Speed Racer was sent over seas, but when they did not get the results that they wanted, it was brought back to NY. and that is where I come in. They said "can you make it look like this?", and showed me the concept art, next to the work they had created so far. The animation company they had hired, was approaching this like a movie, and there was no way that they were going to get globally illuminated animated background sequences done for three episodes, in the 1 1/2 months left before the work was due to ship. And they did not know how else to do it. I had worked with Animation Collective before, on a series called Kappa Mikey. So I did a quick render test for them, demonstrating how it could be done, and they hired me.
STEP ONE: delete all the lights. STEP TWO: light the whole thing with an ambient light, for the main color pass. STEP THREE: generate a stark black and white shadow pass, and an outline pass. The stark black and white shadow was done with a white shader and a bright directional light. The outline was generated with Maya's vector render, at first, then later with a toon shader. We needed render times in the seconds, not the minutes, so this gave us three passes, which each took about 6 seconds to render.
Another element of achieving a quick acceptable look, was parallaxing matte painted cards.
And then we moved on to the Animated sets. There was typically one animation / action sequence per episode, and each of these typically needed a totally unique set. These didn't exist in the original assets that we were given from abroad, so we crafted them. The majority of my time after the initial push, was spent typically on these, and I moved form being the supervising artist, to more of an independently functioning lead artist for animated sets.