First, some back story. I used to be a member of this forum many years ago when I was still in High School. At the time I was doing a bit of 3d Modeling with 3dMax because I had access to it through school. However, as I entered college I ran-out of spare time for several of my hobbies. However, now I am well established in my work and starting to get more free time and disposable income.
What I'd like to ask you is your advice on 3d Modeling and Rendering software for a hobbyist. As I said, I have decent experience with 3dMax, and I am very comfortable with it's UI (though I am probably several versions out of date). However, I find AutoDesk's licensing model a little out of reach for a hobby. Also, I have tried several times to get started with Blender, but I find it's UI very very difficult (verging on frustrating) to use and I haven't made it very far though tutorials. The other contender that I would probably be considering is LightWave. I don't have any experience with it, but I know it's been an industry standard for many years, and the price fits my budget well.
What advice and recommendations do you have for someone like myself? If you have experience with LW, what's your opinion of it, and what do/don't you like about it? Are there any other options I should try/consider? If you need any more information, please ask. Thank you for your advice!