@CRHasher I downloaded your model with the normal map you can try that but the results will be poor especially considering that the all of the tris originate on one side and then stretch to the other. Generally as a rule of thumb you want your faces to travel a relatively short distance. In this case maybe a foot or two any more and could start to run into problems.
In my experience Normal maps are only going to be effective at carrying details in small increments. For this example a normal map is only going to work well at carrying small details in the range of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. So a good usage here might be a few of those little dome headed screws, they are small enough that a normal map may be effective.
Since your groove is something like one inch deep a normal map is going to come up short. This brings us into the operating range of a disp map. In this case a displacement map would probably be able to deform the mesh to the necessary depth. However since the displacement mesh relies on actual geometry to deform you will need a very dense mesh. Especially considering that these lines do not follow a quad layout (the deformation will travel down the middle of some of your faces, and the result will look chunky). the end result will be either an underwhelming subtle crease or an super dense mesh that will add unnecessarily minutes to the render time.
a normal map is really just a kind of optical illusion it only gives your surface the “appearance” of bumpiness.
@ALL for a while now I have been kicking around the idea of a series of video tutorials. So far there are a WEALTH of learning opportunities for Blender. However it seems that there are not that many tutorials that specialize in one area and stay there. This is of course with the possible exeption of Andrew Price’s video tutorials he seems to have really stuck with Effects/Modelling for Cinema.
I was thinking that having some tutorials that were only aimed at tricks that help noobs advance to an intermediate level. For me it took about 3 years before I started completing projects and feeling good about the results. Really in truth it should not taken long, but at the time all of the learning material was more holistic in its approach covering many subjects but lacking depth.
My thoughts were that we need a thread where Noobs could post their projects that were giving them trouble. Once a week a more advanced volunteer would select a project and model/texture it from scratch. This would give the new user an opportunity to see other approaches and maybe pick up some tricks along the way.
Ill leave it open to the readers, would you use a resource like this?
If this is the case, I will try to find some time to record myself modeling this bed.