My older son recently expressed an interest in learning about animation.
We went to www.DAZ3D.com and downloaded DAZ Studio 4. According to the website, it's available for free until September 15th.
We are still learning, but DAZ does allow you to build entire scenes and use key frame animation to make the characters move. They have a lot of animations already built into the characters.
Of course the way the DAZ people make money is by selling you additional content, but they have enough free products available to give you a good feel for how the software works.
In our case, we've had some trouble getting the software to pull in the additional things we've downloaded from the website. So, make sure that part is working before you spend any money.
Ultimately, my son decided that it wan't what he needed for the project he has in mind. However, I'm planning on keeping the software around to see if we can use it for a book cover or something like that.
p.s.A word of warning: the virtual men and women on the DAZ3D websitealways look like they're on the way to the beach -- or maybe a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue shoot.