Since I am just starting out with 3D and 3D animation the things posted here are a bit rough. However, as I learn how to do things I will post what I have learned.
I started using 3ds Max. It has a fairly easy program to navigate around in and use. I was able to follow the screens without looking up a lot of information in the help files or on the internet.
I had done some digging around on the internet to try and find out what people are really using out there to do film, commercial, and video animation. Maya was mentioned quite frequently. So, I downloaded the PLE and tried it out.
After trying it out for a while, I got a real version of the software. This was not because it was easy to navigate and use. I was amazed at the results it gave me. I don't want to knock 3ds. That is not my intention. But, with very little work I got good results with Maya.
I found 2 things in my searches through the internet:
3ds Max - Games
Maya - Movies
I also looked through job postings and most people request knowledge of Maya.
So, my decision was made.