I'm not sure if this is the right place for something like this, but it seemed like a nice community so I figured I'd try.
I've taken orchestration and composition courses, but everything I've done has been strictly acoustic--on paper, with the occasional finalizing on Sibelius to get parts printed and to their respective performers. Classical composition's always been a hobby, and when a friend approached me with an offer to do some collaborative film-type work (small-time stuff), I figured I'd extend that hobby.
I hear some amazing stuff that's been done without the use of real instruments, and I wanted to get a start on that. I was wondering if anyone had any tips? For instance, is it as simple as purchasing a library such as Garritan Personal Orchestra, and having it set as the output or playback device for what I'd notate in Sibelius? Or would anyone recommend that I invest the time in learning to use a DAW? Would a DAW offer advantages to this kind of music production over a music notation software?
Also, would I need a midi keyboard? Browsing around for information, I've seen quite a bit on this kind of music production needing a solid midi keyboard. Normally I just compose from a regular piano and notate it as I go. Is there a reason midi keyboards seem to be so important in music production?
Basically I'm just looking for some tips to get started. I have almost no experience dealing with the virtual side of music production. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I'd be very grateful!