I've already mentioned the series of articles Keith Lango is blogging about how large cgi features are organized and how that organization often gets in the way of good looking images. In his latest post, he offers possible solutions to these problems.
Keith's experience at several studios means that he has a well-rounded view of production. He's not married to a single pipeline model. The broadness of his perspective is one of the strengths of his recommendations.
Even if you disagree with his thoughts or think that you have a better solution, Keith has done us all a service. Pointing out the trouble on screen and how organization creates those problems means that studios can no longer ignore it. Alex Toth once talked about a stain on a white dinner jacket. Once you are aware of it, it's the only thing you see. Keith has pointed out the stain and we can't take our eyes off it.
Any studio looking to graduate to longer productions should think hard about Keith's points. Those studios already involved in longer productions should use them as a way of examining their procedures.
We're all constrained by budgets and deadlines. We're also all constrained by human frailty, whether it's studio politics, questionable clients or just plain stubbornness. It's always amazing to me how much talent is in even the worst studios; it's usually something other than talent that is responsible for poor results on screen.
Don't underestimate the effects of pipeline organization. Pipelines are there to get a film finished, but they are often more concerned with volume than they are with flexibility. Keith has made some constructive suggestions that I hope will be debated at production meetings all over the world.