I had some time to kill on Friday and decided to brush up on the hand-drawn animation skills. I have a tendency to use Flash as a crutch sometimes because of it's quick and constant feedback, but I think that can create bad habits. This time I forced myself to guess at the timing and just start drawing. I pretty much got all of the keys and most of the breakdowns drawn before ever scanning them and checking the timing.
The more experience I get with Hand Drawn Animation, the more I realize how truly unique it is. You get so much more control and chance for expression since it's pencil on paper. But compared to computer animation, you're really animating in the dark. You really don't know what you have until you do that first pencil test. And even then, you're still speculating because everything is roughly drawn and it's choppy(on 4's or 5's). From start to finish, hand-drawn seems like it starts out sorta shaky and rough, but it just gets better and better from there, continuing to mold it.
Compare that to animating in Maya, where it starts out great with thumbnails, looks good in stepped mode, all of the poses seem to be working, but then when you switch to splines, it get's really watered down, and then you're wrestling with the computer to do what you want it to do, but can't seem to get it to do quite right.
Ultimately, I find traditional animating so much more personally rewarding, BUT until I get an assistant to do my clean-up and in-betweening, I'll probably stick with the computer.
5 days ago