NFS might have posted this before, but i've always found this breakdown from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to highlight the more subtle aspects of incorporating vfx... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNihHGBjwvI
The infamous teapot :). One of the best pieces of advice I received for photo-realistic 3d imagery is that the "mistakes" are often what make it believable. Grain, flares, textures etc. 3D can be perfectly symmetrical or have very hard edges, so softening can go a long way.
One thing I did notice about the video is that his lighting (specifically the shadow) does not match the video. You can see the reflection of a softbox in the tea spout even though the light source is from outside. VCP also posted some good tips for compositing a few years back: http://www.videocopilot.net/blog/2009/06/perfect-compositing/
Red giant is probably the king of AE plugins. Frischluft lenscare is a great alternative to the stock dof inside of after effects. Works great with Element 3d as well!
I believe this is what Alex Roman used for "The Third & The Seventh".https://vimeo.com/4765632