i upgraded to latest version this morning. here's what i tried from scratch in a new scene. i've also archived it and attached to this message. thanks for the help! PS - i'm not doing anything in the "material" roll-out for the forest object. should i be doing something there? i'm sure it's something simple
EDIT: i use mentalray and 3dsmax design 2014. although i have design 2015 installed.
1. create plane 50ftx25ft
2. assign bitmap of football field to diffuse color in a&d material, uncheck 'real world' mapping
3. assign a&d material to plane with view map in viewport turned on
4. uncheck real world mapping on plane, bitmap shows perfectly
5. create mrproxy grass clump
6. assign a&d material with diffuse color only, a greenish tint
7. create forest pro object by clicking on plane
8. gemotry rollout > custom object > click > click on mrproxy
9. distribution map rollout > full > density scale in units > 40'
10. transforms > enable rotation with defaults > enable scale with defaults
11. create camera from perspective viewport
12. create photometric light place up higher than plane, near camera
13. test render, adjust mrexposure control
14. open slate material
15. instance "field" and "grass" materials
16. drag out "grass" diffuse color map to create Forest Color
17. dbl click forest color to display properties on far left
18. enable "override"
19. enable "get color from map"
20. drag a line from bitmap of field to the none button under get color from map as instance
21. change blending mode to "normal"
22. change from "random values" to "as texture on surface"
23. test render - grey/white grass renders
24. change "mode" from xy to uv test render again - grey/white grass
25. "map channel info" tool shows Plane001 ID 1:map