It took me several tries to wrap my head around Blender. Before the 2.5 release, it had an interface that was very difficult for me to figure out how to use. Still, I was intrigued as I’m a big fan of 3D. I’m glad I stuck with it. The 2.5 release completely redesigned the User Interface and made it, for me at least, easier to understand and work with.
The program itself is an under recognized powerhouse. It’s a very capable 3D modeler, sculptor and animator but it also has strong compositing tools, a 3D motion tracker and a very serviceable video sequencer that you can use to edit video. As I learn to use it more I’m realizing that Blender is developing into a ubiquitous video post tool. Many things that I turn to After Effects or Apple Motion for I’m finding can be done as quickly in Blender. And since I can build elements and effects as necessary in 3D space, there’s a lot of flexibility there that I can’t easily replicate in either of those applications.
If you’re at all seriously interested in doing special effects or 3D animation/modeling, I highly recommend checking out Blender. Its powerful and it is free, free, free!