My process: I first make a rectangle and play around with bevel emboss to get right feel than apply Xnormal Height2occlusion (this is the main problem) as most time i dont get nice results hence i cant "multiply" on my base metal, which you can see is dark metal on picture above. Than from there its simple painting scratches and details,
imagination is the limit at this stage. But without that nice AO that i want to make using my linework in photoshop Im just stuck with plain shape and losing time in guessing
where i put details like grundge, rust, scratch etc.
I also can make plates in 3d app and reder AO from them and than its easy, but thats not what im after in first place, cause in that method im limited to just how many greebles i make in 3d rather than on the fly design in CS and making its AO than painting on top of it.
Any sound advise and feedback would be highly appreciated