If you want to use Maya for 3D modeling or animation, and you are not a registered student, then you will need to be prepared to pay way over $2000 to license the software for a single year. A similar story can be said for 3Ds Max, and while alternatives like Cinema 4D and Houdini are cheaper, they can still cost a lot of money. Blender is another alternative with one key advantage.
Because Blender is an open-source application, you will not be required to pay any fees to use it. There is no one-time purchase here, nor is there a license or subscription plan, nor are there any contracts to be signed. Blender is free to use for just about any purpose you can think of relating to CGI.
The price tag is the biggest benefit of choosing Blender over all of these other options. Or rather, the lack of price tag associated with this software. While you can choose to help blend this development financially, you are under no obligation to do so and can use Blender however you see fit.
Can You Use Blender For Free?
To those new to the world of 3D modeling and animation, there is no doubt that one of the very first applications that would be suggested to them, either through word of mouth or via YouTube, is going to be Blender.
The reason why this is the case is that Blender offers a professional-level suite of tools and features that are comparable with some of the top-of-the-range 3D modeling applications that you can license. And it offers all of these features and tools for a cost of 0.
Blender purpose exists as an alternative to the expensive options you will find from Autodesk. My heart, for example, can set you back $2000 a year.
Different applications have different price points, and you can pay for them differently. Some applications require a monthly subscription, others require a license, and some require a one-time payment.
However, Blender 3D does not require any of these. It is free to download, install, and use for just about any purpose. No registration is required either, and an Internet connection is only necessary for the initial download.
Does Blender Take Money?
Blender does not take money through licensing or one-time purchases of the blender software itself. Instead, the Blender Foundation will rely on a combination of donations, subscriptions, and sponsorships through the Blender Development Fund.
You can choose from various methods if you wish to make a single donation to the Blender Foundation to support Blender’s continued development.
If you live within the European Union, you can make a bank transfer. You can also do this if you live outside of the European Union, but there will be a $10 fee on top of your donation.
In most countries, the easiest way of donating to Blender is through PayPal. Again, not all countries allow the use of PayPal, so if this is not the case, you may want to look at the bank transfer option.
The third option on this list is to use a form of cryptocurrency. There are four choices for the types of cryptocurrency that the Blender Foundation currently accepts. These include Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash. Etherium, and Litecoin.
Most of the Blender foundations’ income for developing Blender comes through their Blender Development Fund. This is where you can choose from a range of different tiers how much you wish to invest each month, starting with $5 at the low end of the bronze tier up to the Diamond tier of $250 a month.
If you are running a business, you may even choose to go with a corporate level membership, which is again divided into different levels, going from corporate bronze to corporate patron.
Will I Ever Need To Pay For Blender In The Future?
In the words of blenders founder Ton Roosendaal, Blender is free, forever. So long that the Blender Foundation continues to exist and fund the development of the blender software and so long that it remains under its current GNU general public license. It is one application that she will never have to pay for.
Up to this point, Blender has been both free and open source for the past 20 years, and you can expect it to be free for the next 20 years as well.
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