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I made a beveled corner and applied 'Shade Smooth' in EditMode. It works in solid view, but not in rendered view. Did I do something wrong? :)

Rendered:

rendered view

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  • $\begingroup$ the normals look really weird on the screenshot, as if they were not pointing the same direction all over the mesh. Please verify them by pressing Ctrl+N in Edit Mode. Otherwise, could you please upload the blend file to blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com ? $\endgroup$ – aliasguru Aug 17 '16 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ blender.stackexchange.com/questions/18886/… $\endgroup$ – eromod Aug 18 '16 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ I added the Blender file, the normals look ok in Edit Mode. $\endgroup$ – TomCG Aug 19 '16 at 8:05
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Technical Details

The problem is not with the normals nor with the smooth shading. It is the result of the algorithm in the ray tracing engine used to determine lighting. Set the size of the sun to zero, and you will see one sharp line between the lit and dark area. Basically, the calculated normals would suggest that the surfaces should be lit, however geometrically the surface is facing away from the light, so the lighting will not be caluclated.

Possible Solution

Generally such biases are always present for smooth shaded meshes, simply because the surface is only approximated with polygons. The better the approximation, the less these glitches appear.

In you case, the problem is, that there are 90 degrees sharp edges shaded smooth. Those are not really realistic either. You could make them sharp either via Properties Panel / Mesh / Normals / Auto Smooth or by adding an Edge Split modifer.

Here is the issue isolated and the Edge Split added:

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