I've been going around as a writer, but started getting drawn into Concept Art and 3D modeling. I'm currently finishing my studies as a 3D artist and will then be let loose on the world. Beware!
I didn't mean to sound smug. I do work under NDA, but I still make a lot of mistakes. I'm working on a better understanding of the different modules.
One big difficulty is figuring out the resolution of the lowpoly.
I went a bit too low on this one perhaps, even though it is still roughly 1100 polygons. I'll post a picture of the wireframe, too.
The entire process works out like this for me:
Blockout > High Poly > Low Poly > UVmap > Smoothing Groups from Uv islands > Triangulate > Cage > Bake > UDK > Texture
Once I understand the purpose of each step and did it a few times,I get a deeper understanding for what is missing. I had planned to make a trim for the bottom of the pillar anyway, but this model has lightmap issues. The going back and forth fixing is also a bit unnerving, but got a lot less.