Smooth vs Smooth Edges / Crease Edges vs Smooth/Crease Tool ?
For organic models (people, hair props, clothes, animals, etc) I usually take a quick trip to the Vertix Modeller and select all and turn on the SMOOTH function. This almost always makes the model look better.
However, on architecture and mechanical objects this is sometimes a disaster and sometimes not. I try to start in with selecting specific facets (usually via Select By... --> Domain Name) and then I attempt to use the Smooth Edges... / Crease Edges... function under the MODEL menu, But things often go wonky leaving me with areas that are worse looking than when the model is first imported. Flat areas are usually easy to define and Crease, but rounded meshes fringe at the edges of the mesh, and don't always Smooth in expected ways. Often each triangle ends up looking puffy and causing shadow/highlight issues, or showing an apparent curve the wrong way (inverted or dented).
How can I fix this? Or should I avoid it altogether? Some of the worst problems occur at the edges of an "unclosed" mesh. Other issues seem to be that after i apply smoothing, the facets along a curve might look worse (perhaps the normals need to be flipped?)
Are there any rules of thumb? Should I just live with faceted curves? Would increasing the subdivision be a better solution? Should smooth and subdivision be used together or will that just add more facets?
Also There is a Crease/Smooth Icon but I have no idea what it does... Any tips?