Blender become stronger and stronger every day. I think is the only application in the world where you can do entire production. Modeling, animation, final rendering, post processing, montage, and final movie. The only external process is burning the movie onto DVD. See here for features.
After first open movie, Elephants Dream, Blender is at his second open movie, Big Buck Bunny. Open movie mean that is free for download and you have access at all production files, scenes and textures.
It seems that first aim of Blender is to be "all in one" application regarding to animation movie production. The next, is targeting Pixar Studio (in my opinion, of course). I think is already better than Lightwave3D and I think is on the right track. Great features are announced for 2.5x versions. Right now, many of Blender plug-ins are in early stage of development.
Here is the plug-in repository for Blender. Some are included in last version of Blender, 2.46. Others are external and if are not already in your package, download them.
Apart of internal Blender renderer (capable but slow) and yafray 0.9 (great features but his development was stopped) full supported, the following external renderers can be used, via exporters:
- V-Ray (surprisingly - standalone version from Maya package)
- Yaf(a)ray (reincarnation of yafray)
- MentalRay (standalone version)
- POVRay and MegaPOV
- PRMan, 3Delight, Air, Angel, Aqsis, ARTVPS, BMRT, Entropy, jrMan, Lucille, Pixie, RenderDotC, Gelato, PBRT, LuxRender and POVMan via Mosaic exporter.