Just a short rundown on how the image was brought together. The entire scene was created in 3dsmax5.1, rendered with VRay and finally the picture was touched up in Photoshop
Here is wire frame to see entire scene in models. The tree in the back with leaves were done in Onyx TreePro. The grass (or whatever) was done with Advanced Nature Painter by Herman Saksono, which is a script for max. You can download it from www.scriptspot.com
and just look in the Modeling section on the left. The dead tree on the right, the snake, pitcther plant and frogger are polygon models and I've tried to keep them simple for a relatively low polygon count in the scene
This entire description is really for beginners to help them discover how many great things 3dsmax can do *without* purchasing expensive plugins. If you visit Script Spot (link above) you will find megatons of tools, rendering solutions and just about everything you need.
Now, let's see how the grass was created, I get quite a few questions about vegetation.
Download and install Advanced Nature Painter (in the downloaded package you will find the instructions about how to install the script - easy! It also has two tutrial files as well to guide you)
First (in the top viewport), let's create a "walkway", or something like that. Select the Shape/line tool, set it to Smoth/Smoth and draw a shape that resembles a walkway
When it's done, right right-click on it and click on Convert to and pick Convert to Editable Poly. This is what you should see
I assume you've already installed Advanced Nature Painter, so please, open it. I've placed it in the Tools menu, but you can access from anywhere you like (3dsmax is highly customizeagle). Once the panel is open, you will find out that you can adjust a lot of things. Just about anything you want.Click on the three dots next to Paint to access another panel, where you can adjust the grass strands parameters
Now click on Paint and start moving the cursor around. And that's it, that's all to it. Here is a friendly warning: watch out, don't over-do it, it's easy to add a few hundred thousands of polygons to the scene. I do this in smaller increments and use only so much grass... as much as I really need. Most of the times I group them and select "Display as box" in the "Properties" section. Otherwise it can slow down moving around in the viewports.
And this should wrap up the making of the grass. It's easy, it really is. Once you get a little comfortable with Nature Painter, it's easy to get addicted to it. And, it can do stones as well, or even more once you've learned the controls. I used 3DTotal Organic/Alien texture maps for the scene, they worked really well. BIG kudos to 3DTotal the quality of the maps and thank you guys for giving me the opportunity to try them!