Adding panel detail

How would I achieve something like this? The example uses a displacement map as the actual mesh is completely smooth, but this level of detail can only be achieved with the Blender displacement modifier with millions of polygons right? Would some kind of normal mapping technique be better suited to this kind of detailing?

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Normal mapping is a good option. You can utilize blender’s built-in normal baking (highres > low res). but i’ll prefer to work with Photoshop/Gimp for these details, since its way fast then actually building highres model. check the attached file. Gimp Normal Map Plugin Link http://code.google.com/p/gimp-normalmap/downloads/detail?name=gimp-normalmap-win32-1.2.2.zip

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Untitled.zip (3.58 KB)

Yeah I thought for those little details that normal mapping would be my best bet. I will just have to model the rest, like the bumps on the fins, or the grate facing the camera. That is a cool feature though, I think in 3ds Max, but I can’t for the life of me remember what kind of displacement terminology they used.

don’t know about 3dsmax , started learning it after using blender3d. I guess ur talking about height/cavity map.