I now go for quite detailled animatics.
Poses (torso, arms), basic walk cycles (don’t care about feet sliding, but DO care about speed and distance travelled), basic expression changes (main shot expression, and/or strong expression animation)
Basic dominant colors, global volumes for settings, similar lights. music if needed
The idea is : you make an animating to decide for the final editing of your film. So put in it anything that concern editing : Movement and shot “readability” (if that is an english word)
I also use animatics to decide the story board. I make the basic animation and sets for a full sequence in one file, based on the script, then put dozens of camera, turn around etc… a bit like in real action when some directors goes on location with a digital camera and shoot research shots. Or when actors are repeating. You’ll get new ideas, see weaknesses, you can work the global “mise en scène” (sorry, I don’t know the english term) etc…
Last : use only plain colors, no maps, basic low poly models. and very simple rigs. You need to go FAST. You realize you need another shot and may be double the action ? Do it in minutes, not in hours.And be carefull that a high poly model or detailled maps may lure you that you have something nice by distracting you from the real subject of an animatic : rythm, editing, story telling.
Work with both the 3D Software and the editing software at the same time. You make preview shots, add them in the editor. You’ll see how they work immediatly, and do immediate corrections.
Well, that just the way I do I just enjoy that now and it’s been the best part of making shorts.