I have decided to train myself in autodesk Maya and focus on 3D animation in my future efforts. Even though last year we worked with Autodesk 3DS Max in college, I wanted to see what Maya can offer. Maybe I was drawn to it because it's suposedly the most complicated 3D program to master out there, so I figure if I can master this one I'll be able to tackle any animation software.
It's a bit of a step back though having to re-learn old tricks we already learned to do in 3DS Max, but there are a lot of features already I really like in comparison, while others seem to be less flexible or at least less obvious in it's application.
The book I bought to help me get the basics of Maya is the official book: The modelling & Animation Handbook - Autodesk 2010.
It starts out on intermediate basis but caries you through modelling in polygons and NURBS to a fully animated scene at the end and even some lip synching as a bonus. The book is written by people who worked a lot on the development of the Maya application, which means the whole thing is presented a bit dry, and sometimes seems more like a handy reference then a book to learn the application with. On the other hand since I'm already familiar enough working with 3D, I'm quite happy with that as I spend most of the time figuring things out myself :)
Just finished modelling the body of Charlie Anna, and I'll now be moving over to the head. I'm particularly interested in texturing using UV's and rigging a bit later in the book. But for now here are some images of the modelled body: