JordanW: thanks dude!
BigJohn: I know I STILL don't know everything about MR and I probably never will.
Would take a long time to do a proper tut, but here's a breakdown of the setup.
Like you mentioned, a decimated mesh out of ZB. The background is duplicated meshes from nCloth simulations (meaning one simulation is run, the state of the simulation is stored, the mesh is duplicated and hidden, then the next simulation is run for the next drapery). Only two drapery meshes are raw duplicates. The others are all individual sims.
I also had "light cards" where the are lights were, but they got in the way of showing the light setup, so they are not in the image.
and here's some of the photoshop process. at the end of this table (not included) is the addition of the ZDepth Pass and more level and color adjustments. there's a lot of settings in photoshop's lens blur filter that really aid in the look. all just experimentation on what you are trying to achieve.
really wish I would have played around with the light color more.
really want to mess more with the particle pass. wasn't very happy with how it worked out and want to study up more on it. i think if used correctly in conjunction with a volume though, it would work very well. still need to perfect it.