I'm a 3D animation grad student - also currently building from scratch. I recognize that we're both on a budget, but I strongly recommend getting at least 2Gb of RAM. One Gb just isn't gonna cut it especially if you plan on ever doing any Photoshop, Video Editing, etc... (which you definately will).
As for video card... I'll let you know when I decide on something. Honestly, today's gaming cards are plenty good enough to do the work. Tom's homepage has a featured article on sub $200 cards.