Autodesk Maya is a highly professional solution for 3D modeling, animation and rendering in one complete and very powerful package.
It has won several awards for professionalism and power and is one of the leading industry 3D animation packages. One of the reasons for this is that Autodesk Maya offers a huge amount of objects and effects to work on your projects and because Autodesk Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted or programmed using a well-documented and comprehensive API (Application Programming Interface) or one of two embedded scripting languages, the Maya Embedded Language (MEL) or Python.
This combination of of openness combined with industry standard 3D visual effects, computer graphics, and character animation tools is more than enough for professional film, television, game development, and design projects.
Although beginners will be completely lost at the beginning, the Autodesk Maya interface is surprisingly well organized for such a huge application and different elements such as dynamics, animation or polygons are directly accessible via tabs. Within these are advanced editing features in fields like rendering, animation and relationships. Finally, the Timeline is at the bottom of the interface and allows you to animate and control the evolution of your modeling project.
If you are new to Autodesk Maya however, there are lots of video tutorials and tips on startups about how to use it. These will teach you a number of things like rotating, keyframe animation, component selection and preview rendering. The Help menu is also full of further tutorials and offers links to extra learning resources.
Note that to get the best out of Autodesk Maya, you do need a three buttoned mouse to complete all of the actions possible. Although Autodesk Maya 2012 isn't a huge change from 2011, it offers plenty of powerful new features and has fixed many of the bugs in the previous release.
Autodesk Maya is a solid 3D modeling application that still keeps setting the industry standards.