By: Robert Laine July 6, 2017

Blender3d started about 2001 and has grown to be much more than the originally intended free 3D software application. Through community involvement, it has become one of the best 3D programs, a “pro-mercial” software, which means professional level but affordable to amateurs, i.e., free of charge.


Blender 3d was designed to be a modeling program, much like CAD (Computer Assisted Design). The community added modules for more functionality, such as video, built-in primitives i.e. cube, pyramid, cylinder, etc.


CAD has the longstanding reputation and support. It also has a minimum price tag of $3000 for the most basic, functional workstation. There are CAD-type programs for less than $100, but they will never do all the functions without the cost of additional add-ons.


Additional features for CAD are written only by authorized engineers, whereas almost all additional features for Blender 3D are written by people across the world, for free, because they just want to make a name for themselves.


This concept has gone as far as using Google APIs to do some of the heavy work in creating 3D models in Blender. The API (Application Program Interface) called Open Street Map, for example, will allow you to pick any place in the U.S. and have all the coordinates mapped, along with the elevations of the buildings. With this information, Blender can construct the entire neighborhood.


Blender’s MANY prefabricated models can be easily manipulated into whatever you want. Start with a box, add a pyramid on top and “Who-la” you have a basic house. Add a cylinder, rotate it, make it “pointy” at the top and you have a silo -- the beginnings of a farm scene. Pretty easy, hey?


I have provided examples of very easy cityscapes and one that I created. Tell me what you think.


Blender has been used for making high-quality short movies and professional commercials, as I show on my website. Some examples would be “Sintel” and “Alien Obsession.” It has been used in Brazil, Canada and other countries for professional commercials for auto manufacturers and appliances.


A companion piece of software, MakeHuman, allows a user to create a character of any age, gender, proportions, and to clothe them. It can even export the fully rendered character to a file imported by Blender. You can then create a full video within Blender using custom characters of your own creation.


Bob Laine has a B.S. in Computer Science and an A.S. in Mathematics with over 30 years of professional experience. He has worked at the Chicago Tribune as a tech analyst and Staples as the computer tech. Bob sells StreetWise at the Lake and Morgan El stop and can be reached at Additional links and info can be found at Follow him on Twitter @TechLaine