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Hello Blender Stack Exchange Community!

I'm creating a cuff bracelet and using the knife project tool to "etch" text on the inside of the cuff, but the results are super rough.

The cuff (mesh circle) has a subdivision surface modifier (3) and the text is 2D (no extrusion) for reference. Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong or how I could get a smoother etching effect?

Before knife project: enter image description here

After knife project: enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ This shading issues is normal behavior in any 3D software. It happens because of bad topology. What you want to achieve is very tricky and need a lot of work because need to be modeled manually using original mesh. Boolean or knife never give nice results. I recommend you create bump map in any 2D image editor and simply fake engrave effect using this map. $\endgroup$ – Shubol3D Nov 13 '16 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ As Shubol3D said I would recommend you create a texture and use it as a displacement map $\endgroup$ – xlxs Nov 13 '16 at 1:39
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    $\begingroup$ There is also the option to use the Remesh modifier. However, with this kind of object, you'll either get an insane amount of vertices or very crude letters, because it spreads the vertices evenly without considering where they are actually needed. It also messes up vertex groups and if you have several materials, it assigns the first material to the entire object. In your case I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm mentioning it for completeness. $\endgroup$ – Duane Dibbley Nov 13 '16 at 2:23
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Apply an Edge Split modifier to your object and then select the loop edges one for each letter-symbol (if I count correctly there should be 5) and then once you select them press Spacebar and search mark sharp and press Enter

Then in your Edge Split modifier select only Sharp Edges.

However this will only fix the solution 90%. If you zoom in really close to the area with the letters you will see some "unwanted" shading. In that case I would suggest to delete the letters and try what comments suggest.

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