Re: Animation software?
depends what area you want to work in:
games mainly use 3d max but these days softimage and maya get used too, which was mainly used for film and 3d animations.
animations and CGI for live action movies - Maya and Softimage.
I wouldnt bother with lightwave, even though its still a powerfull software, its not one of the big boys in industry. Learning 3D apps takes a very long time although the principles are the same as each other the techniques and use differ vastly from each other, so if you are going to learn, learn one very well in the area your aiming at. I mainly used Softimage at uni and some modules I used 3D max, after using softimage for a few years then going to Max it was like starting all over again.