Mental ray was my renderer of choice and the terrific Arch&Design shader was used for everything. The metal shader was the most complex and can be seen in the video mentioned above. Most importantly when rendering these days is to set up Max to operate in linear color space. For a while the whole linear workflow (LWF) was a touchy subject on forums, but it's really, really simple to set up in later versions of 3ds Max once you understand the concepts. I won't go into it here as
it's well documented across the web.
My lighting setup was a traditional three-point setup (Fig.06) with a broad area light for the key/fill and a small rim of more intense luminescence. There is also a skylight on a low multiplier to soften the shadows in conjunction with Final Gather. There is also a HDR environment in a background switcher shader to achieve nice reflections on the metals. A question that often pops up on forums is people wondering why their metal shader looks so bad. Well, in a nutshell, REFLECTIONS!