In my reading I came across an excellent video on how to simplify models. Masami Kuramoto posted the information in the SL Forum. Video Tutorial on Retopology in Blender. 14 minutes of excellent information.
If you are making Second Life clothes, you need to see this tutorial.
The first tip ralusek provides stumped me. He is not using a key/click display and he went fast enough I missed it even after rewinding three times. I couldn’t get it to work. It is just too handy not to figure out.
At about 01:10 he is talking about snapping and extruding. I think this feature is soooo handy. What he did is turn on snapping, the horseshoe magnet icon at the bottom of the 3D View – Edit Mode window. He selected Face as the type of thing to snap to. Used Closest. Then TURN OFF: Snap Onto Self.
In the video he turns on a button labled Snap Onto Self in my version 2.62. But, that is not what the video shows happening after turning it on. Since he made the video in or before June 2011, I suspect this button has changed for some reason. Plus there are two buttons rather than 1 in the area.
Whether the buttons are enabled or disabled, in Blender 2.62 I get almost identical results with either button on or off. I may be able to understand the difference after I use this technique for a bit.
This information is going to greatly reduce the work I have to do simplifying and changing topology for lower LoD models.