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So, how do we get started with Blender? Well, the easiest way to get Blender is simply download it for free from Blender.org. All you need to do is go to the website and click on the Download button that's right there. That brings you to a page where there is every major platform supported. You can get Blender. You can look at the documentation. You can actually get the source code to Blender and compile it on your own machine. On this page is Blender for 32 bits and 64 bits, Linux in 32 bits or 64 bits, the Mac OS X versions, as well as high-end graphics work stations from Solaris and Irix.
If you do get the Windows version, you will need to download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package from Microsoft, if you're not running Vista. If you're running XP or Windows 98 or some other older version of Windows, you'll have to get this Visual C++. Blender cannot redistribute it, since it is a proprietary package from Microsoft. Once you do that, you simply run the installer, make a few easy choices about where to put your custom folders and your custom directories and like that, and you're off and running.
The other place to get Blender from for free is to download a customized build from GraphicAll.org. If you go in here, you have first of all, the latest builds, any latest bug fixes or experimental builds that people are trying out, feel free to download those. Also, down here at the bottom of the page, you can get optimized builds based on the actual PC chip that's inside your PC. Even if it's a Windows PC, you may have an AMD Quad Core or an Intel Quad Core.
That is able to process much faster and those are called SSE3s or SSE2s. If you have that kind of chip in your machine, you can download this particular customized optimized build and Blender will run like 30-40-50% faster when doing rendering. That's how you can get Blender and download and install Blender, get up and running as fast as possible. The other item to note is that Blender uses the Python language, which is an open source language for extending and running what's called scripts.
So that's a very end-user-friendly language that you can program Blender in and program against Blender and cause Blender to do all sorts of neat and wonderful things which you can actually customize and extend Blender. When you install Blender, you'll be brought to the Python site. It's not absolutely required that you have the latest and greatest Python language installed. In fact, you need to install Python 2.5, but it's always a good thing to have, in case you do start getting into running scripts.
You won't be able to run them unless you have the Python language installed on your computer.
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