pmG are currently running an offer on Messiah Studio for $10 per license (regular price $499). It's being discussed heavily on the various animation sites so I think it deserves a mention here.
This is high end animation software which is best suited to those who are already familiar with this type of workflow, but at this price it might be of interest to hobbyists too. You've probably seen a lot of tv ads made using this software and effects in various Hollywood movies.
Read the page first.
Description from the website:
" messiah:Studio is a powerful animation & rendering software package specifically designed to handle the most demanding character animation & rendering needs. It has been quietly used in feature films, commercials, games, music videos and print ads for over 10 years; and is now one of the fastest growing CG packages on the market.
It's innovative animation centeric workflow is first priority in every aspect of the program, which makes for a unique and fun experience. People have reported feeling "giddy" and "inspired" after seeing just a small sampling of what the program can do. messiahStudio can be used as a complete stand-alone animation and rendering package, or as a powerful addition to Modo, Maya, 3DMAX, SoftImage XSI, LightWave, Cinema 4D or an in-house proprietary application; through extensive animation export capabilities (fbx, mdd, collada), Host Connection plugins and Host API.
Maya users love it's powerful and easy rigging capabilities, such as the ability to setup custom control rigs with visual Armatures, without the need to write MEL scripts. And messiah's "smart bones", that work the way you want, immediately, without requiring weight maps (though weighting systems can be used too).
"messiahStudio is all the power you've wanted, but thought you couldn't afford." "