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As you can see, this figure has artifacts around the shoulders, buttocks, etc. How can I get rid of them?

(The mesh has no loose geometry or interior faces and I've already done a "merge by distance" to get rid of duplicate vertices.)

When I add a one-level SubD modifier, the artifacts go away (see images below).

Since I plan to apply the SubD before rigging, UV mapping etc. perhaps I should just ignore the artifacts for now since SubD gets rid of them anyway?

...Or is there something I can do to get rid of them now?

Artifacts galore.

(This is what the topology looks like before SubD.):

This is the topology.

(When I add a one-level SubD modifier, the artifacts go away. ...So should I just ignore them for now?)

SubD gets rid of the artifacts.

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    $\begingroup$ If it goes away with the Subdivision Surface modifier, you can ignore these artefacts, a low-poly will easily give bad shading as you have big faces. That said do you really need to apply the Subdivision Surface modifier? It would be better to keep it $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Mar 8, 2023 at 8:03

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To avoid artifacts like thoose, topology should be a little more uniform, in terms of vertices distribution, "squareness" of polygons, uniformity of quads areas and reduction of number of poles (vertices connected to 3 or 5 edges).

If you don't want to do a retopology, you can try to use a soft smooth brush in sculpt mode, to soften the bumpy areas.

Anyway, if you plan to use a SubSurf and you are satisfied with the result, you can also simply ignore them, just check the deformations when rigging (there may be some issues in the elbow area), just try and see if the results fit your needs.

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