Currently under a major overhaul the application has tons of new features, and has even made it's way into Hollywood. Have read that it was used in the production of one of the Lord of the Rings films, and don't doubt it.
Here is production from the Blender Foundation."Sintel" is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender. With initial funding provided by 1000s of donations via the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film.
This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.
For a detailed list of features check out Blender's website,
Blender is easy to install, has a relatively small installation size, and runs on several popular computing platforms, including Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows, along with FreeBSD, IRIX, NetBSD, OpenBSD and Solaris. Unofficial ports are also available for AmigaOS 4, BeOS, MorphOS , Pocket PC and SkyOS. Though it is often distributed without documentation or extensive example scenes, the software contains features that are characteristic of high-end modeling software. Among its capabilities are:
- Basic non-linear video/audio editing and compositing capabilities.
- Support for a variety of geometric primitives, including polygon meshes, fast subdivision surface modeling, Bezier curves, NURBS surfaces, metaballs, digital sculpting, and outline fonts.
- Versatile internal rendering capabilities and integration with YafaRay, a Free Software ray tracer.
- Keyframed animation tools including inverse kinematics, armature (skeletal), hook, curve and lattice-based deformations, shape keys (morphing), non-linear animation, constraints, vertex weighting, soft body dynamics including mesh collision detection, LBM fluid dynamics, Bullet rigid body dynamics, particle-based hair, and a particle system with collision detection.
- Modifiers to apply non-destructive effects.
- Python scripting for tool creation and prototyping, game logic, importing and exporting from other formats such as OBJ, FBX, DXF, COLLADA, task automation and custom tools.
- Game Blender, a sub-project, offers interactivity features such as collision detection, dynamics engine, and programmable logic. It also allows the creation of stand-alone, real-time applications ranging from architectural visualization to video game construction.
- A fully-integrated node-based compositor within the rendering pipeline