One of my favorite topic on 3dsMax is about Mapping. Mapping is how you put your texture to an object, and it can be done in so many ways. Using the right mapping, you can save a lot of time in modelling. For example, when you creating a carving on an object, you can model it of course but you can save a lot of time just by mapping it the right way. If you are talented both in modelling and mapping, it will be a very powerful combination!
Mapping combine with a good lighting will produce a very realistic object. Sometime, a simple design with a the right mapping and the right lighting will turn into a very impressive result.
But since there are so many methods of mapping, I have to start with the most basic ones. The ones that I use the most. If you are creative enough, you can combine them and develop it into the maximum result. The mapping that I'm going to discuss is using standard texture, but you can use it to other kind of texture to, such as Vray, Raytrace, and so on..
- UVW map : placing the texture in certain direction and size with bump and displacement
- Multi/Sub Object material, using this, you can map different texture in different parts of an object
- Blend material, mixing two textures into one material in a specific pattern
- Opacity on standard materials, so create a see through object using specific pattern.
The following materials will be used for mapping in my tutorial, you can copy from here if you like