I saw this the other day while looking around the internet and thought I would share. A very good reference guide of what good topology on a joint looks like vs bad topology complete with animated GIFS. Works great to tell you what you need to add to the low poly characters to rig them right. http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/Limb_Topology
I stumbled upon this tutorial as I was trying to up my Blender game. This is a amazing technic to give your hard surface modeling that extra little bit of something without having to really mess with your low poly mesh. http://eat3d.com/free/floating_geo
Thanks for the informative tutorial. I don't use blender and in the past, I must admit that I thought it was a crappy 3d program. Boy am I wrong now. It has com a long way since I first downloaded it. Your techniques are are similar to mine but I have never moved the plane to the top of the ...
You know them pesky mesh avatars that are not in the t pose that OpenSim wants them to be in to work with the default animations? Well good news you can just take your Armature and edit all the bones to the position the mesh is currently in, weight it to the bones and then pose it into the t pose we all have come to love and hate. After that this webpage has given me the remaining steps required to deform your mesh into the right position instantly and simply. https://nixart.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/modifying-the-rest-pose-in-blender/ This has took me a long time to find but I am so glad I finally found it. I hope all you avatar riggers out there find this extremely useful.
You can also do something like this with Avastar, where you pose the armature before you rig. But if you make a mistake with that you have to rig all over again. But this method you can go about tweaking its positioning until you are satisfied with the default pose inworld. Also the Avastar method is a pain when the avatar is not proportioned the same as the Avastar rig, like super short legs or really long arms.
Used the machine smart material. A lot of masking, the line tool to draw all the bolts and lines. A couple Alphas for the vents. Just a plane color brush with the height map adjusted for the control panels. The glass I made frost and such on but forgot to attach the alpha layer to the texture. Baked in some lighting with that filter for the last part.