I am looking for a 3d program that I can get to start making 3d text to be used in Final Cut and After Effects and also in photoshop. Something that does not have too sharp of a learning curve. Does anybody have any suggestions?
Not to sound like I'm kidding, but you've already got some basic 3D text capabilities in the Shatter plugin which is native to AE. Just make a text layer, type your text, and apply the Shatter plugin. You need to make the shatter map Custom, then pick the text layer as the shatter map. Turn off gravity and force, and you're good to go. It's made clearer in this:
It won't give you all the layered texture maps you can get in Max, but it won't take you two years to learn, either. There's texture mapping, a camera, and some basic lighting in there. Learn your way around shatter, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what's involved in most 3D programs. Good luck!