Now I looked around and obviously I came across Maya, 3DS Max and Blender. Since I am a Student I have equal access to all of them. I searched for some books / video tutorial and found some for Blender but they all lack something. Still I am unsure which software to use.
Maya is by far the best for animations and character design. Most levels and other things are made in 3dmax ( but this really depends on the company you work for and who or what their deals/contracts are ) and blender is the free version of them all. If you are a student and have access to them all I HIGHLY encourage you not to waste time with the free tools and start learning with what will be used in the industry. It is very easy to go for the quick and easy answer but I truly feel putting in the hard labor now saves tons and tons of hours later. If you want some tutorials for maya you can find amazing ones on digital tutors.
And then I found some Sculpture tools, like 3d Coat or even now from Autodesk 123D on the iPad. It seems that those tools are made to create characters and not objects like buildings and I can't animate them on the iPad but it could be a start, and then import the model into some other tool on the PC. But apparently sculpting needs more artistic experience then I expected (well last time I sculpted clay was in elementary school).
I own and use 3dcoat on a daily basis. The program is like zbrush and can honestly make/build whatever you like. Once you have a complex understanding of the tools they provide you will find that you can make even rigid objects like robots and other such forms. Normally these programs like 3dcoat and Zbrush are used because it allows for a very fast and realistic creation of humanoid forms or shapes. Not only can it be used to mesh out the shapes but these products normally export the look/feel of the sculpt into occlusion maps, normal maps, specular maps, and displacement maps. All of which are highly used in most shaders today to create the sexy look and feel games have today. Sculpting does take an artists understanding of this but it is not impossible to understand nor is it impossible to master.
As mentioned in other posts after yours these sculpts are normally retop'd via the tools in the software which allows you to make low - mid polygon meshes without any real issue at all. Simply lay some points down and connect them and walla... you have a mesh. In maya and 3dstuido max, without training and experience, this can take several hours or weeks to get done what these programs can allow you to do in minutes. Each of them has a learning curve and each of them have good and bad outcomes.
What do you suggest that I pick up? Is it even possible to get results in a short amount of time (like one month during term break), because some books start with the phrase, something like: " I spend the last 5 years learning Blender and I still don't know everything but enough to write a beginners book..."
It is the cold hard truth of it. Art in this industry can take years to gain a good base understanding. You will never use ONE program and if you attempt to do so you are really limiting your overall potential. If you want something quick and easy that takes little to no time than you are not in the right place of mind. Anything you put together will be half done and you will make things harder because you do not understand the core of what is making everything work. Take it from somebody who tried the same thing many years ago and found out the hard way. ( To this day I still laugh at myself for the silly things I use to think about software and art )
The simple answer is this, get a 3d program and start with low polygon models. Make a 100 polygon or less model and learn how to UVmap and texture it. Once you get that part down add in rigging and animation. If you want estimates for how long that will take?
Basic skill ( shit looking model ): 1 - 5 hours
Mid Skill ( its okay but nothing amazing ): 25 - 90 days
High Skill ( industry grade ): 1 - 2 years
Basic Skill: 1 - 5 hours
Mid Skill: 3 - 50 days
High Skill: 1 - 3 years
Basic Skill ( rigging and setting up controls ): 1 - 5 hours
Mid Skill: 1 - 3 weeks
High Skill: 1 - 5 years
These are HIGHLY generalized numbers but I have taken into account the smartest and the most retarded. Keep in mind that High skill normally takes some type of formal training or some serious time to obtain. Some people are lucky and just are skilled at doing it but that does not mean everybody can obtain High Skill. Mid Skill range means that you have a good understanding and can perform these tasks within a short period of time.
I know what you are saying, "if i put all of your suggested times together I could do it all in 15 hours!". This is true but that is assuming you learn fast and have no issues with understanding the concepts. Most likely whatever you do make in those 15 hours will be less than desirable and will suck. This is not a reason to be discouraged just a reality of the field. Anyway... hope that helps