I have some 26 key/breakdown frames setup in Generi's little animation with the detonator so far. Building up to here has been fun, starting with just a handful of the main keys (about 6) and building in the detail and changing things as it went along. I find that after I switch from stepped to any of the smoother animation curves, I need to rework the timing. To get the variation in pacing setup and the actual speed of any of the actions needed plenty of work in both the graph editor and the dope sheet depending on what I was doing.
I changed the camera position to give the whole animation a more dramatic feel, which also meant changes to the key poses to them better aligned with the new camera. I much prefer how things are going now and as I add all the breakdowns that allowed for some much better arcs and nice little details which make the whole thing work.
I have been experimenting with both the spline and plateau tangents in the graph editor, each delivering different results. The spline version gives a more fluid overall feel, but creates heaps of overshooting and doesnt express the key poses with the same clarity. The plateau version feels safer in a way, but does adhere to the keys better and requires less cleanup. In the end I have used a mixture of both types in different parts of the animation and for different elements of Generi himself. The Mastering Maya book by By John Kundert-Gibbs, Dariush Derakhshani, Mick Larkins, Eric Kunzendorf covers these two types as well and they seem to come to the same conclusion - the plateau needs less cleanup and respects the extreme keys.
I will post my animation checklist later on (still needs lotsa work) , but I have been trying to incorporate as much of the theory as possible from our first 5 weeks. I will need to refine Generi's character as well, though his fun, cheeky, mischievous feel is coming through nicely already. The kids have been having fun mirroring his actions and giving some feedback which is fun.
Next steps, apart from the supporting docs and perhaps some titling is of course more refinement and the ending with the explosion - I have been saving that bit for last :-)