Testing the Waters
Found a very nice tutorial in creating, well, essentially the style I want my environment to be in. Even though the tutorial is done in 3DS Max, I think I can apply the same process in Maya. What Weiye Yin did is simply hand-paint the textures for the tree bark, leaves, and grass. Yin also used alphas and planes for the leaves and grass to create that density without having to spend a lot of polys. An Omni light for primary and Skylight for secondary lighting and GI with a few tweaks and the final images looks beautiful. It's a simple tutorial with great results, so I'm looking forward to texturing and lighting once I have all the preparations set.