The climactic sequence in the "Ice Age: Collision Course" covered a lot of ground, from outer atmosphere to the scale of the smallest characters. There were 16 shots needing set extensions and 6 shots that were full screen 3D matte paintings with fly-by volumetric clouds. Blue Sky has a very small matte painting team and as the team lead, I picked up this assignment.
This single person pipeline was particularly effective in coming up with a "recipe" that combined render passes to come up with a look for the sequence that would translate from shot to shot. This would not have been achievable the same way for so many shots without the heavy reliance on building a 3D world that would work from different camera angles (particularly true since the cameras in this particular sequence were changing on the fly). There was no lengthy pipeline to account for, if a particular pass was useful in creating the final shot, I could simply dial it up myself and render for all shots in the sequence. Having a robust recipe allowed for the custom paint work to go from first Art Director review to final very quickly.
Programs - Photoshop, 3D-Coat, Zbrush, Maya, Nuke, Vue