Here’s something that my supervisor told me that I guess Phil used to say:
The animal’s clock isn’t synced with the camera’s clock. The animal doesn’t know anything about frames.
I thought this was a pretty cool insight, especially in regard to realistic animation (which Tippett is all about.) Basically he’s saying that the creature you’re animating isn’t posing for the camera. His foot doesn’t land exactly on frame 127, because frames are kind of meaningless. They’re just slices of a much more analogue action. When we learn about animating a walk, there’s certain kind of predefined poses that are taught: Contact, passing, etc. It’s a good guidline, but in reality it’s more of a continuous motion, and the “contact pose” would rarely fall exactly on a full frame, let alone over and over again. So I think this is a good thing to keep in mind especially when you have something cycling. If you have a character walking over several cycles, it’s not going to look natural if his passing pose looks exactly the same each time, or if his foot always contacts on a full frame.
So basically it’s ok to have an ugly pose in there, as long as the motion looks natural.