Character Artist at Blizzard Entertainment, Tyson Murphy, did a neat little exercise where he took a scene from a movie and painted over it and he ended up with a really awesome result. Give it a shot.
Edit Poly (different from Editable Poly) is a modifier that allows you switch between modeling and animating a mesh. In modeling mode, you can change the original mesh, whereas in animating mode you are able to create keyframes without deforming your original mesh.
Once you add “edit poly” from the modifier list, a panel called “Edit Poly Mode” appears. Click on Animate.