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You'll find that the Atmel AVR is easier to work with in general, though there is a larger 'net presense for the PIC. I find AVR support and resources to be perfectly fine though, and there are many projects out there with them.
The main thing is the non-pages memory - I *hate* that obsolete architecture that the PIC uses. The one-clockcycle/one-instruction deal with the AVR is pretty nice too
IMHO both of them are good. I started with PIC, couple of years ago, I started to be more oriented to Atmel, because Microchip did not have any bigger uC with FLASH memory.
Now, when I need I2C or I need to write program in ASM, I use PICs. When I need to write program in C, I use Atmel.
I have used both Atmel and PIC and both have merits and the community support is good. Lately I have leaned toward Atmel because of the ease when working with the boot loading flash parts. Also, I found the dev tools a little cheaper and better engineered - particularily when working in C. Just my opinion though.
C'mon guys, 12X 14X 16X PICa are archaic and very cumbersome in terms of architecture. As far as i know what made them so popular is that they were the first microcontrollers to go that small in package and price.
the pics are cheaper. the atmel seems more elegant.
the "old" architecture of the pics (i.e. changing manually the page bank) is well handled by the compilers (basic or c). that's only if you want to use the assembler.