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How to add more polygons in edit mode without using any modifier or subdivision.enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ You could add more polygons without Subsurf but that would be generally the same - subdividing mesh. If you want to subdivide only part of mesh you'll need to track the topology, this blog is useful for that - topology-guides.tumblr.com. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure why you exclude subdivision, because this is often a good way to add polygons. $\endgroup$
    – brasshat
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ It is not clear, why you want to add polygons? If you want to make the resolution higher, then there are not many rational alternatives (than subdividing). $\endgroup$
    – bTab
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:23

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There are several approaches to 'add' more polygons

Subdividing

You can open the menu 'specials' by pressing W while beeing in edit-mode, where you can find 'Subdivide' and 'Subdivide Smooth'.

https://www.blender.org/manual/modeling/meshes/editing/subdividing/subdivide.html

Note: In the Toolbar (toggle with T) options will be displayed.

You can press Ctrl + R to cut edges. This will add more polygons. https://www.blender.org/manual/modeling/meshes/editing/subdividing/loop_subdivide.html

Mesh adding

By pressing shift + A you can open up the mesh-menu, where you can select and insert a mesh.

Extruding

By pressing E you can extrude your selected vertices, edges or faces.

https://www.blender.org/manual/modeling/meshes/editing/duplicating/extrude.html

There are multiple extrude-modes that you can find pressing space and tiping 'extrude'. That will display all actions with 'extrude' in their name.

Insetting

By pressing I Takes the currently selected faces and creates an inset of them, with adjustable thickness and depth. If several faces are selected you can choose to inset them individually.

https://www.blender.org/manual/modeling/meshes/editing/duplicating/inset.html?highlight=inset

Knife Tool

By pressing K you can open the 'Knife Tool' where you can cut faces, what will create more polygons.

https://www.blender.org/manual/modeling/meshes/editing/subdividing/knife_subdivide.html?highlight=knife

Joining

Although this can't be made in edit-mode. In Object mode select multiple meshes and join them pressing Ctrl + J

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    $\begingroup$ "Joining" does not fit the questioner ' criteria of "more polygons" and "edit mode; otherwise, good answer. $\endgroup$
    – brasshat
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ I just realised that the questioner didn't also want subdivision, but I keep it, because it might be helpful to others. :) $\endgroup$
    – bTab
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ Using J in edit mode will indeed create new polygons $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:24
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  • Loop Cut and Slide .... with Control-R

enter image description here

  • Offset Edge Slide .... with Shift-Control-R

enter image description here

  • Intersect Knife and Intersect Boolean

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  • Duplicate Mesh

  • Bevel

Modifiers

  • Boolean Modifier, Intersect, Add, Difference
  • Remesh Modifier and possibly Apply
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