You are probably overestimating the learning curve of Blender (you don't need to learn everything, only rigging and animation; hard to remember UI for modeling and the fairly advanced concepts and techniques needed for materials, rendering, compositing etc. are out of scope) and underestimating the learning curve of other tools (which, as you experienced, includes lot of testing and discarding; probably you could have learned how to animate models in Blender in the time you already invested).
Since you know that Blender is good enough, my advice is to assume a more open attitude (you are not a beginner!) and learn the bare minimum of Blender commands and concepts that you need for your tasks.
If you are really allergic to Blender (or other complex software) consider the tried and true solution of getting someone else to help you. This includes both recruiting an expert and convincing a generic friend to learn animating with Blender in your place.