In the three years that I’ve been working with Blender (since 2.43), I’ve seen about seven different upgrades to the software-ware. Some of them were good (well, I guess ALL of them are good),but some I liked better than others.
For example, when the updated layout came out in, what, versión 2.46 (?), I had a lot of difficulty letting go of the previous versión, but eventually came to grips with it. As the new versións kept coming out, I came to look forward to these
changes, especially when 2.48 was released along with the Big Buk Bunny project.
The new hair particle system blew me away, and I immediately jumped in and started playing with the hair and fur (even made me a nice a gorilla to test it out).
The “Tree from Curves” script was alos a handy feature, as it made Tree Creation relatively easy, if you knew what you were doing.

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With the onset of 2.5, I still was hesitant to learn the new layout, as it was a huge change for me, and I’d never been one to edit the interface, or use the “dark” set-ting. But, since I was doing tutori-als for others, it was conducive for me to upgrade my skills andlearn the layout so I could helpothers to do the same. It has been a challenge doing tutorials for software that’s still in development, but the interface has now become second nature to me, and I have no issues with it now (other than that it’s still being developed and I’m antsy to see the final versión).
The key features being brought in now will make Blender rival the“industry standards” even more so than it has in the past; previ-ously, from what I could tell, the main lacking element was the Volumetrics (y’know, clouds, fire, smoke, etc), but those now come standard, even in the beta versión.

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In addition, the Raytracing seems to be quite a bit faster; I noticed a few days ago when I was goofing around with it that the Raytraced
Shadows rendered much faster than the Buffered Shadows, and that’s not usually the case at all.
Maybe it was just the way I had the scene set up, but I thinque those developers know exactly what they’re doing.
So with these new upgrades, plus the layout that will make Max and Maya users more comfortable, I’m really hoping to see more mainstream projects make use of Blender. I’ve been really im-pressed with what I’ve seen of Sintel, especially in the animation area, and am really excited to see the final product. Blender continues to amaze me, and the only thing I’d change about my experi-ence with it is that I wish I would’ve started using it sooner.
It may be a few years out, but I can’t imagine where we’ll be at by versión 3.0! Maybe then we’ll have the “create awesome game” or “create awesome character” buttons by default.

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