in that setup, most of the foot null controls have been added to my rigs by request of animators. they do actually come in handy in some instances. they’re especially helpful in doing really cartoony animation where the charatcers will do alot of goofy things.
as for keys per pose, the way i animate i always create keys for all items (in the setup that is) on all channels for each key pose. i then do the same for the in-betweens . . . makes it easier to adjust your timings etc. i really only break out keys for seperate items at the cleanup stage. its very 2d in theory . . like im “drawing” each frame.
as for the knee . . i usually find that keying the heading channel of the left/right hip bones (as well as banking the thigh or calf) good enough to get the poses i need. i destroy the rig alot of times in the process! (breaking joints etc).
i really dislike IK on many levels. i really prefer to manipulate every bone right down to the pinky to capture the pose (it’s fun:).
IK limits your ability to but the bones wherever you want them but is sometimes a necessity (ie: always with legs and sometimes with the arm). on the other hand i know alot of animators who love all that crazy control stuff. how do you guys work? (this should probably be a new thread . . but hey)