You may also check out these shorter (under 5 mins) youtube Blender demo reels highlighting Blender works of artists worldwide: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
Forewarning: at first glance, the Blender interface looks intimidating. Keep in mind though that it is one of the best and most intuitive modeling interface designs. Modeling in general is a time consuming game and it takes some patience and dedication to learn it, regardless of the type of software you use.
Blender's interface is designed to work best with a three-button mouse and a numpad keyboard. Although a bit more difficult, it is quite possible to use Blender with a laptop touchpad and a keyboard without numpad keys. If you decide on the latter, you need to configure Blender as follows. Open the Blender application, then select File/User Preferences, click on the Input tab, then check the options "Emulate 3 button mouse" and "Emulate numpad". Click on "Save User Settings", then close the preferences windows. The middle mouse button (MMB) will be emulated with Alt-LMB (Left Mouse Button).
|Number pad||1||Front view|
|5||Perspective / orthographic view|
|g||grab or move the selected object|
|r||rotate the selected object|
|s||scale the selected object|
|x||delete the selected object|
|Shift-c||place cursor to origin (0,0,0) and change view to include ALL objects. Think of it as "HOME"|
|Shift-a||Bring up the "Tools" menu to add new meshes, etc.|
Play with these shortcuts and get comfortable with them. In addition, make sure you learn how to zoom in and out using the mouse wheel (or emulator), rotate the scene using the middle mouse button MMB (or emulator), and translate the scene using Shift-MMB. The time you put into this now will pay off later.
This tutorial explains how to split and join windows, and how to change the window layout and other preferences in Blender. It is a bit early for you to decide what layout would work best for you, until you've gained some experience with modeling in Blender, so keep in mind that you can always rewatch this video once you decide that the default layout is not ideal for you.