Disclaimer: I call myself a novice now, not a rank beginner. That means I "still don't know much," or worse "just know enough to get into trouble." But I do obsess over minute technical details...for better or worse.
I love Elixir nanowebs. Smooth and nice. I'm trying polywebs on the elec. (acoustic's my primary) and I actually like 'em...not sure how the tone would differ tween polys and nanos on acoustic.
Elixirs are pretty quiet. John Pearse are the squeakiest bastards I've ever felt.
Elixirs are expensive, but every time I get a "normal" set of strings, I miss the dank. They're really shimmery when you put 'em on, but once they settle in, the overtones mellow out and they just sound sweet (a lot like how fiddle strings behave). Last a long time too, IMO. It's also nice to not have nasty rusty solid strings. Other acoustic strings I've played are Martin (OK) D'addario (about the same IMO) and John Pearse (I thought the mediums were powerful...but a thick set of strings that can limit your playing...and the lights just don't do it for me)
String gauge matters too. It's a playability/tone tradeoff. Extra lights sound wimpy, mediums are powerful. Mediums are like a guitar exercise machine. Also, it can be hard to execut bends on medium acoustic strings...and if you do a lot of 'em, man, it kills your fingertips.
As far as picks- I think material matters. Maybe it's all in my head. Maybe it's just the response of the material affecting tiny parts of picking style. Personally, I don't like nylon picks. I don't really care for tortex, but better than nylon. I DO like celluloid, and I think they all sound different...but I might be just a bit insane
I think the slick yet hard celluloid has a nice combination of sharp pick attack and an unyielding nature, whereas a slick and bendy-err nylon pick has a softer attack.
There's a definite difference between thicknesses in a given material. Thicker gives harder attack and more pronounced percussive sounds. Thinner sweeps the strings and is less "clicky"
And the hard plastic "jazz" picks...those are fun for noodlin' around single note stuff, but you've kinda got to adapt for chords.
Speaking of that, right hand dynamics plus pick design can alter tone too. Downpicking and palm muting like a metal player is different than using a bluegrass mandolin kinda chop. Rest-stroke, economy/sweep picking, alternate picking, upstrokes vs. downstrokes on chords, attack angle (perpendicular or chopping back), more or less motion of picking hand on lead-in and follow-through, planting palm or floating over the guitar's top, using a loose wrist or a different technique...all these make a difference. I've found that you can play forcefully without bangin' the strings, or you can bang 'em and get a more percussive sound. (Go listen to some gypsy jazz rhythm guitar- in that style, the rhythm git is essentially playing percussion too)
Of course, you get twang from back by the bridge, nice bell-like tones a bit further up, then "even" tone, then warmer, then round tone up by the neck. These positions also effect "perceived loudness" too, IMO, so you can move about to create more dynamics in your playing.
It's been fun rambling about stuff I sit at work and think about
BUT REMEMBER- don't stress out about tone too much- playing/practicing is much more important than wasting your time trying to pull good tone. That comes in time. So they tell me...