Is Maya/3D Max all that necessary?

No.500915 ViewReplyOriginalReport
Saying right at the first line. I'm a total newfag in 3DCG. In fact that is not even my favorite kind of draw/creating tool. You see, I work more (and better) in 2D. Pencil, watercolor, ink, etc.
Problem is that is getting more and more difficult to get a job "only" knowing such things. People are demanding you to know such things in computers...because ink is too scary, I guess.
Doing final art in Illustrator was easy enough, and very instinctive for anyone who tried to play with (real) brushes on their lives.
But they demand more. So here I am, trying to do simple, but efficient things on 3D in order to impress when people ask me if ever did a thing or two on those programs.
The stick post is very useful and have some nice links. But here is the question; is Maya 3D MAX really necessary, or can I do nice images/models without those?
I'm asking this because almost all tutorials I found end up in "Now use Maya/3D Max" part. Those are the ADOBE of 3D world, a pain in the ass but unavoidable?
Are really that great or it can have a substitute? They not only are HUGE, but a load of other programs (including a spy one) comes together in the process. Does not help both are not free, and the so called "free version" ask about my University, name city, etc..
Putting those huge beasts only for a month does not sound like a smart idea.
Also they ask for "login" in their site before using their program. That is awful.
Any help?