In This Chapter
Exporting to other programs
Rendering still images and animations
Working in Blender is great, but, eventually, you'll want to make the things you create viewable in programs other than Blender. You may want to have a still image of a scene, or a movie of your character falling down a flight of stairs, or you may want to export the geometry and textures of a model to use in a video game. In these situations, you want to export or render. The best way to remember the difference between the two is that exporting takes your 3D data from Blender and restructures it so that other 3D programs can understand it, whereas rendering is the process of taking your 3D data and creating a 2D picture from the perspective of a camera. That 2D image can then be seen in image editors like The GIMP and Photoshop or movie players like QuickTime and VLC.
There are two primary reasons why you'd want to export to a different 3D file format than Blender's .blend format. The most common is to do additional editing in another program. For instance, if you're working as a modeler on a large project and you decide to use Blender, chances are good that whomever hired you unfortunately is not using Blender, so you're probably going to have to save it in a format that their program understands.
The other reason for exporting is for video games. Many video games have a public specification for the file format they use for the 3D ...