You could try Blender3D. It's quite powerfull and I personally like it very much. It has a steep learning curve though. But there are a number of good video tutorials available from the blender site to get you started.
GMax used to be the tool of choice but it was discontinued. Guess it took too much business away from 3DSMax (GMax was essentially 3DSMax lite).
Truespace (http://www.caligari.com) is nice and not too expensive. In fact they've made an earlier version available for free: URL=http://www.caligari.com/Products/trueSpace/tS3/resources/default.html]http://www.caligari.com/Products/trueSpace/tS3/resources/default.html[/url] Tried Blender but couldn't get it to work (but that was several years ago, it's bound to have improved by now). [ November 29, 2006: Message edited by: Jeroen T Wenting ]