How to make muscle with low poly meshes?

Hello. Thank you for watching.

Now, I’m making a muscular human. Then, I’m facing a problem now. I want to make a six packs those are very robust. However, if I extrude the pack, that becomes round and dirty because of subdivision surface. Are there any ideas to make cool packs just like an image?

untitled.blend (583 KB)

Since you want to keep the polycount down, it will be tricky because a detailed muscular surface typically requires a decent amount of faces.

What you might be able to do is cheat by creating a new object where the muscles would be, extend the skin outward a bit using proportional editing and use the shrinkwrap modifier to pull it into the desired profile.

You can bake a high resolution mesh (with muscle detail) to a normal map and apply that to the low res model to give the illusion of the high detail.
To do this you would have to create UVs for your mesh which would need you to clean up your base mesh by not having faces going through other faces. Always check your base mesh for error if you are modelling with a subsurf modifier enabled

Thank you very much for answering! I didn’t expect that muscular surface requries a decent amount of faces because that looks simple.

In my case, it’s ok if it can be animated, so I wanted to avoid higy-poly mesh tool like sculpting.
How about subdividing the only area where abs are? I’ve heaerd that previous blender like 2.5 couldn’t manage N-gons, but recent versions can. Do you think this way works well?

Thank you Mr.Richard! I will try it.

Also, I didn’t know that faces going through other faces are bad. But is it bad only when I want to bake maps or all the time?

The tricky part with using Ngons in a subsurfed mesh is that you need to carefully manage the topology in order to avoid unwanted pinches or overlaps.

Make sure that all faces are convex and try to avoid faces with more than 5 sides and poles using more than 5 edges.