As you know in being an Uberector or Forever Alone Filmmaker I have to do everything myself- with We Are The Strange and Heart String Marionette my workflow was like this during production-
Animate the shot, tweak the lighting to prep for the render, do still frame test render until the shot looks right, send it to the render farm and move on to the next shot.
And now my workflow is this-
Animate the shot, do a hardware render of the shot, drop the shot into the edit, make sure it plays right with the adjacent shots and that there are no animation problems, if it needs a change, update animation and do another hardware render until everything is good- move on to the next shot.
So while I'm animating that's all I'm focusing on- I'm not dealing with lighting, rendering or any materials. Hardware renders of a given shot take 10 seconds - 3 minutes so they are extremely fast and give you quick feedback on a shots animation, the way I was working before I would only seldom do hardware renders because I was more focused on getting the lighting/rendering right as I was trying to do it all at once- and I did but I believe this is a better way to work.
The reason I was doing it the other way before is that I didn't want to have to go back over 1500+ shots to light and render them out which worked out ok BUT I ended up re-rendering a number of shots because of mistakes and now I want to avoid that because of the time and money(for power) involved.
Since I'm now using xref's for my proxy lighting setups within each set I can easily update all the animated shots with near final lighting- I'll have to add special lighting setups to each shot to high light the characters and specific action in each scene but by having the overall scene lighting already done via xref that saves a ton of time.
So once all the shots are animated I'll go back through each shot and tweak the specific lighting and do test still frame renders and render them out.
So far I'm doing ten shots a day as a quota and I plan to keep that up- I've already done a lot of very complex shots and I'm able to get them in with my ten for a day- so lets hope I can keep that up and finish this thing quickly!