I'm a junior 3D artist, and I've found "The ultimate be-all end-all normal mapping thread
" by Per128 incredibly useful.
Regarding Parallax maps, I've been searching through the forums, and while there is a lot of info here, it's all just scattered fragments.
I'm hoping some of the veterans can take a moment and flesh out this thread to include:
1) A Breakdown of the theory behind Parallax mapping
2) Examples of how and when to use Parallax mapping correctly and efficiently
3) When not to use Parallax mapping
4) Links to, or brief tutorials on generating Parallax maps.