How does one dabble in 3-D animation?

This is inspired by the new animation shots for World of Warcraft.

I want to see if I could have some aptitude for 3-D computer animation. I want to play, to try it out, see how it fits, see if I like it.

Are there programs (like Garageband for mixing or IMovie for editing, simple but functional) that would allow me to use some 3D tools and see if I have any talent for it?

You might try Blender.
I’ve been meaning to check it out myself, but haven’t had the time lately.
Free, open-source, multi-platform. What’s not to like ;j .

How cool are you!

That is so awesome!

I want to add a corollary to my OP.

Anyone out there doing 3D animation? Tell me all about it.

Check out Pov-ray and Blender.



You want some real programs
just kidding
Here are some full-featured trial versions of state-of-the-art programs to help you out…

Softimage XSI v3 EXP
Maya v6 PLE
3dsmax v7 trial
Cinema4D v8 Demo

Hang out at CGTalk, especially the tutorial and game forums. 3DBuzz has free training videos.

I never expected so many replies.

OS X just moved WAY up on my “must get” list.