Thanx again for that Neo.
Have just been reading how to Create a Transparent Gif in Photoshop
and they reckon you should always pick Gif89a to export to, but agree entirely with your assesment of Wiki's information.
Well, at the risk of making a complete fool of myself I've found that PNGs created with Maya when opened with photoshop do indeed show up with a transparent background. Fingers crossed it works okay.
Note to starjsjswars: if this image isn't surrounded by black you can just save as a PNG and it will look fine here on the board.
Never mind my woefull texturing abilities thus far:p