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)