was with version 2.23 or 2.24. I played with it for a day or two and then dropped it. A few months later, though, that Summer, I picked it up again with version 2.26-7. That was ten years ago, and I haven't stopped playing since.

    Over those years I've released a variety of different tutorials, experimented with most every area of Blender, and thoroughly enjoyed watching the development continue to pick up pace. One of the most intriguing things over the last ten years has been watching how the rest of the CG world's outlook on Blender has come a full 360 degrees. For the first five or six years of working with Blender, it was practically professional suicide to mention it was your tool of choice. That and it was often the laughing stock of most forums. I learned early on to just focus on my work and continue happily using Blender, letting the nay-sayers keep on yapping. Looking back I sure don't regret it. Blender enabled me to start working professionally at 16, drop out of art college after just two years to go full-time freelance, and be happily self-employed ever since.

    When I started out I used Blender because I didn't know any better. Now I use Blender by choice. I could use any other software package if I wanted, but I stick with Blender because I believe in it. I believe in it's cause. And most of all I believe in it's community and it's great team of developers.

    • betasector

      180

      • http://cgcookie.com/blender/ Jonathan Williamson

        Good catch. Fixed.

  • Mason Menzies

    i first came across blender when i had a gaming problem. like 14 hours a day of mine craft. i wanted to know how to make mine craft animations and so i found blender. i soon learned that i was way more capable then stupid squares with textures and so i started making real scenes. i now own my own company name (mason blender render) yesterday i spent 14 hours not on a video game but on my new mascot. thank you blender for saving me. i have been using blender for almost a year now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Perkins/1537362116 Jerry Perkins

    I started blender in 2010. 2.49 was still used heavily and I was just getting my feet wet with 3d. I read about Blender in a book about making websites using 3d assets using Papervision3d. Blender was mentioned as a capable package that was free so I was like "ok lets give this a shot". Blender scared me the first 20 times I opened it but after I got into 2.5 did I begin to take it seriously. I remember once writing a very famous Blender Artist telling him I was interested in getting involved with the educational movement of Blender to which I was told I wasn't good enough. I still hold those words near and dear and since then have used Blender at least 350 / 365 days since. The magic I have shared with this program has earned my loyalty for life but no matter what software I use, my home is with Blender. Its my natural control scheme. Ive seen Blender grow to unfathomable size but the download never breaks 100 megs or even 90. Its the greatest application that I've ever used and my passion is only further driven with the hopes of someday being considered one of the best. First app i install on a new PC: Blender. First app I open in the morning: Blender. Even in this tumultuous time of UI changes and rewriting on inner workings. I will always be a user of the greatest program ever made.

    Thanks Ton for the matcap view. It came out of nowhere. Thanks Bart for the F2. I never knew F could be improved. Thanks Miika smoke just got even better. And of course Sergei for the tracker. Theres too many names to mention. Angela Guinette for showing me how to make a hand. And Johnathan for all the technical know how I know now. And Mr Price for teaching me composting and how to make scenes glamorous. Theres many many other names worth mentioning like Barton, Dinges and Brecht. I mean the Blender family is a genius family. Keep on keeping on and you'll be seeing me in the headlines. Keep making the software powerful and better and I'll be here endlessly rendering.

  • Craig David Jones

    Very interesting story! Mine is pretty simple - I was trying my hardest to work with Photoshop and Illustrator in a side venture, and kept thinking there had to be a better way to make 3d looking art without faking it so much. I looked up '3d' and 'free software' and found a few options, and looked at the galleries for each. Blender by far looked like the most capable, but the learning curve was steep with the whole program being in such a foreign terminology.

    I opened it once, and couldn't do anything, so I quit. I waited a month before I looked up tutorials again and read through some - they said 'mmb' and that is when I realized that the program needed a traditional 3 button mouse instead of the trackball oddity I was using at the time. Dusted off the old one, plugged in, and immediately got some results finally and saw more than just the top view of the default cube!

    One of the best resources I found was that there were so many free blend files available to download and dissect and learn from - and once I got into it, the best thing I could do was push buttons and try to crash, and figure out the results from the tools when I didn't. I had an edge on my friends in that I had taken the time to learn Blender, where they kept saying they would get to it eventually.

    A few years later I discovered that I could paint textures directly in Blender, and that just got better once I realized that we had Grease Pencil as well - and then I learned the compositor, and texturing became a dream with all the GSOC stuff.... last year, I finally started to paint only in Blender, and do most of my image processing and texture editing in Blender because of how deep the tools are. My friends that use just 2d programs are amazed, and slightly confused :D

    I think the best part of Blender, the richest feature, is the community as a whole. The one thing on my bucket list is to go to a Blender Conference to meet all the people that have helped me change my artistic direction, and to visit the place that started all this community. The Open projects have changed our perception of what is possible, and I am really looking to forward to what we can learn from the next year in the preparation for Gooseberry.

    Yes, thank you Ton, and Happy Birthday Blender!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Perkins/1537362116 Jerry Perkins

      go to the Blender Conference. That's my dream too! I wanna speak there someday. But first I must do things that are stageworthy.

      • Craig David Jones

        Maybe we take a group from Texas all at once :D

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Perkins/1537362116 Jerry Perkins

          I know Chris Haley will wanna get in on that.

  • Akash Gnanam

    My first experience with blender was a few versions ago where i had given up hope on finding a good free 3d program. I had previously used anim8or(why?!) but when i found this amazing piece of software i knew my troubles were over. The first proper scene i modeled apart from messing with the default cube was a glass on a table in BI and it looks horrible to me now but back then it was a miracle. Happy 20th Blender!

    • Dlord

      Whahaha i started with anim8tor to! i was just a kid, around 9 or 10.
      Then blender witch i deleted right away because of the interface, i was still around 10 or 11.
      Then stop-motion and drawn animation.
      Learned maya in school and decided to give blender another try because i heard of the new interface.
      I prefer blender over maya this present day.

  • Shinsaku

    I discovered Blender 6 years ago when I entered my schools computer sciences club (I was 14) :

    All the members of that club where really into the "open source" spirit and one of the guys was using Blender... So when the computer science club presented itself to the new students of the school (I was among them), it chose to show us The Big buck bunny movie to introduce Blender.

    ... ... I litteraly fell in love.

    In fact at that moment, I thought that The Big Buck Bunny was the clubs achievement. So I was so exited just thinking I could manage to do something that good by my own that when I learned the truth, it didn't matter... I was into this idea of doing computer graphics. Since then, I haven't stoped following all what was related to Blender : Blender.org, Blender cookie, Blender Guru, CG Masters, etc... I've watched as many tutorials as I could and I still continue.

    I think that it was on that first day that I decided I would work into 3D CG and 6 years later (today) I still affirm that I want to work in that domain !

    Moreover I try to spred my passion to others, I give Blender lessons to those who are intrested at my University and I have a YouTube Channel where I post French tutorials for beginners (I'm French : that explains all the spelling mistakes).

    I still havn't got the chance to try another 3D software however I think I've been well prepared. I love Blender, love it's comunity and love 3D Computer Graphics !!!

  • Derek Goff

    I started with Blender about 5 or 6 years ago and my story was much like everyone else who found the program. I loaded it up and quickly realized I couldn't do anything with it. So I closed it down and left it for months as well. In desperation I did some search on the internet and found a great community of Blender heads willing to help one another with tutorials and websites and forums. From that point on I have embraced Blender and everything it can do. Everyday I learn something new with the programs and it never seems to slow down.

    Blender was initially a tool for me to use at work creating archviz type renders of project sites my company was working on. My full time job is civil engineering but I always find time to Blend:) It seems like a long jump between civil engineering and 3D art but I guess that's kind of the way I have always been. A little bit of art and math makes for a well balanced brain diet:)

    Congrats Blender on your 20th birthday, here's hoping for many more to come!
    Thanks:)
    Derekg1080

  • Daniel Ordonez

    9 years ago 7 to 10 friends in my life, now thanks to blender I have more than 1000 friends that share with me the same passion, for me Blender is more than a software that came with a lot of support, Blender is no only Open Source is an Open World! :).

  • redwaller

    I started Blender when I was 11. I was looking around for 3D animation software, because I wanted to make an animation of Redwall. That didn't work out, but I still worked with it, telling myself that I would use this learning later in life. On my 12th birthday, I received Blender for Dummies as a present. I am still 12, and have been encouraged by friends (web and in person), family, and tutorials. I hope that other children as young as me may learn Blender and prove that we are not just mini-adults who whine and are selfish, but that we can learn advanced things also. I am a Christian, and I seek to give glory to God in my work.

    • PhysicsGuy

      Great to hear that someone so young is into 3d modeling and blender. My son is almost six and is fascinated when I'm working with blender. He will ofcourse just make me out the Suzannes in the scene and give them all different colors. I guess I will have to wait until he can read properly before he can learn how to model.

    • Peter. frumon

      I just wanted you to know that I am also a Christianl. My reason for using Blender is that I believe it is a good use of the resources God has provided as it is a free program.

      • xsinick

        I too agree.

      • PhysicsGuy

        Although I am not a religious person, I do zealously believe that using free and open source software is what we all should be doing. Ofcourse Linux, but more importantly Python and Blender, because their BDFLs are both nice Dutch guys!

        • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

          That’s OK, morality has nothing to do with religion. :)

        • redwaller

          Haha, my family are nice dutch people too! Who knows? We might make some free open source software! :)

  • http://www.cgmasters.net/ blengine

    I picked up Blender at version 1.8(wow bart, 1.36? I don't even want to
    know what that looked like!). I couldn't have had it open for more
    than 30 seconds before I deleted it. It probably
    took 6 months or more to give that confusing interface another shot, and in the meantime I was
    trying all sorts of other programs including s-patch,
    rhino, maya, lightwave. None of the big commercial programs ran fast enough
    on my old computer though, so I went back to the floppy-disk sized Blender and decided to try
    and make sense of the mess of buttons and menus staring at me. I've been with it ever since, and freelancing with it full-time for the last 5 years, I love it. It's enabled me to make a great living, and it's taken me around the world(worked on the open project Apricot in Amsterdam, toured Paris with the great Pablo Vazquez while I was out there too).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Perkins/1537362116 Jerry Perkins

      i love how everyone's story starts with I opened blender and closed it. You actually deleted it haha. I suppose this is an ode to how the pre 2.5 interface was. Blender used to look like it was a frontend of something sinister like satellite control. But glad to see how everyone ended up opening it again after the initial shock.

      • http://www.cgmasters.net/ blengine

        haha yes exactly, it didn't look like a program for creativity. Turns out even with the old interface I still found the workflow to be much better for that than commercial programs.

  • http://3dnett.no/ Thomas Nordstrøm

    My first encounter to Blender were somewhat similar to Bart's. I were tired of Windows XP and decided to try out some linux distros. I landed on Ubuntu and after I got to understand the package system I eventually searched for 3d software. And there it was. I weren't entirely new to 3d software, but still pretty novice. I didn't feel less like a noob when I started up Blender and couldn't see anything but a flat 2d cube. I nearly dropped experimenting with it after some frustrating minutes, but then I clicked the middle mouse button for some reason and suddenly it became clear that this were a 3d program after all. Then I discovered the growing Blender community on the Internet and a whole lot of tutorials even back then. I think it was around 2.39, but I'm not quite sure. It definitely had a great impact on my life back then and still has.

    Around the same time I discovered Blender back in 2006 I got involved as a voluntary in the preservation of an WW2 plane-wreck (fw 190 Yellow 16). Eventually I started modeling the plane which in time got some people interested. It became a bigger project eventually, where I ended up making a ten minute long video featuring Blender animations video-clips and photos. I edited it all together in Blender also. The video I made still goes as an important piece of the exhibition(With Blender 3d credited at the end of course). I got paid too (but did not get rich:-). This year I finished an even bigger project. I made an all animated 2 minute long video hired as an freelancer. Also this about a WW2 aircraft accident. As this still is a hobby I got my daytime job too. This year I managed to get Blender in to the pipeline there too when we made the newest product catalog. A lot of Blender made product "photos" in there :).

    Congratulations to Blender 3d, Congrats and thank you Ton and thanks to everyone involved in improving and supporting Blender 3d! Of course Including Bart for communicating Blender news and stuff to all of us!

  • Joshua Terzol

    My first encounter with blender was almost six years ago when i was thirtheen. My cousin gave me a computer with blender he also told me somethings about it and i just played a little with it at first. But after the first couple of months of making crap like mis shaped torussen and other crap i started making some real things and i really got addicted and i still am to this day.

    I want to thank my cousin but also every single person that worked their asses off for giving the thirteen year old me a open source program with so much potential.

    And i am sure that the future for blender is going to be bright.

  • Tom Latvys

    I started out using Blender about 4 years ago in 2009 after I watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and decided that I'd like to learn more about 3D animation. It completely sucked me in and I wanted to learn everything I could about 3D art and animation. Even though my interest helped, the community is really what has kept me committed, and even had me launch a tutorial site to share what I've learned. Blender has continued to grow and improve since I've started, and I'm sure it'll continue in that direction for another 20 years. Happy Birthday Blender!

  • Guest

    I started when I was was 6 and i am now 10 i have been doing blender for 4 years and i love. I got started by watching my dad play blender sitting on his lap drinking a bottle when I got i older.

  • Tobias Milliken

    I started when I was was 6 and i am now 10 i have been doing blender for 4 years and i love it. I got started by watching my dad work on blender I sitting on his lap drinking a bottle. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLENDER!!.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerry-Perkins/1537362116 Jerry Perkins

      you'll be a master by 16.

  • Wasa

    The first time I tried Blender was back in May or June of 1997 (maybe 98). Not sure what the version was I just remember I had just recently purchased Truespace SE and ran across it while waiting for the disk to arrive. The icon driven windows was super confusing and since I had just spent all my birthday money on truespace I couldn't afford to order any manuals.
    Jump forward to 2000 I was using Wings3D for modeling but always wanted to bring my models to life. I began learning basic rigging from some tutorials which was my first real work with Blender. I'm still not a fan of it's modeling and sculpting but even those aspects are growing on me as Blender continues to improve.

  • Tobias Milliken

    I started blender when I was was 6 and i am now 10 i have been doing blender for 4 years and i love it. I got started by watching my dad work while I was sitting on his lap drinking a bottle. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLENDER!!

  • Ayoub Moul

    I didnt find blender, blender found me ^_^.
    Its a long story I dont wanna bore you with, maybe s o m e d a y :P
    congratulation to every one!

  • KennedyRichard

    After trying to learn a lot of times (and giving up a lot) I finally got the gist and could keep learning, mainly from Neal Hirsig's tutorials and afterwards from Andrew Price and CGCookie (Jonathan and team). What kept me going on was the amazing experience of being able to build and share my own creations and, more than that, that warm community behind Blender. I'm really happy blender's source code ended up in the hands of such great people.

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

    I’m a long-time programmer who started out in the days of time-shared mini and supermini computers. 3D graphics was the one area of computer applications that could always make me go “wow, I wish I could do that”. But back then, you needed supercomputers to do any worthwhile 3D graphics.

    But gradually, over time, the yawning gulf between supercomputers and common-or-garden PCs narrowed. I became a fan of Linux and Free Software. I had a first look at Blender, but I must confess I ran out of patience very quickly once I discovered how unconventional its interface was ...

    Then, a few years ago, paid work from clients dried up somewhat, and I found I had more free time on my hands. Among other things, I decided to take another look at Blender. This time, I found an introductory tutorial, and faithfully followed it to get some understanding of the interface conventions, hotkeys and so on. And you know what, this time things actually made sense!

    So I persevered. And each new thing I learned let me create something that was pretty cool—at least to my eyes. And that encouraged me to learn even more.

    This was with Blender 2.49. Within a few months, the 2.5x series had settled from crash-o-rama (at least for me) down to stable-enough-to-be-worth-a-look. I liked what I saw, and embraced the new changes wholeheartedly.

    In the meantime, of course, I continued to learn new things via tutorials on the Web. But most of those tutorials continued to addtess the 2.4x series. In particular, I found the Blender 3D: Noob to Pro Wikibook. It appeared this had been languishing for a long time. So naturally I got to work updating it. Though it seems most folks prefer video tutorials these days...

    • Politicsarebs

      If their good ones, I prefer well written instructions most of the time. Neil Hersig Hiersig?, dunno anyway he does some very good instruction on video, however he also has tons of written stuff to go with it.

  • triggerfish

    I started playing around with 3D programs shortly after buying my first computer in 1995. Just hobby stuff really. I purchased a copy of Ray Dream, and then later piled on all the hobbyist software like Bryce, Poser, etc. In 1998, Riven: The Sequel to Myst completely rocked my world. I wanted to do 3D full time. I later realized that I did not have the natural talent, or the money for training to become a professional. No matter... it was still a fun hobby.

    I took a trip to Thailand in 2000 where I visited the famous (infamous) Phan Thip Plaza, where I loaded up on all the pirated professional 3D software I could stuff in my backpack. I justified that I was not doing anything wrong because I was not one of their customers yet. If I learned the software well enough to start getting paid, I would buy legal versions.

    I guess guilt got the best of me and I strated looking around for free software. Then I discovered the concept of Open Source. I downloaded Blender for the first time in 2003. I could not even figure out how to close the program. Once 2.5 hit, I was hooked. This has been, and continues to be a great hobby!

    Thank you to all the developers, the folks who selflessly crank out tutorials, and the amazing folks who share .blend files for me to disect! What an amazing community!

    Happy Birthday Blender!

  • Reynante Martinez

    That was a nice experience, Bart, very inspiring indeed.

    I couldn't quite remember what version I started with, but it was somewhere around 2.3*, I guess.

    It all started out with me and my older brother delving into the FreeBSD system and some cool desktop environments that came with it (KDE, Gnome, etc.); he was a long-time user and a coder using the OS and I was just a mere kid who has a love for drawing and art in general.

    Shortly after, a few months in the making, my older brother introduced me to The GIMP (note the 'the'), read the 'Grokking The GIMP' and the user manual from cover to cover, and fell in love with it since. Then a few years later, my brother showed me this 'free and open-source 3D authoring tool' named Blender. I was really not into it at first, since I was too patriotic with GIMP and thought I can do anything with it.

    We downloaded the binary files of Blender and all the necessary files (it can often be daunting installing apps in FreeBSD). When I first loaded Blender, I was instantly shocked at how complicated it looked. I moved around and when I realized I was getting nowhere, I quit Blender. A few weeks later, I got back to it, and with the same frustration, I wasn't doing anything 'nice' other than look at the spaceship dock; which then lead me to a year-long hiatus. I was browsing the net and accidentally came across Blender's forum (then called Elysium) and was mind-blown with what I saw and was even more frustrated and baffled - how could these guys do these majestic art pieces and I don't?

    The one particular image that stuck with me up until this moment was Andy Goralczyk's frog render. I pushed harder and harder, read every manual and guide I could get my hands into, went past the tutorials and videos which initially assumed beginner users had a previous understanding of what they're trying to tell (which is a bummer).

    Since then, I have used Blender for almost anything art-related, alongside with GIMP. I also got my experience in the industry with using Blender, developing my skills further, and up to this day, I'm using Blender professionally; which is a choice of heart and philosophy, not only because it is 'free'; it is probably because I love it, the people behind it, and the community supporting it.

    As a matter of fact, believe it or not, Blender's philosophy has changed the way I view my life in general and it has taught me lessons I couldn't have absorbed elsewhere. I'm using Blender for almost 9+ years now and never regretted any step of the way.

    Kudos, Blender and to the Blender Community!

    Thank you!

    -Reyn

    • http://utopia3d.wordpress.com/ Utopia780

      That's beautiful Reynante!
      Really inspiring.

      • Reynante Martinez

        I'm glad you liked it, mate. :)

        -Reyn

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Great story Reyn, thanks for sharing!

      • Reynante Martinez

        You're more than welcome, Bart. ;)

  • kaisaki1342

    My first encounter of blender is 2.46, i just thought i want to color my anime drawings and so rented a pc downloaded gimp and blender. I open it after a few tries close it. After sometime i downloaded a newer version 2.48 this dedicated enough to study - i downloaded the whole noob to pro book albeit I did not finish it. I modeled my first manga girl, remodeled it and modeled some other things - Until now i would still thinker and all with it my first model would probably very far from what i do today but it is the starting point of my journey with blender. Did a goofy animation, learned to make fireworks, incorporated a rotating logo in an AVP, spoof pixars logo and a lot on this journey. I am really glad there is blender that there is this community the let me feed my curiousity to create something. I have introduce kids to blender as well, some of them continues to use it which I am very happy about.
    Happy birthday blender!!!

  • Matt

    When I started, the C-Key was in force, but was coming to an end. I think it was around 1.43 or 1.53? I couldn't make it do anything I wanted, but I refused to continue paying for Imagine for Windows. I'm not a regular Blender user -- it's just a hobby -- but I enjoy it immensely when I do get some time with it!

    • Alimayo Arango

      I was in design school and was learning 3dsmax and really liked 3d
      modeling and animation however I couldn't afford to buy 3dsMax to
      continue learning at home so I searched to see if there were any
      similar but free alternative 3d programs. My first experience with
      Blender was a version before 2.5. I didn't like the look of the
      program or the interface and after I tried that version I definitely
      didn't plan to come back to it.

      After design school I got a job as the lead designer for a french chocolate
      company and was tasked with creating a full flash website for the
      company home page which taught me a good deal about animating
      graphics. This interest in animation led me into getting heavily into
      Adobe after Effects. I wanted to learn as much as I could about
      motion graphics and ended up on a blog explaining that to be very
      proficient in motion graphics then you had to learn a 3d package.

      Still not able to pay the price for 3dsMax, out of desperation I figured I
      would give Blender one last chance. When I opened the program, which
      was after the 2.5 update, was amazed at how attractive the interface
      looked. It also seemed much easier to use. I started working my way
      through tutorials. Shortly after this I got a job as an instructor
      teaching the Adobe Master suite and 3DsMax to students. As an
      instructor for the institute I was able to download versions of
      3dsMax and Maya as part of the job. However I had recently discovered
      that Blender was able to do what 3DsMax could and to my shock a lot
      of what Adobe After Effects could do. I then made a choice to make
      Blender my main 3d program even though I now had Maya and 3dsMax at
      home and was getting paid to teach 3dsmax at the time.

      I am extremely glad that I made the choice to use Blender as my main 3d
      software. I'm still amazed how Blender is constantly improving for
      the better and the fact that when improvements come I'm not forced to
      to pay to partake in those improvements like in the other 3d
      programs. I also greatly enjoy having a portable version of Blender
      on a thumb drive and being able to plug Blender into what ever
      computer is currently in front of me and immediately get to work.

      Thank
      you so much Ton, and happy birthday Blender!

  • Carlos Ossa

    I first Opened Blender some time ago, when it was 2.40-something. I was just exploring the different roads of desing. The UI was son terrible (i still believe it) that i didn't even messed with the default cube. I then did a tut on 3ds but it didn't get to me. Now, a year ago, i was looking up 3d soft in order to choose (maya, modo, etc) becouse you know one's gotta start with one. I've always been a fan of open source soft, free soft. So I found blender again and started looking and stuff. From that moment and to the date I'm always finding out new stuff, learning each day and discovering all sorts of incredible art.

    I love blender, and i love the comunity, watching it grow as I get better is awesome, and to be able to share with all of you. It even makes me wanna cry reading some of the stories below knowing there's people out there who feel the same as me.

    !Happy B-Day Blenderheads!

  • R L

    I first encountered Blender in 1999, soon after I was hired as an in-house designer for a Technology company. This was the beginning of a love-hate relationship that lasted for seven years before I finally committed to using Blender in my production pipeline whenever necessary to create 3D illustrations for my work.

    By the time 2.38 came out, I was all in. So much so that, when the 2.5 rewrite came along--honestly--I refused to use it. What converted me was a young lady I'd recently met who shared an equal passion for digital illustration and wanted to get back into 3D, but had no tool to work with due to the exorbitant prices attached to "professional" 3D software. I introduced her to Blender 2.49a...and she recoiled in horror at the sight of the interface. I told her to calm down and then showed her 2.50 alpha. Her eyes lit up; "Now THAT I can USE!" she exclaimed.

    When Cycles came out, she left rubber. She, again, is the reason I learned Cycles. She knows the program far better than I do at this point and is not looking back now. We love the fact that 2.69 is a LTE release as we were two designers who hated that we had to re-learn features because other features were added that broke previous ones.

    Can't honestly say that my production pipeline is purely FOSS. At work, we have to sneak and use Blender (our IT department--like so many here in corporate america--hates the use of open source software) but, at home, I experiment with using it alongside Inkscape, Hitfilm, Lightworks and Apple Motion.

    Ton, can't wait to see what you do with Blender by the time the 25th Birthday comes. Thank you for such a great illustration and animation tool.

    Blender Rocks!

  • Robert Harris Darklimitarts

    I had just finished illustrating my first children's book, The program I used at the time was spline based and was a nightmare to use and I was absolutely frustrated with it. Being poor I needed to find a free program, Blender was suggested by a few friends.

    Blender was intimidating mainly because until then I had never modeled with polygons before, I had no idea how to even begin using it. I literally kept an eye on blender for almost a year before I actually jumped in and started using it (Pre 2.33 version/interface).

    Now Blender is my main tool of choice, am also learning Maya. Blender has allowed me to bring my wildest dreams to life, I honestly don't know what I would do without Blender it has become so integrated into my life/dreams. Many thanks to Ton and the devs, they have not merely just created a tool but an instrument that touched lives.

    They have given a voice to voiceless.
    DarkLimitArts

  • Senthil Kumar

    Happy Birthday Blender...Hats off for the fabulous work to the 3D community ...keep going..cheers :)

  • SatoMibu

    I first used Blender about 8 or 9 years ago because i wanted to mod a game. After looking up what program could import the files, it turned out only blender was capable of doing that without doing too much hassle of plugin here, plugin there, script here, special blabla there...

    So i fired up Blender, opened up the file and saw my first 3D model. all i did was push and pull some vertices, didn't know what i was doing at the time. anyway, it didn't work out because the models were all stretched and dodgy, go figure!

    i dropped blender because i didn't know what i would use it for and then months later, because of youtube remembering my searches and recommending stuff, i found my first tutorial from CGCookie! And i never stopped blending ever since!

  • PhysicsGuy

    My first experience with blender was when I was a student in 1999. There was a phd student using blender to design a new part for his setup. This was in the time you had to buy the manual. He didn't so he had quote a hard time. I thought he was nuts. My next experience was a few years later. I did the gingerbread man tutorial and gave up. I really wanted to learn blender, because it looked to cool, but I didn't really have any ideas of what to make. Anoter few years later, it must have been 2005, I could have really used blender to design parts for my experimental setup. I played with it, but didn't have time to learn it. Learning Inventor was faster as there was a guy there who could teach me. Finally, a few years ago, I bought Jonathan's vehicle modeling series and worked my way through it. My wife couldn't stand hearing Jonathan's voice after a few evenings :-)

    Now, blender is my most important hobby. I love motion tracking and compositing, although I'm not very good at it. I use it at work to make artwork for scientific papers and to make illustrations for my lectures. I also use it to model my experimental setups, to see if we have space for a new part, etc.

    I'm also proud to have been able to give something back to blender by supplying props for Tears of Steel. Visiting the blender institute, meeting Ton, Ian and the rest of the crew was really cool and the ToS premiere was awesome. I hope there is a small way in which I can contribute to Gooseberry, I will ofcourse preorder the DVD as soon as that is possible. I'm now trying to contribute more by investigating bugs, although my lecture schedule at the moment doesn't leave a lot of time for that. It is really satisfactory when Cambell closes a bug that one helped to investigate.

    So, happy birthday blender and thanks to everyone who have made and keeping making blender happen. Developers, artists, tutorial builders, podcast recorders and most of all Ton. You guys rule!

  • Efim Petelin

    Heh!
    Beautyful story! =)
    Mine is simplier. Several years ago, around 2005 i tried to use Blender, and it was very confusing to me. Digging into YafaRay was disappointing (there are no passes at all!) and i levaed blender. I was 3DS user then - about 10 years of expirience. It was very hard to me to transfer my skills into Maya. But worth it! Still, Maya wasn't exactly what I want - I don't know, what exactly %)
    In the January 2012 I worked for the one small and infamous Moscow VFX Studio and there met The Task: simulate massive crowd of zombies. It was a challenge! I have abandoned Max this time strictly, I haven't any idea, how to perform it in Maya after several trials of coding this in Mel.
    So I decided to try Blender one more time. 2.62 or something.
    I spent week or two to understand basics of Blender and... It was confusing, but I began to feel that there is something in Blender. Useful and useful.
    So after this period of "reprogramming" myself I started The Task: zombie crowd simulation. I have used blender game engine and tons of code %)) And it worked! The crowd simulations were done. It used about 16GB of RAM at peak with about 6000 zombies, it was baking for long hours, but it worked!
    Since then I use ONLY blender for all of my work. It's difficult, sometimes almost impossible to accomplish some tasks, but Blender still handles all things. =)
    But I don't compose in Blender - Nuke is much-much-much better for this to me: faster and more powerful.

  • Redchards

    I first started using blender 6 years ago when I was only 12. This was just at this time a "tweaking around" game, like changing values to see what append to render. I then used it for a year, and then dropped it.
    Anyway, I was following every updates to see what's new, how blender evolved... And I was impressed !! Blender is today one of the most complete and successful open source project, with one of the greatest community.
    That leads me to commiting some code to blender's repo, and willing helping much more. I learned a lot while working on blender source code, and on blender itself.
    I hope that the story will continue, but I don't see any reason why it won't :)

  • ping0

    My brother introduced me to Blender in my late teens. I don't remember the exact version number, but you still had to pay to unlock it I think. And when I saw the UI I remembered thinking "oh, it looks like Lightwave, but more confusing".

    But I also remember thinking "it's open source, no way it can reaches the level quality of a professional software".

    Indeed at the time, there was still a lot of features missing... If you add the fact that I hated shareware it is no surprise I gave it just a passing glance. Later on, my brother told me about NaN going belly up and more or less thought the project was toasted and forgot all about it.

    I continued honing my 3D skills on student versions of popular 3D softwares until I started working in a physics lab in 2005 and needed a way to produce figures from 3D data. It was hard to justify the cost of a license for a 3D software and out of question to use cracked stuff. So I had to find a free, or low cost not too shabby alternative, even if it was just a crutch to export to .obj and work on it later at home (I was using Modo then iirc...).

    I googled "free 3D software" and Blender was one answer among others like wing 3D and other forgettable names.

    I said "what the heck, it still exists?", and clicked on the link not expecting much.

    Not only Blender was alive, it was kicking. Blender developers had finished working on a project called "Elephant Dream" that brought a cornucopia of features that the early version did not have.

    I've been a blendaholic since and happy with that.

  • Nick Singh

    My first time with Blender was about 2-3 years ago. I was watching a few effects videos and the whole 3D visual effects stuff just blew my mind. I looked around and everyone was talking about blender being free. So i gave it a shot. At that time there was 2.49 , the most iconic build of all time. I too dropped it after a while. But at that time the 2.5 builds was available for testing, so i gave them a shot and well, never looked back since. Blender is amazing no matter what anyone says, and its current development surly proves that. Never saw a group of such determined developers before, truly inspiring.
    Keep up the amazing work guys, never give up :)
    The only thing i was able to do at first was render the cube LOL

  • Juan Guzzy

    I discovered Blender in the summer of 2009, however, it was not until 2010 that I began to understand clearly how to work with the software. I was fortunate to attend two workshops in person with Pablo Vazquez, in the autumns of 2010 and 2011 in a Mexican University. Since then I have gradually progressed, always with the invaluable help of the great community that has gathered around the fabulous software, and generously posted tutorials and tricks. Now that I use every day to generate graphics of my career and of course also as a source of entertainment. Thanks Ton, you're great. Thanks team of developers, who are great. Long live the entire Blender community!

    • Juan Guzzy

      and happy 20th birthday Blender!

    • PhysicsGuy

      Funny to hear from someone who attented one of Pablo Vasquez' workshops as he just talked about them in a very entertaining blender podcast. Thomas and he discussed the german and spanish speaking blender communities.

      • Juan Guzzy

        No doubt, after all, is not easy to mention in a message to all virtual tutors of various nationalities and languages ​​that I have followed from the beginning. Learning Blender has no end, thankfully.

  • Ton Roosendaal

    Thanks for the beautiful and touching stories, a perfect birthday gift :)

    (For history's sake: Blender's first release was 1.21 for SGI in january 1998, first Linux version (1.30) was in april 1998. First Windows version spring 1999).

    • PhysicsGuy

      If we count creatively, Python is also 20 years old (that is, version 1.0 was released in january 1994). Ton, will you and Guido be throwing a party together?

  • John Nyquist

    Back in 2005 my boss asked me about doing some 3D work. I told him I’d done 3D work in the late 80s through mid-90s but had not used any of the crop of tools in recent years. So I started looking at the options and narrowed it down to evaluating C4D and Maya. Then I thought I should look to see what sort of open source options were out there since Sun had recently open sourced Solaris. That’s when I came across Blender. It was unique in that it ran not only on Windows and Mac, but also on Solaris (and I actually had a middle-mouse button on my Solaris machine, no not a mouse wheel). I know the date (Nov 7, 2005) since I emailed a good friend of mine “This is interesting” with a link to the website. I downloaded it (tiny download) and gave it a try. Then removed it from my system and recommended C4D.

    But my curiosity about Blender didn’t end there, I continued to look into it on my own time. I found some tutorials and I slowed down enough to learn the Blender way and found I loved it. It was so fast and responsive. And when you’d learned the commands, the workflow felt faster too. I continued using it at night and then started showing it to my 6-year-old (and future Bits of Blender co-host) who promptly made a 3D Garfield (the cat). Soon I found and joined Elysium. By early 2008 I contacted CartoonSmart showing them a sample of combining Blender with Flash and suggested he do a video on this combo. He wrote back and said, “I got another idea. Why don't you start teaching Blender for the site.”. Since then I’ve created 9 full-length Blender tutorials for CartoonSmart. Also in 2008, I became the 7th guy on the Blender Foundation Certified Trainer list and started the “Bits of Blender” YouTube series with my boy (who was now 9 and comfortable with the basics of Blender). In 2009 I had the pleasure of meeting Ton in person at the conference. Ton’s leadership and guidance has made Blender stand out. Even after more than eight years, Blender still fascinates me… it’s stability, features, backwards compatibility, speed, and community.

  • Blend Swap

    Not sure when my first experience with Blender was, sometime around 2004 I think, I was learning Electric Image at my job which was how I got interested in 3D. I lost my job a year later and wanted to continue using 3D in my off time but the costs of 3D packages where so high it was unrealistic. Well after several other jobs and having to learn several other 3D packages I wanted to figure out how I could learn and use just one package in my career. Then I found Blender, although not as powerful at the time, it was a 3D package that I could learn and take with me throughout my career, anywhere I ended up Blender came with. So I started learning it... slowly. I started hanging around the Elysium forums and learning what I could.

    Sometime in there I realized that I was still a terrible modeler and started scouring the forums for models to use in my work but the forums were full of broken links and old files. So I had a crazy little idea of starting a model repository. This was one of the best professional decisions of my life so far.

    Happy Birthday Blender. Also, a huge thank you to Ton for his vision and dedication. Not to mention the amazing full time and part time developers that make the program what it is today and also a big thanks to the community for being one of the most helpful communities I've been a part of.
    Cheers from Matthew and the Blend Swap Crew.

  • Barney Holmes

    I encountered Blender around 2007 after realising I did not want to use illegal copies of 3DS MAX. Was using max v1.2 ! So I became a good boy & went legit with Blender. Finally made the effort to get over the interface hump over the last year. Blender is more than just software, it is closely tied to the community. BTW last time I downloaded another 3D app I used the legal trial version of Lightwave. Pirating is bad for the industry. Thats why its good for the commercial vendors to have Blender there. Blender encourages legal entry into learning 3D apps. Its cool to be a good boy ! Happy Birthday !

  • omarahmed

    my story to blender is very simple
    when I am 12 years old I wounder how the animation film work I started to search in the internet I find a lots of program like maya, 3d max and so on but I am live in egypt and still young to pay for a class for it after a year when I have 13 years old I first discover blender and it was free so I wont pay a money and I started to learn blender after 6 month in 2014(now) when I have 14 years old I type this comment(my first blender version is 2.66)

  • Tony Mullen

    Around Halloween of 2005 I was looking around for an IDE for Python for work when I stumbled on Blender. I'd had mixed experiences with artist-oriented open source software in the past and to be honest, I didn't expect it to be very good or stable. But it certainly did look awesome. I remember thinking that if it was as good as it could be, it might be a very big deal for me.

    Stop motion animation was a big interest of mine, but I knew nothing at all about CG when I began learning Blender. For the next six months I learned something new literally every day. Like, for example, that you need to put the bones of an armature *inside* the mesh, not at some random other location if you wanted them to control the mesh. In a few months I had made a simple but painstaking animated short. After six months of scouring tutorials and the 2.3 guide, I came to the limit of what learning resources I could find. I'd even started looking at books for other software to see what I could learn and apply directly to Blender. I figured somebody ought to write a book. I also thought that as an academic, maybe if I published something about Blender that I could justify some of the time I'd been spending on it. So I pitched my first book to Sybex. When "Introducing Character Animation in Blender" came out it was the only Blender book currently in print in English (the 2.3 guide had sold out a bit before). I think it was the first 3rd party (non-BF) book published in English as well. Times have changed!

    Since then I've used Blender pretty nearly every day for various projects, and it looks likely to continue being an important part of my life and work moving forward.

  • http://thaines.com/ Tom SF Haines

    No idea which version, but I first used it when I was in college (UK meaning) - 2000, maybe 2001. Needed a logo for a gaming guild, and following some tutorial managed to get a particle system going, but I was very much on the golden path of following the tutorial / total confusion if I strayed. I had a (legal!) copy of Cinema 4D V5 at the time, inaccessible due to using Linux and not being at home, and have since used 3D Studios Max and Maya as well. Kept returning to Blender, and being that I have remained a hobbyist and it kept getting better it eventually stuck - I think from around 2006/7. I continue to use it for fun (most recently creating a spaceship model to be 3D printed for a model shot in a short science fiction film, but typically do stuff to be rendered, and have also done computer game assets); these days I also teach it at a summer school (3dami.org).

  • Manran

    The first time that i tried blender 2.46, i made my first starship with blinking lights, blender was my first 3d experience and i felt like drunk after 3hours of 3d modelling (3d interface).Blender became my main 3d tool and i'm proud to use it.Thanks Ton you have no idea how blender has changed my life.

  • ragething

    oh, where to begin. It was not love at first sight. As with many people i was a little overwhelmed by the interface and thought..."meh" I cannot remember what release but it was earlyish. I remember seeing some water simulation that was kind of cool and had a little go to see what was what. So, i DLed this newer version and finally, properly, got to know blender. I had used programs from as early as 1984 so, I had various programs for various tasks/hobbies. Over the years, less and less have a use as blender takes it on. Now I am producing live action and blender is used throughout the process. The thing I have always liked about blender was that I never shows off. It doesnt show you a bunch of 3d clip art or make you "feel" creative. You earn it with blender. Whatever you make, its yours. No one does it the same way you do. I can pretty much do anything that my skills or imagination can handle with 3 programs. OpenMPT, Gimp and Blender. Thanks to blender I can call myself a one man production house. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vENqnFrJxcg

  • Amands

    I just started with blender last week! It sounds like an amazing project!

  • S0NIC_The_hedgehog

    My first time blender was a mere two years ago. I always loved doing stuff with computers, but I was so closed minded, (what's a linux?) but I can say now that after using blender, I've installed numerous linux distros, but have been working to my ultimate goal of creating a digital content creation studio. I got one of my friends involved, and now have a group of friends who I regularly work with to help make our dream come true. Were using blender to help us make assets for games and school projects, which that in its self is so much easier to do than with any software! I wouldn't be having any where near as much fun would it not be for blender!

  • SonlenofBlender

    Happy B-Day blender.
    I remember first time I saw blender was when I was checking out Ubuntu and saw a description of it in a book on Ubuntu. Downloaded it, tried madly clicking everywhere scrolled in and out. Turned it off and didn't look at it again. Then not long ago was looking for a free video editing software. Blender came up and I decided to give it a shot again getting some books to learn and reading tutorials. Now enjoying reading blenderNation everyday and blending when I find the time. :)

  • Michael Fox

    Back in 2003 i first entered 3d properly with terragen and became quite a respected artist, but i wanted more, so i dove into game creation (always wanted to make a video game ever since i was a kid), while looking around for tools and engines i could use i came across 1 line on a website long gone "Blender is now open source"(2.31a), so i thought cool i'll see how this works then build my own. opened it up too one look then ran away screaming and didn't open it again for 2 weeks.

    for some reason i came back an tried the quickstart guide (the old one that actually had a .blend file and taught you how to do simple basic animation.) from then i was hooked and the rest they say is history :)

  • http://nikitron.cc.ua/ ?????? ??????????

    Ok. First of all. Blender interested me when i tryed GNU/Linux. I wished to work under Linux, so I investigated what CAD/3D programms are under Linux, it was 2007. All that time I learned GIMP, Inkscape, etc. I changed my work in 1 january of 2008 and in summer allready made first my 3D for this firm. Tryed to make this linux-oriented, but folks keep it strong.
    First using was so successfull so i denyed all the 3DsMAX/Maya experience. Now my experience in blender more, than i spend with 3dsmax, and i happy on this. So, from 2009 i started dual-boot, learned linux, tryed different versions and in 2011 completely went into Ubuntu.
    From 2012 learned python.
    And you know what? It is hard way, people. What makes me happy - it is freedom in 3D. What makes me sad - I tryed to teach folks, architects blender, but it going hard, nobody want it. My part was in propaganda much, but less than 1 man converted to blenderlog.
    And i feel we are elite of CG. That gut, who is from Pixar is right. We can push the CG.

  • http://fossgrafis.com/ Aditia A. Pratama

    Well it's been 6 years now. My first blender was 2.49b, I just downloaded all the blend files that available on net, open them, and still not getting any how-to start my own. Until I was appointed as graphic design and animation lecturer in education institution, and that's where my journey began. Doing some tutorials on net as well as giving offline classes. Luckily by sharing my little knowledge i get more proficient.

    And now I'm happy blender being part of my daily life. For me it's more than a tool or software. It's a medium for me to share and contribute to establish creative industry and make people happy :)

    Thanks Blender, Blender Devs and Blender Community. Have a great year ahead !

  • Chris Mcfall

    I had dabbled with 3d studio max and maya, and loved the idea of 3d but never really got into it wholeheartedly. Until 2010 when I was Art directing for a particularly demanding company, they were was also tighter than a ducks proverbial; so when the need arose for glossier product shots I went on the hunt for affordable 3d software. Initially I was just going to use it to dazzle the board enough to get a budget for a "real" 3d pipeline. But in using blender something resonated in me and I truly feel in love with not just the software but the community. Unlike so many other groups blenders community doesn't feel exclusive, It doesn't feel like everyone else knows something you don't, and when someone finds a new exciting use for it, theres genuine pleasure from the community. In fact It was my love of blender that lead me to quitting my art director role and setting up on my own. Congrats on 20 years Ton, Congrats on your huge contribution Bart, I look forward to the next 20 years of Blending.

  • polarlighthouse

    First of all, thanks for sharing your story Bart!

    I started Blender four or five years ago. Like many of us I took a sneak-look to it, before really diving into the Blender experience. I guess I installed Blender 2.48 when it made me deinstaled it just 5 minutes later.
    The GUI-change of 2.5 made it much more pleasant to me, so I started with Blender but didn't really got further with it.

    Being a graphic design student I eventually had a course where we had to design a corporate design for a fictional shop, which we also should visualize in 3D (digitalyl or plastically) - which was the main reason to me to start learning Blender and the results where pretty amazing to the poeple at the university, which increased my motivation.

    As most of my class-mates were working with Photoshop and InDesign I was pretty alone using a 3D-software and not only it became a tool for my work it also became a great hobby.
    Two years later I got the oppurtunity to teach Blender to my fellow students for a year as an official course at the university.

    So, I'm almost done with my study and hopefully can finish my bachelor thesis next semester, which will probably be done in Blender. The time of my study at the university is ver strong tangled with the experience of Blender and I hope I can someday take this experience into a professional occupation.
    So long, thanks to the complete Blender community, you guys are awesome!

  • http://MacroManJr.blogspot.com/ Brian Lockett

    My first experience with Blender goes back to the early half of 2008, to using Blender 2.46. At the time, I was about 20 and my lifelong dreams of becoming a traditional 2D animator were looking out of reach.

    About that time, already well-interested in Pixar's work, I started to look into 3D animation. I already knew other 3D packages at the time were out of the question for me financially (I had been an armchair fan of Maya for years, due its work on Jurassic Park and The Terminator 2), so I started searching for 3D programs, preferably free ones.

    I found a few (Anim8tor, Art of Illusion, K-3D, and Wings 3D which I still use today). Among the list, I found a peculiar-looking program called Blender 2.46. The software with the giant anthropomorphic bunny on its splash screen.

    At first, I was using Art of Illusion (AoI) more than Blender because I saw AoI's features more upfront and straightforward, its UI looked closer to other 3D packages I wish I had, it was lightweight running on my old computer then, I loved its procedural material editor, and Blender at the time had little documentation around for learning how to use it (CG Cookie or Blender Guru weren't around yet). (And while I don't use them today, I still admire how AoI and Anim8tor are still around and free and just as useful to total 3D newcomers.)

    Blender was the option I wanted to know more about, as it seemed a good deal more robust, but I knew it'd take a bit of slow exploring. Besides the minimal learning material then (which were only just starting to really rise then), I didn't have Internet in my home at the time, so most of my learning was offline, gathering information from the few pages I saved while at the local library, and learning was largely trial-and error. Slow learning on an even slower computer.

    But as a little time rolled on, I found myself turning to Blender the more I explored it. It had tons more functionality and capability than the other programs, and I also gained a strong interest in YafRay (later YafaRay) and soon a new kid on the block called LuxRender. It also had sculpting features and some nice add-ons. At that time, I also started to get into game development (even before Unity 3D had come along with its Indie version), so Blender became useful during my first-hand venturing into 3D game development.

    Now I'm a 3D freelancer who uses Blender in my pipeline, as well as crafting my own independent games with Blender still being among my chief tools. It's not my only tool of choice but it has remained my turn-to tool for rapid modeling and my best choice for creating custom tools. I'm hoping to introduce some new workflows for Blender this year, to improve Blender's functionality geared towards indie game development and rapid content creation.

    Anyways, it's quite amazing seeing how far Blender has come over the years. I get the feeling this will be it'll be even more amazing this year.

  • amdbcg

    I first started using blender eight years ago my sophomore year in high school. When I went to the Blender.org website I saw the gallery and animations and thought, "wow, this is pretty cool!" I wanted to see how all those neat creations were made, so I downloaded Blender and the first thing I saw was this box and lots of buttons. I spent an entire weekend pressing lots and lots of buttons on the keyboard - sometimes accidentally closing out of Blender in the process. I ended up making a 90 frame animation of a dull grey cube shooting across the screen with the default blue background. I then googled most of the shortcuts and started reading the book Blender: Noob to Pro. I learned a bunch on that series - how to create a snowman, how to create dice, how to animate a character, etc. That took me about 2 weeks. I then I found BlenderArtists and stuck around for a good long while. I also found Speedmodelling challenges on the freenode IRC #SMC chat. most of my practice and speed came from doing all those 30 minute modelling challenges. After 3 months of consistent practice, I started getting some good results.

    Later, I also picked up the source code with help from ton, mfoxdogg, and brecht on the #blendercoders and learned a bunch about building from SVN, compiling, and troubleshooting. Python scripting was also pretty fun to learn in Blender.

    I think getting familiar with the build process and python scripting is why I enjoyed computer science in college so much - it provided an application for my learning - I especially attribute my A in Calculus III to Blender - Tangent vectors, Normal vectors, UV mappings,and 3D space, were all concepts I was exposed to while tinkering around with modelling and animating in Blender. Anyways, I graduated with a CS degree not too long ago, and now have a job as a programmer at a big company - so I might finally be able to attend a SIGGRAPH this year in vancouver :).
    Because of Blender I was exposed to more art and programming than I would have otherwise and it made learning quite fun - especially getting a good end result. :) Thank you Ton , Brecht, everyone else in the Blender community who have kept Blender alive and well.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amdbcg

  • nazimmer

    I started using blender in the years of blender 2.47/8, before this i was using 3d canvas which was very limited until i brought the actual license, a license i never actually brought. When i discovered blender, i remember that it wasn't very easy to understand especially becuase of its unconventional style of UI. Due to this UI, i never grasped blender, i continued to visit it and leave it, visit and leave it. Til now where i feel completely comfortable in the Blender UI. I might not have a large portfolio compared to other blenderheads, but its becuase blender that I am doing a hobby that i truly enjoy.....
    My blender dream is to oneday help out in one of blender foundations open movie.

    Happy Birthday Blender.
    From Nazim AKA npm1.

    PS I am so glad Ton Roosendaal and gang didn't give up on the project 20 years ago.

  • Jesús Mario Camarillo García

    Blender has been the tool that give the food every day and also the tool that walks with me everyday

  • Jim Chronister

    Back in 2002, we were using Autodesk products in my classroom through a yearly lease. That software included 3D Studio. In order to get out of the lease and save the district money, I found replacements for all of our software, except 3D Studio. A students was playing with Blender at home and put me onto it. After a quick read of the "Getting Started" tutorial, I took the program for a test run. It was horrible. I didn't even know how to get out of edit mode to make objects that weren't connected. I waited until the summer so I had more time to play with it. We've been using it at school ever since.

    In 2004, I wrote the 1st Blender Basics Classroom Book (version 2.31) for my own classroom because there was little out there designed for a classroom environment. Lots of tutorials out there, but nothing in a sequence. I put it on the web and the interest was amazing! Since that time, the Blender Basics Book is up to the 4th edition to reflect the new interface of 2.59 and the page has over 1/2 million hits. Time for another update when I have time!
    http://www.cdschools.org/Page/455

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

      Always good to see new Blender/3D-related educational material. Any reason you chose to restrict it to NC rather than SA?

  • kilon

    I have found out about blender around 1998-1999 while still using 3d Studio MAX R1 , I did not like the GUI and it was quite limited in what it could do. So I tried it for a few days and uninstalled it because I simple did not like it. I did not care about blender for years, then I found out that it turned open source and my interest got ignited because there was no serious open source 3d app.So I started to follow its progress but still its GUI was too bad for me. I continued going through an array of 3d apps and it was the past years that I felt that the GUI is up to my standards especially after version 2.5. I think it was version "2.6" that I said that "now I can see myself using blender daily" and so I started using it and most likely I will be sticking around.

    I agree that blender for what it is, open source software, is very good but still has a way to go to able to compete with the behemoths of 3d industry but that day is certainly coming. We already seeing studios using blender and taking it seriously and I think that says a lot about it usefulness. I hope the best for blender, and I try to help it as developer myself to make one more step forward.

  • waystar

    My first Blender experience was just after the C-key era. I installed it, opened it and couldn't even figure out how to close it! But once I figured out how to make a sphere with a planet texture, I was hooked. I continue to use Blender heavily in my work producing content for our planetarium, and I enjoy teaching colleagues how to get started in Blender.

  • Regus Ttef

    I found Blender a few years ago, and downloaded it and tried to use it. But I failed and never picked it up again until about a year ago. and I've been using it ever since!

  • DeMige Mige

    Happy 2014 as well as B-DAY BLENDER from Kaiserslautern Germany. Thank you for allowing me to find Hope and Strengh and Confront Real Life. Blender is a Miracle, It save a life. It save me from Depression. Sometimes producing ART is the only way I have to Escape my many times painful real time life. I started learning Blender back in Jan2011. Neal Hersig and Reynante Martinez were my first mentors. After my wife and I returned from my 2011 Vacation to Rome Italy my wife was Diagnose with Cancer. Yes it was difficult many night without sleep, I was force to Man up real quick,(Even that I am a U.S ARMY Veteran), emotions and Bullets are 2 different things) I could not show weakness I could not show my tears to my love ones since I was the only hope they have. So there I was standing strong beside my wife, Helping her to go through her surgeries and Chemo therapy. Now I stand tall and strong thanks to you the BLENDER Community (Sardi Pax, VscorpianC, Miguel Roque, Oliver Villar, masterxeon1001, Blender Cookie) and every single person whom have share their knowledge about Blender via YouTube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2vgm-ixTQs0&list=UUbdXwlFmQ4xvWYsjhNQH4-A

  • DeMige Mige

    Happy 2014 as well as B-DAY from Kaiserslautern Germany. Thank you for allowing me to find Hope and Strengh and Confront Real Life. Blender is a Miracle, It save a life. It save me from Depression. Sometimes producing ART is the only way I have to Escape my many times painful real time life. I started learning Blender back in Jan2011. Neal Hersig and Reynante Martinez were my first mentors. After my wife and I returned from my 2011 Vacation to Rome Italy my wife was Diagnose with Cancer. Yes it was difficult many night without sleep, I was force to Man up real quick,(Even that I am a U.S ARMY Veteran), emotions and Bullets are 2 different things) I could not show weakness I could not show my tears to my love ones since I was the only hope they have. So there I was standing strong beside my wife, Helping her to go through her surgeries and Chemo therapy. Now I stand tall and strong thanks to you the BLENDER Community (Sardi Pax, VscorpianC, Miguel Roque, Oliver Villar, masterxeon1001, Blender Cookie, BlenderNation) and every single person whom have share their knowledge about Blender via YouTube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2vgm-ixTQs0&list=UUbdXwlFmQ4xvWYsjhNQH4-A

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Mige, that’s quite a story. It’s so good to hear that this community was able to help you! All the best.

  • http://konan.poiemastudio.com/ konan

    It was 2005. I'm a 3d maxer since 1994 and I have tried a bunch of other 3d software. One day someone told me a software called Blender 3D. At that time I just thinking "ah, just another new 3d software... but it's not bad to view it". so I check the site to found thas it free download. "ah, a new shareware....eh, wait... not a shareware... full freeware!... What I could expected from a free software?... hei... it only 8MB! How small it compared with my other 3d software!"
    But I download it and try using Blender 2.41... just going confused with the tools and interface. 'till 2007 when my workplace find new alternative 3d software. I suggest Blender 3D to my Boss, and a few time later the Great Big Boss calling me to talk about Blender 3d.... I could only show him Elephant Dream and the review on forums. My Boss apreciated it then.... suddenly I called to the head office ( I worked in a small branch office ) to teach Blender 3D for whole nationwide staff...... wew.... so I all of sudden learn how to use Blender just in 3 days.... at least compared with daily workflow in our companies..... and that it! very exciting... 3 days learn Blender 3D, to facing other old 3d maxer and maya user with full offense striking Blender 3d.... hehehe.... and since the time I use Blender 3d for animation and game dev 'till now ... never turn back to other 3d application..... :D

    happy b'day Blender....

  • johnnydeezwax

    My dad worked in Television for 30 years and when i expessed interest in animation he downloaded blender 3d and assured me it was the perfect software to introduce me to 3D graphics. He loved all things open source and geeky.

    I didn't think the interface was strange with its hundreds of odd buttons with very technical names. 3D animation seemed like a very technical practice deserving of a complicated interface. But, i did find it frustrating that i couldn't simple use Blender without prior knowledge like other softwares. So I temporarily quit immediately after trying it, like most users.

    Later, i found a tutorial on how to sculpt a human head which showed me the basics operators; add, grab, scale, rotate, etc. but more importantly it exposed me to the concepts of object mode vs. edit mode, box modeling, vertices moving, duplicating and mirror. This tutorial showed me how I could get blender to do my will.

    Nearly 10 years later, blender is my favorite application. I use it for work for animation, graphics and video editing (vse was weird to learn coming from final cut, but now i love it).

    I see blender as a tool, not an identity. But, its one of my favorite tools. I'm looking forward to 2.7

  • Robertson

    What can I say about this fantastic tool to its inventor and Developers is speaking a single word, thanks!
    We as user felt very grateful and happy to have as our ally in our projects, as creator of our dreams and all kinds of ideas that reaches imaginable boundaries.
    Congratulations and all the best
    Are my sincere hope

    Robertson, Brazil

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