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Here’s the mesh.

enter image description here

Here’s it with subsurf.

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So, why is this happening? I went out of my way to manually join the mesh as to create quads. Sure, it’s a funny shape. I can see how the right angle kind of looks whack, but conceptually, it’s all quads, right? I want to know the technical reason it’s not smoothing this over if possible and means to achieve this if this is not the correct way to go about it.

Note that:

1) I deleted the inside faces 2) I merged by distance

Thank you,

John

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    $\begingroup$ Since you said you already merged by distance, i could imagine that there is some problem with the normals. So i'd suggest to activate "Face Orientation" to see for yourself, or generally select all and press "Shift+N" to "Recalculate Outside". $\endgroup$ – Xylvier Mar 15 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ Your topology shouldn't have discontinuities in the shading interpolation.. it should look like this. So check normals, and try H hiding a couple of the funny-looking faces in edit mode, to have a closer look. $\endgroup$ – Robin Betts Mar 16 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much, it was a simple case of flipped normals. I don’t know why I didn’t try that first. Also, I realized I don’t know how you made such a pleasant little diagram in your attached image, could you explain? $\endgroup$ – John Mar 16 at 1:03
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You need to add some "loop cuts" and slide them close to the edges where your mesh is joined. You may also have some z-fighting going on. Meaning faces that are occupying the same space.

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Thank you all for your insight. Xylvier diagnosed it correctly—it was a simple case of flipped normals. I don’t think I can mark the comment as an answer but wish I could.

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  • $\begingroup$ You can however mark your answer as solved so that others can find it if they happen to have the same problem $\endgroup$ – Gorgious Mar 16 at 8:23

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