Blender 2.49

Blender is a free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

This is a fully-loaded upgrade of Blender including many game engine improvements (video textures, real-time dome rendering, a Bullet physics upgrade, an improved Python API and a hand full of overall speedups), the long awaited texture nodes, direct painting of textures on your 3D objects, improved boolean operations, JPEG2000 support and Etch-a-ton, a sketching technique for rigging.

News source: Official website
Download: Blender 2.49
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
View: Art gallery

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I think its amazing how fast the program opens in windows (I have not tried the other OS version). It opens just as fast as notepad. I bought a book and I hope to get into a class next semester that uses blender, I need a fun class to balance all the other hard classes.

the user interface could use some work. it's not as easy as 3ds max. there's definitely a learning curve to using blender over max if you've been a long time max user.

It is very confusing, but many of the people I know that use it say it is easier to use than 3DS once you get used to it. Personally, I can't even model a cube with then built-in primitive.

i love blender, its a great 3d package and is looking even better with the development of 2.5. Wanna learn 3D? download blender and give it a try.