The look and feel of the animation is set with the lighting and texturing. and this is what makes everything look good (or Bad).
The textures were produced by polypainting in ZBrush, painted in Photoshop or extracted from photographic reference. I used images of the Costa Brava to keep the lighting and texture colours consistent. Photoshop was used to adjust colour balances and paint alpha channels to achieve selective transparencies.
Image based lighting produces an overall consistency with lighting as it projects the correct colours into the whole scene. Both onto the surfaces and into the shadows. Unfortunately, even when optimised, the method is quite processor intensive at render, but the results are very good indeed for very little effort in the set up.
The method was developed by Paul Debevec. You can see his work here.