Maybe you have noticed already, but I kind of have a thing for 3d furniture. In arch viz, it is often the most interesting and challenging type of model I have to create. That is part of the reason I am sort of obsessed with getting it just right. I have shared lots of different tips and tricks here for creating high-end 3d furniture, but the techniques are also evolving continuously. The gold standard in 3d furniture is always www.designconnected.com. I often download their models and disect them in order to learn.
Recently I have been playing around with some totally different techniques that involve programs outside of 3dsMax, namely Zbrush and Marvelous Designer. Here are the main points I have learned from those experiments:
Marvelous Designer is amazing at soft cloth simulations! It is so fast and so easy to create nice looking, soft fabrics. The subtle wrinkles created by true cloth simulation go a very long way in creating realism.
The best technique for Marvelous Designer is to model your basic furniture in 3dsMax, import it to MD as an avatar, then create your fabric shapes and sew it around the avatar. Your fabric will follow your existing chair, but the subtle wrinkles / softness will be added.
From there, go to Zbrush, where you quickly add finer details, and even paint in custom wrinkles.
Zbrush does a good job of adding subdivisions to your model while keeping it clean and workable. It even has an amazing retopo tool that automatically optimizes and cleans your model, but beware, it also erases the very good / useful UVW unwrap data that comes out of Marvelous Designer.
UVW unwrap will be essential to any good furniture model. Fortunately, Marvelous Designer spits out beautiful UVs, exactly matching your fabric panels.
Below are the initial results that I have achieved with integration of these two additional software packages. Not bad I'd say. NOTE: the fur is achieved with the 3dsMax Hair and Fur modifier.
See a larger version in the GALLERY.