I have learned that maya takes an incredible amount of time to render and crash frequently, next time I know to give myself alot more time to render. (especially since you normally find a problem in your scene once its actually finished resulting in you rendering again).
By watching other's work at the crit I noticed the difference between how they got to the outcome of appearance in their work. So to improve I'll use specular maps, learn how to use bump maps and will get a better understanding of texturing.
After doing this unit I feel alot more encouraged to get better at animating, I am starting to understand how it works and with more preparation I will use in conjunction with Meg's 2D method of animating.