I have recently contributed to an article for CG Society about 3ds Max 2011 and mental ray 3.8
Please have a good read and give me your critical observation.
Also, check my New Book: 3D Photorealistic Rendering: Interiors & Exteriors with V-Ray and 3ds Max
Finally, the image displayed in the article is based on the step by step tutorial series recently produced for 3D Total; I hope you also take a look at them.
The tutorials were tailored for Max 2010, using different techniques to achieve the same results.
The grey 3D Model was provided by the talented Viktor Fretyan.
My 3D Portfolio:
More tips and Tricks:
Tips & tricks for architectural Visualisation: Part 1
Essential tips & tricks for VRay & mental ray
Creating Customised IES lights
Creating a velvet/suede material