Optimizing your workflow is not simple and its time consuming. Creating you own shader library is a great way to learn and practice more about them. Also studying shaders that are already built and reverse engineering them helps a ton.
From Tracking the plate, to modeling the environment in 3ds Max, then jumping into Mudbox to add details to the monkeys (no pun intended) and texturing them as well. They go over HairFarm basics, fx, rigging, lighting, well, it is a very detailed breakdown.