Something you probably noticed when working with subD modeling workflow is that when you add detail to your mesh by adding edges loops (via selecting an edge ring and then connect) is that an edge loop is drawn but it will flatten out the mesh somewhat. See the picture below to see what I mean.
Ring and connect
Now when this happens the usual thing to do is to perturb the edge loop a bit to regain the curvature. Not too bad if you are doing organic modeling where close enough is good enough. But can be a real chore if things need to be really accurate.
There is no easy way to prevent the flattening out that happens when you add detail using the max subD modeling workflow. Take a look at the picture below showing what happens when you tesselate the same polys.
However, it is possible to use HSDS to insert detail that does not flatten out the curvature. The workflow to do this is rather tedious though. Since you can’t easily pass subselections to this modifier and you generally only want to pass it an all quad surface. So it can mean a laborious multi-step procedure involving the detachment of an all-quad surface from a base mesh, an applied hsds modifier, a collapse of the hsds modifier, and a reattachment of the all-quad surface back to the base mesh. But the result is a VERY interesting insertion of detail that accurately retains the curvature.
It works, just a real bad workflow, so I don’t wind up doing this unless I really need it. If it were real easy to do that would be damn sweet and make the generally strong subD modeling workflow in max that much stronger.
My wish would be that there were some nice easy way to insert mesh detail in max in such a way that the curvature would be precisely maintained. The ideal would be to select an edge ring and then hit connect to add an edge loop exactly where it should be placed to preserve the curvature.
If I am missing something and there is some better way of getting those edge loops to come up exactly where you want them then please share your knowledge. Right now I am thinking that maybe some fancy scripting might provide the way to a better subD modeling workflow in max on this issue.