Posted by Daedalus12:
Has everyone in here tried Houdini? I heard it is completely different from other 3D packages.
Houdini has a very powerful scripting language, and a very nice external renderer, but it is both insanely difficult to use and very expensive. Unless you're doing serious film work, I'd avoid Houdini - and even then Maya is just as powerful and well-supported.
If you're beginning with 3D animation, I'd recommend a more user-friendly package like LW or MAX. I've not tried Cinema4D or some of the other packages, but I've heard good things about them.
The most important thing is to learn the techniques
and not the packages. Learn basic design, and especially lighting - those skills are valuable regardless of what 3D package you end up working with.