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I'm having trouble with a relatively simple mesh – a grid that I triangulated and then shaped by using sculpt and manually moving vertices.

When smooth shading is enabled, I see a lot of artifacts along the edges. I'm trying to make this appear as a smooth, undulated ground plane. What could be causing this issue?

Mesh shaded Mesh edit mode

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    $\begingroup$ Hello, it maybe inverted normals? In Edit mode select all and try a Shift N, also try Clear Custom Split Normals Data in the Data panel > Geometry Data, or please share your file $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Jan 24 at 7:57
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    $\begingroup$ I've added the file to the original post. Normals do not appear to be flipped and I do not see any custom split normals data to clear. Thx! $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Jan 24 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Make sure you don't have "Scene World" turned on, it under viewport shading, lighting $\endgroup$
    – Emir
    Jan 24 at 19:15

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There are several things here:

  • The sun Angle value is very low, it makes the shadow very sharp
  • The light angle in the 3D scene is very low which increases the sharp effect
  • The material is rather dark (i.e. base color of the Principled BSDF) which forces you to sete a very high light Strength value and increase the effect, 100 is very high for a Sun, it should be around 4
  • If it's not enough, give a Subdivision Surface modifier to your object to (virtually) increase its resolution
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  • $\begingroup$ As suggested, I set the sun angle back to default and tried strength in the range 1 to 4. I set the ground material to the default (white) and changed the direction of the sun. It seems like this last factor is the main contributor to the artifacting – I can get rid of the artifacts by having the sun more above the scene, but I have to say I'm surprised how any kind of side angle sun re-introduces them. Is there a better way to side-light a scene (ie, sunset)? $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Jan 24 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ You can add a Subdivision Surface modifier if you want the surface to look smoother $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Jan 25 at 1:15

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