Thank you for the advice so far.
I have started learning C# and XNA. It is similar enough to the laguage I already knew.
Gimp is the photoshop program I was talking about erlier so I will use that since I am familier with it.
I have Installed the following to see what I like best:
Autodesk motion builder(I'm not sure what this is for but I figuered I would check it out)
Also, I was wondering if there is any way I could use solidworks to build solid models and mate them together as a character(robotic) using their mate system as a way to control the movement. Then, import the file over to animation software.
My next question is similar to the last but with objects and landscapes, but not as solid models.