I'm an artist who has switched back and forth between 3D and video roles over the past decade. The past 5 years I've mainly focused on video, editing, compositing and motion graphics, while my 3D work has primarily been animating camera rigs. I haven't used Maya in a few years, but I'm most comfortable in that app. Right now, I'm looking at 3D packages specifically to integrate into my motion graphics workflow. I played with the demo of C4D and really like how fast the workflow is, and I'm told it's really optimized to take advantage of multi-core cpus (I'm ordering a 2.66 GHz 12-core Mac Pro).
While I haven't yet tried it out, I'm told that C4D was designed to have a direct and simple integration into AE, which would be very useful since that's what I'm currently using for motion graphics. On the other hand, I'm not too comfortable with the idea of doing my compositing in a layer-based app since I'm used to working in Shake. Other artists at my studio (not in my department) use Maya, and that would be convenient in the case of wanting to share project files if they're able to help do some modeling and texturing. And perhaps Toxik would be useful for me to use since it's a node-based compositor now integrated into Maya. How is the workflow from Maya to AE, can I render out OpenEXR and import that directly into AE CS5?