edge split is really not a good smoothing solution

I have a flat/smooth issue, and every time I look for an answer, I found blenderheads saying you just have to mark sharp edge and add an edge split modifier…

But : This modifier add vertices, it breaks your model apart. All others softwares have a function to mark hard edge between faces, and it doesn’t split the model. It’s just a lighting trick, the light from face A won’t blend with face B if there is an hard edge between them. Old as phong…

This function really doesn’t exist?

(I’ve found something to mark some faces flat and other smooth, but it is not usable if you want to have group of faces smooth together but not with other groups)

Not between selected groups but Autosmooth option uses the maximum selected angle between faces to control rendered smoothing.
For selected areas you have to use mark sharp / edge-split

I’ve found an autosmooth parameter in the object data panel, but when I check it and change the angle value, nothing change. I try to change the shading to smooth or flat, but this parameters have no effect. You manage to use it?

I’ve found it was visible only at render time… strange for a shading trick… But worst, it’s not compatible with Cycles :frowning:
The “mark sharp” parameter is perfect, if only it could be used to shade faces without the edgesplit modifier it could be very easy and effective.