Don’t want your greebles or nurnies pinned to the model’s surface? You can control their distance relative to the surface with the Surface Offset controls.
All relevant settings are animatable!
You can assign materials to bases, greebles, and even particular surfaces on them using Texture tags with naming conventions without ever having to make the Greebler object editable. For bases, you can also opt to let the model’s texturing pass through to them.
Keep your greeble geometry lightweight while maintaining smooth surface transitions with automatically added Phong tags.