Probably one of the most daunting aspects of Blender for newcomers and longtime 3D professionals alike has been its unique and somewhat peculiar interface. It's arguably the most controversial feature Blender has. In fact, at one time, merely calling the interface a feature would raise the blood pressure of some of you who tried using Blender in the past, but gave up in frustration when it did not behave as expected.
Although the interface wasn't the primary focus, the interface updates to Blender added in the 2.5 series of releases have made great strides toward alleviating that frustration. As a small example, when you first launch Blender, the splash image that appears is more functional now, providing you with quick links to online documentation as well as a list of recently opened files. Figure 1-2 shows the splash image you're presented with when you start Blender for the first time.
If you click anywhere other than the links provided by the splash image, the splash image goes away, and you're greeted with Blender's default scene, as shown in Figure 1-3. If you're looking at the interface for the first time, you may think it appears pretty daunting. However, the purpose of this book is to help you get the hang of Blender, explaining some of the design decisions in the interface and ultimately allowing you to be productive. Who knows, you might even start to like it and wonder why other programs don't work this way!