Who doesn’t like to get something good for free? The open source community offers all kinds of resources that go beyond free applications, including free books on mastering the top open-source applications.
In this post, I’ll cover an excellent book about Blender, available for free online. Blender is a robust 3D graphics and animation application that can help you create eye-popping graphics for web sites, blogs and documents.
If you’re unfamiliar with Blender, take a look at the gallery posted here for the quality of graphics you can produce with this free application (available in Windows, Mac and Linux flavors). It’s actually been used to produce respected full-length 3D movies but is also more than capable of helping you give a web site, a blog or documents a distinctive, eye-catching look with still 3D graphics. The screenshot above was created by a member of the Blender community, and it’s a drawing, not a photo.
Learning to use Blender is a lot of fun and adds a useful tool to your graphics repertoire. “Blender Basics, Second Edition” is an exhaustive, free online book, downloadable as a 120-page PDF here. It takes you through 2D and 3D graphics creation, how to add lighting effects, and much more. The animation aspects of the book won’t necessarily be of interest to all web workers, but still might be fun to try out.
On OStatic, we also recently covered Linuxtopia, a site that houses a huge number of tutorials. Don’t let the name fool you if you’re not a Linux user. The site includes very complete guides on many free, non-Linux applications and platforms.
For example, you can find thorough guides on virtualization (useful for running dual operating systems), beginning Java programming, the GIMP (a powerful open-source graphics application), web development tools, and much more. Look down the left rail of Linuxtopia for the many free online guides that are available.
Share your Blender tips and tricks in the comments.