Blender (blender.org) is a free and open-source 3D modelling and animation application. Blender boasts the distinction of being one of the earliest crowdfunded software applications, if not the first. When the controlling company went bankrupt in 2002, the community raised €100,000 to purchase the copyrights and free the source code.
It has a feature set that is comparable to commercial software such as Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya, and has been used to create animations and visual effects for films and television (Spiderman 2, History Channel programmes and others), and games – it actually includes its own game engine. NASA even publishes the 3D models of its various spacecraft and satellites in Blender format.
Blender’s core written is C and C++ but it supports scripting in Python to provide new functionality. New file formats, tools, game logic and automated tasks are added through the Python APIs. Support for three.js import/export is provided via a Python plugin (included in the three.js GitHub repo).
The Blender Foundation oversees the development of Blender. In addition to hosting a yearly conference featuring an animation festival of short films created using Blender, it also sponsors Open Projects. The goal of these projects is to validate the use of Blender as a media creation tool, expose gaps in features and close them. These films or games are community-developed using Blender and all assets are licensed under Creative Commons. The features used will eventually make into a new version of Blender.