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What software for making movies and graphics

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Please help! My son's technological interests have surpassed my knowledge bank and he has developed a bit of a movie making hobby.


He would like to do some CGI with his movies, perhaps integrating special effects or splicing with animation, but I don't know what kind of software would help him do that. Any ideas? Maybe two different ones: one for graphics and animation and then another to splice his animations with his real-life movies? I'm hoping for cheaper...


Also, if you know what the tablet drawing pad thing is that plugs into the computer, that would be great information too. :D

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Wacom Bamboo is probably the best graphic tablet. Look out for the editions that come with bundled software - they work out much cheaper that way.


For 3D animation we've just been to a workshop using Autodesk Maya. It looks overwhelmingly complicated, but there are plenty of videos on youtube to help you figure it out. There's a free student version, so don't get sticker shock from the commercial price! http://engineeringeducation.typepad.com/.m/engineering_education_for/2009/03/attention-homeschoolers.html

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