So, wanna make some good renders of your model/skins? Instead of using the Default Scanline Renderer from max, use Mental Ray!
Obviously, you want to start by opening Max. Once opened, load up your model.
(If for some reason something isn't working in this tut, try merging the model in to a fresh scene.)
Next, select 'Rendering' at the top and choose 'Render Setup'. Find the 'Output Size' section.
Here you can enter the Width and Height you want your render to be - set that and scroll all the way to the bottom.
The very bottom option should say 'Assign Renderer' - expand it by hitting the + sign.
By default, you should have Default Scanline Renderer selected for your Production. Click the '...' next to this
and select Mental Ray. Once this loads up, you have successfully switched your renderer.
The lighting is fairly simple; just one light. Click the Create Panel tab, and select 'Systems' at the far right (the two gears).
In here, we want to select the 'Daylight' option - this is our one light. If a window asking about using Mr Exposure pops up, just
Next, drag/hold out a small section near your model - this will give you a compass looking thing that expands as you move the mouse out.
You don't have to make this very big so just drag it out a little bit. When you let go of this, you will then be prompt to move the actual
light around. The lighting will look HARSH but we'll change that shortly. Place the light at a good distance from the model.
You should have something similar to that now in your scene. Click on the modify panel now, and look in the first section titled 'Daylight Parameters'.
There should be two drop down boxes under Sunlight and Skylight - change these to mr Sun and mr Sky respectively. Your lighting will look a lot less
harsh now. Click the Setup button in 'Position'. All you want to do here is change the Hours number. I'd recommend just click the arrows next to it up
and down until the lighting is where you want it. You can mess with the other options to get a unique lighting for your render.
**NOTE: If you want to rotate your light source, you need to select that compass thing and rotate that.
So now you have a well lit scene with an alpha-channel background (changes with your time of day - nothing fancy but better than solid black.)
You can technically render now, but what if you don't have a nice texture to render with?
If you hit 'M' to go to your materials and click Standard, you'll notice you have TONS of new materials to render with. Choose which ever material suits your model best.
**Examples coming soon...**
With your materials set up, apply them to the corresponding parts of your model. Then, you can hit Render!! Depending on your computer this
will definitely take some time, so just be patient.
Don't like that boring, default background? Try saving your render as a PNG. That background is actually an alpha channel, so you can remove it and put something else in the background without having to erase it manually or crop the gun/model out separate.
Good luck with your renders, and I hope this helped some people. Enjoy!