So much has happened in the intervening time that I could fill an entire book without giving you all of the wealth of knowledge that has been built up around Blender over the years to help you to realise your own creative ambitions.
Since the founding of Not a Number in 1998 the company has grown from a single person to over forty people. Crucial for this fast development were two major decisions I choose to make. First was the introduction of the much praised/despised Ckey, a commercial addition to Blender costing about 100 USD. This enabled me to invest further, both in people and marketing. Second was the decision to join partnership with Ian Ginn, who was able to develop and establish an ambitious and exciting business model for NaN. Since then we have worked to create a dedicated team of people that enabled us to provide tools and support for the ever-expanding community of Blender users, and that enabled new and unexpected possibilities for the company to establish business with.
As many of you will know, Blender was initially published as a freeware gift to the worldwide computer graphics community, giving design and animation professionals and enthusiasts alike access to the same tools as the expensive programs available on the market. We intend to maintain this free access for Blender users - NaN is not in the business of selling tools! Instead, Blender's unique and future-proofed technology creates a wealth of opportunities for licensing and partnership deals with major industry players. We intend to use these deals to create a standard for distributing and enjoying real-time interactive content, which will allow us to maintain Blender's freeware status on the PC market.
We could never have done it without you, so it is to all of the Blender community that my thanks go first and foremost. On top of that, I must also mention my many colleagues at NaN for their invaluable efforts and commitment to Blender over the past year. A special thanks goes to Carsten Wartmann, who wrote and edited a large part of this book. Special thanks also are for the contributions by Bart Veldhuizen, Geno Ruffalo, Randall Rickert and Reevan McKay. I was very pleased to work with Riff Raff again for an exciting graphical design; they developed the concept for this "Blender world atlas".
I wish you all a pleasant journey and lots of amazing discoveries! :-)
Amsterdam, November 2000.
Since Blender is a product that evolves continuously, with new releases coming available every 2 to 4 weeks, it is impossible to 'freeze' development to enable a manual to be valid for a longer period. That's why we had to decide to base this manual on Blender V2.04, one of the first 'gameBlender' releases, with interactive 3D features still under beta. This manual covers all of the 2.0 functionality to build, render and to animate, but is not intended as a guide how to create games with Blender. That will be in another book, part of the Boxed Blender, which we will publish - bundled with some cool games - first quarter next year.
This Blender 2.0 Guide covers all changes that have been made in Blender in the past 2 years. We have tried to gather together as many tutorials and micro-guides as possible to update our last manual (1.5-1.8) and to help newcomers to Blender to get started with the software. Inside, users should readily be able to find help and references covering all aspects of Blender 2.0x to let them bring their creative ideas to completion.
This book is intended as your travel guide, an atlas to the Blender World. The first part contains a general introduction to Blender and a quick tour with some short visits to essential Blender countries. The second part thoroughly explores each Blender continent, with fun travels and practical examples. The third part is a complete reference for the experienced traveler, e.g. a full description of the hotkeys and buttons in Blender.
Other interesting resources for Blender users:
Our website, "http://www.blender.nl" . The discussion forums here provide an excellent support and feedback, here is where you can meet with other Blender users and discuss or view the artworks they make.
Direct NaN support for users: "email@example.com" . You can also use this email address to ask questions about this book or to point us to the inevitable mistakes that might have sneaked in!