Just so you know, you can get:
Autodesk Maya (My personal favorite)
Autodesk 3DS Max
for free (3 year license) directly from Autodesk.
Make an autodesk student account (It's free and you don't need a .edu address) After verifying your email address, it'll ask more info about where you study. I selected a random college, field, and admission/graduation dates. And that's it.
Other commercial options available either via trial/student licenses that aren't geared towards archvis/engineering work:
Foundry Modo (More geared towards poly/subd modeling)
Maxon Cinema 4D
SideFX Houdini (more geared towards particle sims/dynamics)
Pixologic ZBrush (3d sculpting. Arguably better than mudbox, but much more difficult interface)
EDIT: Personally, I prefer Maya's interface and workflow over 3ds max's. I find it easier to use and it was quicker to pick up, although 3ds Max has notably better 3rd-party plugin support (which matters, in production environments). Both of these two are very, very robust. Your images won't necessarily look better on one 3D graphics package versus the other. It comes down to which environment you prefer working in and how well you can produce work in it.
As far as the actual rendering part, that's dependent on the renderer your software package is using to produce whatever image you're putting together. Renderers like maxwell, mentalray, vray, all have distributions for different software packages (ie: vray for maya, vray for c4d, vray for blender, etc). In other words, don't judge a 3d software's capabilities on the final output you get when you put together a scene. The image quality depends your scene setup/assets as well as the renderer (not 3d graphics software) you're using. In other words, a turd model won't look any better or worse than it does because you decided to use, for example, cinema4d over blender. The differences with the different animation software available to you is more about how you get from a blank canvas to your final model/image.