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A lot of people don't get on with Blender & give up quickly. Don't - it's good - honest guvnor! I gave up myself with the older version a few years ago, but the newer 2.4+ versions are much improved.
Selected links & tutorials that helped me immensely:
Blender for the faint-hearted @ Sci-Fi meshes
If you only look at one site, look at the Faint-hearted tutorials - they helped me the most!
2.43 Manual
Blender Hotkeys list
WikiBooks Noob to Pro series

Also there are quite a few video tutorials on YouTube that are quite useful. For example the
" target="new">array modifier.
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Yay, I've only used the more recent version, but I too was pretty impressed.

I'll take a look at that scifi-meshes one. The one I learnt on was the "noob to pro", what did you think of that series?

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Yeah Noob to Pro is one of the better ones out there, though sometimes a bit inconsistent (as to be expected!)

Gah just noticed the images in the Faint-hearted series don't work any more :(

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I've always heard since day 1 of Blender that it was the hardest to learn but once you picked it up it was the easiest and most intuitive to use. Glad you stuck it out. So do you think the newer version makes the learning curve less steep?

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Yep once you learn the basics you can fly through things with the hotkeys.
The newer version has a lot of the horrible bits removed or changed, and also there's more and better documentation available (though some things are still quite hard to find.)

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