Animation is quite a mechanical process. Before I came to school I read several books and watched several tutorials on the process. Now that I am in my second animation class, the material I researched before I arrived at school is beginning to make more sense. Once you begin working on animation itself, the tips and tricks in the books become applicable to your everyday experience.
The toughest thing about animation is that it is a one step forward, two steps back process. We animated a walk cycle last semester, which was not nearly as difficult as this walk cycle, which is weird to me. You would think that having done this before, it would not be as difficult. I have a great teacher this semester who explains the concepts better, and I believe that the reason that all of my assignments are harder than last semester is because he is teaching us a better way to plan out our shots on the X-sheet and is focusing heavily on how we can improve our timing and spacing.
I am indebted to the other students in the grad lab for helping me figure out how to properly use an X-sheet and plan out my keys and breakdowns. Thanks also to the Animation Club for inspiring me to animate a ball with legs and to add the torso, head and arms last. It's all about working in layers - if the legs move properly, then you go on to the next thing.