Blender is one of my not-so-secret obsessions among open source projects. Historically the result of a fundraising campaign to liberate an originally proprietary application, it’s got a successful non-profit organization behind it and has executed two amazing open movie projects, Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny. While these projects were funded through grants and donations, I find it heartwarming to see individuals create high quality projects using Blender in their own free time.
Freddy’s World by Fabien Weibel is an example of an animation created by a bright 19-year-old in just 2 months of elapsed time. Fabien has also documented his progress in a work log (recommended reading after watching the video). Fabien’s other projects are also worth a look.
Powerful authoring tools like Blender, Inkscape, and Krita are an incredibly important part of the free software ecosystem and will enrich our culture for years to come. Like Wikipedia, they have international communities behind them. Where possible, I encourage you to donate to such projects. For Blender, you can do so here.