As for maya, you can download student versions, as long as you arent working professionally it is ok. I am sure 3d studio max is the same. There is a lot of good free stuff to work with out there!
You for sure can get work like your friend, just have to work hard an promote yourself! Keep it up!
Originally Posted by Venom-V
Interesting aspect to note that is on the degree side, i'll keep it in mind as i'm practically in the same boat with an Associates with a major in Art, thanks! I'm more of a guy on the art side of things like yourself, it's just that i don't have certain programs you guys would use to design your characters and what have you in order to expand my portfolio. I'm pretty good at drawing and using graphics programs like Photoshop (glance my small gallery here --> http://venom-v13.deviantart.com/gallery/ ) but i'd like to add more works like those that utilize the programs you guys use directly like Maya, Z-Brush, 3D Max Studios and what not. I've had a chance at Max and Maya before but never had personal copies of them for myself in order to really push the boundaries in what i could do but i suppose i can change that. Like someone mentioned earlier, i too am an outsider not from the U.S (hello from Belize out here in the Caribbean Central American area) and i'm aware also of how hard it is for those coming from outside in but i have a friend who studied with me and is from here originally as well who is over in the U.S now working on games and i say if he can accomplish that goal then so can i! On that Art site link given earlier i've also had a chance to run into 2 of your fellow God of War designing colleagues, 1 named Andy Park and the other going by nickname Izzy (i believe you know these guys well)!