I have been in San Francisco for two years now, working on my thesis,
"Just Looking," and learning more and more about animation. Initially, I wanted to learn more about the principles of animation, and went back to character animation's roots by studying some of the classic Disney films: "Sleeping Beauty", "101 Dalmatians", "The Jungle Book", "Robin Hood", and "The Rescuers." These are my favorite films from Disney's Golden Era, and are beautiful examples of classic hand drawn animation.
One of the fundamental rules of animation is clarity ("keep it simple"). Through my analysis of hand drawn, I found that, personally, Timing, Spacing, and Posing are the three primary principles, with all the secondary principles falling underneath one of these three primary principles.
To further my studies, I took the "Demo & Lecture" class at the
Animation Collaborative, taught by Pixar Animator, Mike Makarewicz. In the course, he taught the class his personal workflow, the layered approach to animation, which utilizes the power of the graph editor. The "Demo & Lecture" class has been the most invaluable learning experience in my animation education thus far.
By breaking down animation into primary and secondary principles from hand drawn, paired with Mike's shared knowledge of how to use Maya effectively, animation has become easier to comprehend, and more fun to work on!