A little bit about me if anyone is interested:
I have worked full time in Public Utilities all my life. I have no formal training in art although it has been my free-time hobby of choice. I remain self-taught (as I guess a lot of us are).
When I was young I tried my hand at creating landscapes using watercolor painting, pen and ink, airbrush and silk screen but when I discovered Bryce I fell in love with XYZ coordinates. No longer was I frozen into the same 2D point of view when starting a picture. Now I could build the scene dynamically and choose the right view point, materials and lighting as the scene developed.
It wasn't long after that I realized that my attempts at creating satisfactory art required a true modeling program. 3ds Max was a natural fit for me. I could learn how to build the objects that I needed to integrate into the landscapes. Then I discovered Vue and I sadly left Bryce behind. To round out my toolbox I now find Photoshop and 3D-Coat an indispensible part of the creation process. I really admire those of you that excel in Poser and DAZ, but so far I am very weak in character based images.
As an amateur/hobbyist who loves learning how to use all these wonderful software tools, I am nowhere near the level of skill that I hope to achieve someday. Viewing all the wonderful images here at Renderosity can be a very humbling experience. Maybe it is only natural to compare ones artistic attempts with those viewed in the Galleries found here. Sometimes this can lead to discouragement, but more often it is inspirational.
So thanks to everyone for the inspiration. I'll keep trying!