To give bushes, trees, hair planes and other densely clustered groups of polys uniform shading, use Normal Thief to align the fractured normals of the group, to a proxy object like a sphere.
Using a quadsphere with the tennis ball unwrap will do three things:
This eliminates the North/South poles and the triangles that go with them.
It creates easily to pack UV’s.
Because all of the polygons are 4 sided, this is a great mesh for subdividing and sculpting.
There are several quadspere scripts out there for 3dsmax but in case you’re the manual type:
Create a box.
Tennis ball unwrap it.
Apply the TurboSmooth modifier.
Apply the Sphereify modifier.
Sweep custom profile shapes over a Path to create and edit large amounts of detail while only manipulating a handful of points control points.
Using less particles to display more particulate. So instead of using 1 particle material per quad mesh, you can put two particles on the material and use triangles to put 4 particles per mesh. Lower particle count, lower vertex count, more particulate on the screen.
Use tiling textures to kick start your unique textures. 1st unwrap the model to UV2 so it works with the tilling. Set the tiling textures to use UV2. Then Bake UV2 to a unique layout, UV1. Then paint in some unique details. This is extremely helpful if your tile materials have normal and spec maps. All of these details can be transferred to your unique layout.
Use a slightly deformed cylinder to create wrapping. Copy and rotate the piece to generate the wrapping. use the graphite modeling tools to push, pull, relax and inflate the pieces to nest and overlap them.
For non cylindrical objects, use a similar idea by creating a high polygon box (single sided) and use the conform brush to stick the tape, to the irregular surface. Then apply the shell modifier to give it some thickness. Adjust the “offset” for the conform brush to place the different layers of tape.
Some simple tips and tricks I’ve developed to work quickly, cleanly and efficiently.