Best method to use when adding seams

Hello, blender and 3D art newb here,

I’m in the (slow) process of making a spaceship. I want to add seams, or lines on my model. I’ve provided the images below as an example of what I would like to mimic.

(found on

As you can see, there are lines or seams on the model used to add detail. I would just like to know, what is the best method to approach making this? Should I add these seams by using a texture with normal maps, should I sculpt then bake them onto my model, or should I add these seams into the geometry of the 3D model itself?

In the end, I would like to use my model in an animation. The model itself would not animate, just the camera around it.

How close does the camera get to these details?
If it isn’t very close, i would recommend to just put the lines in the diffuse color and be done with it. Normal map is only needed if you want to see a highlight at the edges of the seam and the appearance of depth - which i think is not necessary unless you get very close.
Baking from highpoly is also unnecessary since it’s only a small detail that doesn’t justify the extra work.

It isn’t super close. No extreme closeups. How would you go about adding the lines in the diffuse color as you mentioned? Select the faces I want the lines on and add a material just for those faces, or is there a better method?

I would unwrap it so that you can project directly from the top, then simply create these lines in an Image manipulation program. But you’ll probably need a high resolution texture so that it doesn’t look pixelated like in your second image.
But doing it directly on the model like you said is an option too and has it’s pro’s and cons. You need a good mesh density to have a nice curved line, but the line will always be sharp and you can change the width directly on the model.

Thanks for your help. I think I’ll try directly on the model, then if that doesn’t work well, I’ll try UV projecting from the top like you suggested. If I didn’t ask, I would have made all these complex meshes to bake and would have overkilled it a bit. Thanks again!