Blender is a professional, free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications and video games. Blender’s features include 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, motion graphics, video editing and compositing. It also features an integrated game engine.
The Dutch animation studio Neo Geo developed Blender as an in-house application in January 1995, with the primary author being software developer Ton Roosendaal. The name Blender was inspired by a song by Yello, from the album Baby. When Neo Geo was acquired by another company, Ton Roosendaal and Frank van Beek founded Not a Number Technologies (NaN) in June 1998 to further develop Blender, initially distributing it as shareware until NaN went bankrupt in 2002.
On July 18, 2002, Roosendaal started the “Free Blender” campaign, a crowdfunding precursor. The campaign aimed for open-sourcing Blender for a one-time payment of €100,000 (US$100,670 at the time) collected from the community. On September 7, 2002, it was announced that they had collected enough funds and would release the Blender source code. Today, Blender is free, open-source software that is—apart from the Blender Institute’s two full-time and two part-time employees—developed by the community.
The Blender Foundation initially reserved the right to use dual licensing, so that, in addition to GPLv2, Blender would have been available also under the Blender License that did not require disclosing source code but required payments to the Blender Foundation. However, they never exercised this option and suspended it indefinitely in 2005. Blender is solely available under “GNU GPLv2 or any later” and was not updated to the GPLv3, as “no evident benefits” were seen.