Okay, so Friday the 13th (08/13/2010) I deleted all the animation for this asset. In doing so I drew out new thumbnails for all the poses that I wanted to hit. Which I ultimately thought would tell the story. I took a tip from Eric Luhta's book "How to Cheat in Maya 2010: Tools and Techniques for the Maya Animator," (http://www.ericluhta.com/)
which if I may say is a great book. It has totally given me the confidence to tackle Maya's multitude of tools and learn how to manipulate them.
Anyways, I laid out all of my thumbnails (which were marked keys or breaks), and began to poses them all out sequentially. This work-flow is to help keep you focused on the task at hand which in this case are the poses. By posing out the action sequentially I am focused only on the poses and not the timing. This way I have more control over the spacing and the readability in the poses. And on a side not, when your working from boards or thumbnails it is the perfect merger of Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose.
My thumbnails are acting as the keys that are posed out first, in which I go in order via the drawings. But, while working to these poses I am Straight Aheading which I did a lot of. In one motion (over two days) not only did I completely block out my entire animation from scratch. But, by having the opportunity to Straight Ahead I added virtually all of my breaks and other spacing poses.
Now, it is about tweaking the timing to make sure that all the actions are reading and I am adding more frames to actions that will need to be broken down further. The timing is a bit rough now. But, for the most part I am happy to know that this new work-flow was/is not only affective and quicker, but produced the results I was hoping to get out of the new process.
Please take the time to check out Eric Luhta's page, and grab the man's book. It should be apart of every animator's library along with the other founding father volumes. And if you want you can check out my youTube channel to see the playblast out of Maya that has all of my finished poses ready and waiting for timing tweaks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0RHrwkLPMc
"Always Keep your Head in the Clouds"rtq