The 'what looks cool vs what works' issue is pretty commonplace in the CG era. Draco in DRAGONHEAT was designed so he looked good on the ground, but had to be redesigned to look good in the air.Basicaly there was an interpenetration problem with the anatomy ... I think the story is that the wings would have torn off the body unless they fudged the engineering.
To be fair, I think the same thing happened on occasion pre-CG. DRAGONSLAYER's dragon featured more than one model, and I believe that too related to wing issues.
I think there is a serious advantage to having a design and then being forced to 'obey' those limitations, and that is it keeps down the 'blue sky' improvements that seem to be inflicted on designs. (even for their novel THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE, Niven & Pournelle decided to lock their ship to the 'Leif Ericson' model kit then available, and then imagine around that design limitation.) Since CG has essentially replaced traditional VFX work, that notion has gone out the porthole.
I don't think even physical models built for reference and scanning are all that prevalent anymore, so all the basic tenants of observing an object and the fall of light upon it as a basis for cinematographic representation are lost; you're only dealing with representations of same. ILM's way of duplicating the presence of real lights in the CGscape is a big step toward bridging this gap, but you still have to have the physical representation for them to reference; with whole-cloth CG, you don't have that essential live or physical aspect to source from, and that's why you continue to get the credibility issues that Dennis Muren has sounded off about for years. http://www.movies.com/movie-news/spe...-anymore/11843