I'm looking for someone who could help me figure out a good configuration or laptop that would help me run 2d animation programs (Flash, photoshop, illustrator, ect.) and 3d programs (Maya, Mudbox, 3ds max, ect.).
You don't "need" a desktop. You may "want" a desktop because you will get more performance for the dollar or whatever currency you will be using.
For both Laptop and Desktop configurations I would look at Intel i7's only (maybe i5's for the desktop as they are Quad-Cores)
Next thing you need to think about is the video card/GPU configuration. Obviously you need a discrete video card to be able to do 3D designing more easily. When I was buying my laptop I set my minimum for the GPU as a GT 650M which is basically a desktop equivalent of a 640M. Anything higher will even be better.
RAM is cheap, and laptops with 2 dimm slots can have up to 16GB and 4 dimm slots up to 32GB most of the time (unofficially in some cases.) 8GB is a good starter if you will be doing design orientated things.
Storage is important also. A SSD as a boot drive, and having a 1TB HDD for storage as you will have a lot of files.
Another thing to think about is will you only use the Laptop screen/monitor or use a good quality external monitor. If you're not going to use a good external monitor, then you want a laptop that has options for high quality LCD panels. You could install your own LCD Panel, but that is a bit more complex, and would void warranty.
At the end the previous poster is correct, you need to provide us more information then what the computer will be used for. Budget is a really important answer. People say they don't have a budget, and then a person will go ahead and name a computer that is $4000 then they say it's too much. That wastes both the OP and the other members time.
If you don't plan on getting a new laptop for a very long time, then I would suggest you max out the laptop. i7 that can turbo boost to ~3.5-4.0 GHz with all four cores activated. 16-32GB of 1600+ RAM. For AMD GPU a 7970M, for NVIDIA a 670,675,680M(X). Those would be my suggestions for the core part for an laptop.