This trick really isn’t mine as much as a simplification of Lemonnado’s excellent tutorial on making Greebles with masks (Zeebles). (You can view the full tutorial here.) The point I want to show you here is that UV’s can play a very helpful role in making repeating detail. Here we take a simple form, made up of a few polygons, and decorate it with a repeating geometry with very little work.
Step 1) Go to the UV menu (or the Texture Menu in earlier versions of ZB3) and select the UVTile button. This will stack/overlap each polygon on top of the UV space. Normally, overlapping UV’s is a BadThing™, but in this case, this is exactly what we want.
Step 2) Subdivide the object to get lots of detail–about 1M polygons (8 levels)
Step 3) Go to the texture menu and select a texture that would look nice. A seamless texture will also look cool. I picked built-in Texture 13, which looks tailored made for Greebles. In one step, the whole object is covered with texture, 1 copy for each polygon at level 1
A little texturing and it has a nice tech technical surface. Try this with other alphas or make your own after looking at Lemonnado’s Tutorial.