thanks.....I figured it out with your help
I found out how to get rid of the black background when saving a maya file as an image file,.........though I'm guessing most of you won't be needing to know this.
What I did was to save the maya scene as an .iff file, then I opened it in fcheck and saved it as a .tiff, then opened it up in windows picture viewer and save it as a png then the background becomes transparent when I opened it in photoshop!!
It's a bit of a process, and if anybody knows of a single button trick then feel free to email me :-)