I hope these resources will help you start a path in the field of animation.
My Work - This is an old example
Someone Else's Work - Another example for reference
Source Film Maker
Source Filmmaker is a very strong tool that uses in-game assets from existing Steam games. It has a large community. It is primarily an animation tool but it is something that will let you learn the core concepts of 3D animation and film making without the cost of a big budget program.
Examples I have made:
Example of a feature film that used this tool
Not for practical home purchase, but tools used in large productions.
Educational licenses are available for some when going to school for animation.
Motion BuilderI have used Motion Builder every day for the last 7 years. It is well worth knowing for movies and video games alike. It is not a modeling tool, but it has the capability for motion capture that surpasses all the other tools.
3D Studio MaxThis is the program I used to learn animation. It is a powerful modeling tool and it can be used for several animation purposes. It is a complete package that will allow you to learn a lot of the basics and improve in all animation areas.
MayaThis is a strong animation and modeling package. If you are a coder it will work in your favor, since it is geared towards using tools made by the user. Its a very very powerful tool. It is one I still need more experience with.
SoftImageThis is my favorite modeling, simulation, rigging and animation tool of the Autodesk products. Once you familiarize yourself with its shortcuts it is absolutely one of the best tools in the lineup of 3D tools you can use.
Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 2
These are the best books that I have found on building a foundation for drawing. They teach you to draw loosely and simply first, so that you can build upon your foundation with a better drawing over top of it. With the simplest drawings you can create a foundation with a lot of implied 3D aspects to emphasize pose and and emotion.
This book has a lot of information and stories about Richard Williams' adventures in animation for the movie "Who Framed Rodger Rabbit" and beyond. His take on the the basics of animation and the core fundamentals of animation is very useful and something that every animator can build upon. It's the first book I read back-to-back on the subject of animation. I would still suggest the Drawn to Life books be read first to help to understand some of what Richard Williams talks about.
Ultimately, animation is acting. This book covers the subject for animators in a way that people inclined to animation can understand. The author of the book teaches acting. He teaches animators how to think about what they're animating on screen. It is a good read. The more advanced you become the more sense this will make to help you build upon your animation foundation.