If you ever tried to model a subsurface model and then add details like panels, seams, buttons, handles you know what the problem is. Suddendly your nice surface gets dents and looks not that nice any longer. Hmm, what can you do?
Watch this little tutorial for 3ds Max and how we think it can be done (the workflow would be similar in other packages, too). No extra plugins required and works on any of the latest 3ds Max Builds. Enjoy!