I'm a firm believer in project-based learning. There's boundless reasons for it, but mostly I like how problems you should understand and assets you need will arise organically.
Case in point, my turtle monster project. I hated the chair on him, as did most people who saw it. Now he's got something much more likable: a sort of siege tower, which will have a rope ladder leading to a platform. On this platform, cultists will sit to charge up energy within the siege tower's "energy vortex" or whatever. Then, in a saddle slung between siege tower and extruding control posts, a driver will sit, controlling the turtle mount with dark energy from a staff.
As a result, I ended up needing a cinematic-quality humanoid rig! My plateau for this rig was simple: As many bones as necessary for smooth, accurate deformations, without yet going into the much more intense realm of scalar bone setups and muscle deformers.
Here's the initial result, sans a face rig and sans a few more correction bones (such as at the elbows and at the hands). But otherwise, this setup's pretty devoid of rubber banding and bending artifacts, which is all I really need. Next step, rigging the weight skeleton!
Also, here's an update shot of my turtle, with the beginnings of its newer siege tower.
Thanks to CyaNn, who made the shader I threw on these guys. Check out his stuff at the Blender Open Material Repository. His shader made these instantly look cooler than their boring ol' polygon versions as they currently stand.