I think what gmask has said makes great sense. It's not a program that you can learn quickly. I've effectively been using Maya now for about 6 months. I've probably spent over 400 hours alone working in it. I've bought books, and read tutorials numerous times. I think I can say that my progression is coming along nicely, but I am far from knowing this software 100%. You can't compare Photoshop to this software. You probably haven't seen this yet, but the Paint FX window is almost a mini-photoshop in and of itself. Pretty cool stuff awaits you my friend.
All I can say to you really, is the more familiar Maya becomes to you, the more you'll figure out what you can do with the software. It took me awhile to get used to the interface, and where everything is at. But now I pretty much know where everything is at, and how it functions. There's things that I haven't touched yet, like animation and camara settings, but I think if you focus on one thing at a time it will help you figure out this software faster. Trying to learn modeling, texturing, rendering, animation, dynamics, etc... all at the same time will keep you from digging deeper within those areas.
My breakdown for learning this software is this:
- Modeling- This is more fun to me than any other part of 3D
- Texturing- I find myself knuckling my forehead quite alot learning this stuff.
- Lighting- This is where life comes to your 3D scene.
- Brain overhaul- This is after my second year of "Trying to learn Maya".*
I originally bought Maya so I wouldn't be left in the dust as an artist. I'm an illustrator, and I can see the benefits of learning 3D. Especially since it's gotten to be so much easier to accomplish amazing things with it. I figured if I disreguarded 3D now, some kid ten years from now will be able to produce artwork much greater than I can freehand, just by getting some free models off of the internet and plopping it into a 3D scene. It's almost at that point now. But I don't think I'm that far behind yet. So I am learning and creating with Maya as much as I can.
*This is solely my prediction. This event hasn't happened yet.