PSA about Blender's EdgeSplit modifier
What kind of shading should you use in Blender?
Blender’s flat / smooth shading switch
Flat shading, maybe?
Flat shaded objects
Flat shading looks okay, but it makes the sphere look all polygonal. If that’s not your art direction, it’s bad.
How about smooth shading?
Smooth shaded objects
Now everything else looks terrible!
Keep using smooth shading, but turn on the EdgeSplit modifier for your objects:
Blender’s EdgeSplit modifier
Smooth objects with EdgeSplit enabled
This works for any kind of object. If you need finer control, you can set sharp edges explicitly:
Smooth sphere with the equator sharpened
Or you can tweak the splitting angle:
Two spheres with EdgeSplit angle of 25, both appear smooth
Two spheres with EdgeSplit angle of 17, the high-poly one is smooth but the low-poly one is flat
Two spheres with EdgeSplit angle of 0, both appear flat
The Blender file I used to make this (gzipped)