I was wondering about the software tools you mentioned. How "common" is it for an animator to use something like Flipbook or PAP to "plan" a shot before even touching the 3D character (Sort of like animated thumbnails, not necessarily polished hand drawn animation)? Is that way of "planning" realistic in a bigger studio setting, or do most animators stick to thumbnails on paper? I was also curious as to how you're supposed to figure out what poses happen on what frames, but using the "real-life" timing makes perfect sense.
Everyone has a different workflow and if you can quickly show your ideas using Flipbook or PAP then feel free to use them. Just don’t spend too much time in those programs where they becomes detrimental to the planning process. Your sketches should be a quick way to plan ideas without wasting too much time in software. With enough experience, you will likely discover it is easier to show all of your ideas on paper than spend the extra time (even if it is 30 minutes) animating them in a 2d software package. Plus, at many studios you already have 2d animated version of the shot called an animatic (essentially a moving storyboard) so it may not be necessary to recreate the shot in 2d with your own sketches if the animatic already shows your intentions.
Animation Mentor Staff