I'm beginning my foray into the world of 3D. Primarily I've been involved in 2D work but am seeking to branch out into 3D for my own personal projects.
Recently I played through Chrono Cross again and was curious as to how they created the stunning pre-rendered backgrounds and thusly, have a great desire to create such things myself rather than spending ages working with paints on a 28" canvas. As I'm a complete newbie I have no idea how they achieved this and more importantly, where would be a good place to start.
All the selections of 3D programs baffles me. I really only want something for creating environments and lush landscapes and was curious if anyone here could offer some friendly advice to me as to which program would be suitable for this kind of work and is newbie friendly. I'm currently looking to invest in a suitable application.