It took me a little while to get the system worked out and down, but I'm now pretty confident with how to create the textures for each of the image planes I am using to create my characters with in Maya.
I went with image planes as I feel this style will fit a lot better with the platformer video game feel, and the animation I can apply to these will also work well, with repetitive movements.
Each bacteria is made up of at least 4 image planes, body, jaw, and 2 legs, then for the later mutations there is also an arm. The jaw will rotate up and down to look as if the bacteria is chomping, and the legs will move up and down to look like steps as it moves around the environments. The arm will also rotate on the later models.
I made the textures in Photoshop from my concept art designs, chopping them up into the sections needed for each moving body part, and then also creating a transparency layer so Maya would show just the image and not the entire plane.
There are a *lot* of different files, which is a little confusing but it has a definite logic to it that if I stick to then I'm fine.
These are what I have so far, in each one the legs and jaw are parented to the body.
However an annoying little glitch is Maya also does not seem to like me going in and reloading a texture once I have already applied it, say if I had to go back into the Photoshop file and slightly alter it (which I've had to do a few times). It messes around and applies the colour layer or the transparency layer file, whichever I most recently uploaded, to both colour and transparency, and I either have to just apply a new texture over the top with the new updated file, or delete the model and start again.
But, I have a system worked out now, and although it's repetitive and can be frustrating I'm definitely making progress. Now just to finish image planing the other 2 bacteria, and then do the same all over again with the antibiotics, but with more limbs and also weapons.