02-28-2012, 10:18 AM
Hi Menmyself, I was a senior in high school when I first got my hands on GIMP and Blender--my intro to the world of "digital creation". I learned a lot from them and the transition to Photoshop, Maya, and other tools was probably smoother because of it. I think they're great for learning as well as for independent filmmakers, and I've seen some amazing work come from artists using them--I'll always be a supporter of open source.
That said, I don't think they'll completely replace the major software packages anytime soon, if ever. Though I'm not the most knowledgeable or experienced person to claim this. Just my two cents.