Kara and I got new furniture. This was a decidedly "grown up" thing to do for both of us. Neither of us has ever owned furniture that didn't first belong to someone else. No butts have indented our sofa before our own. Sweet.

I have a chair now, which has me stoked. It's this huge, comfortable mass of cow flesh and stuffing with an ottoman in just the right spot. Never before have I luxuriated in such splendor. Seriously. It rocks. I can sprawl in complete comfort while thumbing through DVD menus and downing Chinese food.

I think it's kind of funny how Kara and I keep doing these little things, here and there, that have no other real purpose but to solidify the concept of "married" in our brains. It was a long time coming for me, and I was pretty sure I'd have "adjustment issues." And for her, this "second go-around" was fraught with potential danger and heart break. But after a year-and-a-half we seem to be doing pretty damn well. No money, but who ever has any money? And no kids... it will probably stay that way for a long time. A LONG time.

A recent decision to add to my skill set has led me to Blender - an open source 3D program that seems to be pretty versatile. I'm currently digging through the tutorials online, learning everything I can about it.

I have 3DS Max, Combustion, Lightwav and Poser... heck I think I even have a copy of Maya floating around. These are all "spoils of war" for the reviews I've done over the past year or two. So why, if I have all of these pro suites, would I go with Blender?

I've found a few comparison charts online (like this one) that break down the pros and cons of each suite for me. Blender seemed to match up pretty well against the top-of-the-line suites. Couple that with the fact that it's open source (not to mention free) and I felt like it was a good match for me. I'm a big supporter of open-source software (I use Firefox, OpenOffice, Ubuntu, etc.) so why not use an open source 3D suite?

But I admit, I'll want to learn the other packages anyway. First, because I already own them. Might as well know how to use them. Second, because I figure the more titles I can put on my resume the better. My goal is to make myself a premier, indispensable, unendingly versatile VFX and CGI artist. I'm already a pro with Photoshop, and I want to be just as proficient in 3D.

And I'm doing well... I'm now past the "modeling" portion of the tutorials and I feel pretty confident that I can model anything I want. Now it's a matter of learning to animate. Texture and materials are coming up, too. I figure in another month or so I'll be a complete expert in Blender, and will have a solid foundation to build upon while I learn the other suites.

Wish me luck!

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.


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