I am not a 3D designer myself, but I would like to learn of the program types and/or file types which are compatible with most 3D printers. A simple rundown of the common programs and file formats used would be wonderful.
And, could someone with adept knowledge in a 3D modeling program such as Maya, easily adapt to the other program types used for 3D printing?
In my experience, using any 3D appication will provide you with a good understanding of the techniques. This is usually transferable to other 3D applications, which should make the transition a bit easier.
Of course, you can just stick to Maya and use that to create models for Shapeways!