How to prevent checkered sky from adding these artifacts to my model?

by Chandler Watson   Last Updated June 21, 2018 05:15 AM

I've been following this Blender wristwatch tutorial I recently found to help me learn Blender better, but my render looks very different than the one on the site.

Here is their nice result:

their wristwatch

Here is my result:

enter image description here

I've triple checked every step to make sure my model matches theirs. Yet my renders seem to have these boxy, fuzzy light artifacts everywhere. I've traced them back to the part of the tutorial where they add a B&W checkered sky to help emphasize the reflective surfaces (playing with the grid size changes the size of the light artifacts) but I have no idea why similar artifacts don't show up on the other watch as well. Both I and the tutorial are using the standard Blender renderer.

Playing with the ambient occlusion factor didn't seem to do much, and I've ensured the lamps are exactly as shown in the tutorial. What does the tutorial do to prevent these checkered artifacts from showing up on the wristwatch?

EDIT: I should mention that since the tutorial was posted in 2011, the version of Blender they use is far earlier than what I'm using (v2.79).

EDIT 2: After enabling smooth shading, we have:

updated image of my watch

Is it just that my lighting is too dark at this point, or am I still missing something else obvious?

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