I'm not sure if I'll need to get After Effects right off.. a Creative Cloud subscription is pretty affordable for one license, so if my Photoshop Elements proves unable to do what I need, then I'll go ahead and cough up for it right away.
Houdini has a massive learning curve, so I don't expect to be able to do much there. Tere is a newer version of Poser Pro (PPro 2014), but as far as I can tell it's incompatible with Vue 11, so that has to wait.. which is too bad as it has some seriously powerful improvements over PPro 2012. Le sigh.
At least now I should be able to get some killer landscapes into my Poser scenes!