hey guys, thanks so much...appreciate all your comments.
mEgA fLeeCe RaIn; there are a few older tutorials on my web page, and you might be able to find some of my Imagine FX articles if you look through some back issues. I'd like to write some more, but I'm pretty busy at the moment so I'll have to wait until I get some free time.
AdrianNagorski; thanks man! yep you're right on the money, for many technical designs it's easier to just mock up the shapes in a 3D program and then paint over top of it in photoshop. I use Sketchup a lot for this, and if you're not familiar with it, I'd recommend the free download just to play around with it....you'll soon see the potential. I also sometimes use maya for this process, however it doesn't really matter what package you use...just whatever you are comfortable with.
Vaejoun; I got in the concept business in a round-a-bout way....started as a 3D modeller and texture artist, and then slowly made the transition. Eventually I worked on a project where I was full-time concept artist, and decided that was pretty much what I wanted to do from then on. A 3D background helped me a bit I think...thinking of objects in 3 dimensions was made easier for sure when translating them to 2D. I don't think it's necessary to know 3D programs to get a full-time concept gig, but it certainly doesn't hurt either. Just treat 3D as a tool in your toolbox, useful for solving certain problems that would take too long otherwise, and use where appropriate.
deco152; haha, thanks man - appreciate it.
PaulDavidson; thanks Paul! hope you're good.