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I've been working on a hard surface model and using smooth shading quite extensively. I also have auto smoothing enabled. The issue is that flat surfaces with complex geometry stop looking flat when I enable smooth shading. Here is an example:

Flat shading: flat shading

Smooth shading: smooth shading It's not very noticeable, but you can see that some reflections appear on the smooth shaded model that make the surface look curved (e.g. lower left corner). This is how the geometry of the surface looks like: geometry I've tried changing it multiple times, but no matter what I do the surface doesn't look completely flat. What should I do?

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2 Answers 2

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Blender is smoothing between your larger face and the next ones, because they are not co-planar. To add to TheLabCat's answer (who proposes to inset your large face so that the next ones are now co-planar), you can also try the Weighted Normal modifier, it will only smooth below a certain surface size, so you can tweak it so that your large surfaces stay flat:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Ooh, THAT’s what that modifier does. Thx! $\endgroup$
    – TheLabCat
    Jul 7 at 1:11
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Oh, yeah, this problem. What a lot of users have done is just inset faces on the flat part with just a tiny margin, so there is a second flat face around the surface, bordering it from the curved parts. That way, the smooth shading on the surface that is supposed to be flat isn’t trying to average between it and the curved surfaces adjacent to it.

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