I hate animating. It's just not fun for me. If you take the traditional route, and not the cheap, lazy 'layered character with engine-handled, rotating body elements' route, you're in for a lot of work on the same image. I hate the layered character with the rotating parts animation style. As I said, it's lazy, and it's excruciatingly limiting. There's less you can do with that method than you can do with flip-book style, frame-by-frame animation. But a lot of people use it because it's quick, easy, and looks... passably acceptable. Flip-book style takes a longer amount of time, and a lot more care, but allows an infinite number of things you can do with it. For example, with the lazy method, it's quite a bit harder to do an isometric game. Games done this way are usually extremely limited, and have one or two angles you can see the player and enemies from.
I hate to pick on him, but Shaun Spalding's A Gun That Shoots Bees is a perfect example. The main character is a static image with rotating hands, feet, and a gun layered over it. The bears themselves only have 3 directions they can come from, because they can't face away from the camera. So they can't come from the bottom of the screen and move up, because they'd either be walking backwards, or be required to face away. This is because, with the rotation animation method, it's difficult to swap out parts to change their shape or design, mid-animation. Exchanging a section is do-able, but changing the entire layout is harder to do, which is why they tend to simply exist in a 2D space, and flip on their axis instead of actually having an animated turn-around, or even show their bodies from a different angle than the one you see.
But with flip-book animation, though it takes more time, I have no such limit. With flip-book style animation, since you go frame-by-frame, you can actually have the character face in any direction, and move in any way. At the same time, though, in flip-book style, characters aren't just cardboard-cutout pieces that slide around on the screen, so it's harder to get away with cheating or half-assing it. Walking, for example. Walking is a fairly complex set of motions, if you break it down. You can't just move the legs so that they swing.
Left: I whipped up an animation of a character of mine where his arms and legs just rotate on their attachment points. It looks passable, but stiff, robotic, and lifeless. It's usable, but it's not good. I have no control over the shading on his body, and I have no control over his orientation. I could rotate him on his z-axis, but I can't rotate him on his x or y-axis.
Right: The actual animation that the character has while walking. As you can see, it's quite a bit more involved. He bounces up and down, his hair flops, his shoulders move in time with the swing of his arms, every joint in his legs move, and even his elbows bend.
When I look at the one on the left, I can't help but imagine the theme from the Mario Zone overworld from Super Mario Land 2. Listen Here. Those who are familiar with the game will get it. It's a giant, clock-work Mario that stiffly swings its arms while that robotic theme plays.
It's actually kind of disturbing...
Anyway... Using the rotation method, things like this are difficult:
His body rotates on the y-axis, points at the screen, then turns to the side as he's swinging his sword, and finishes with his body pointed away from us. In hind sight, another frame of his body pointed part of the way away from us would have helped make it look a little smoother, but that's something for me to worry about some other day. Back on topic:
A character walking is fairly involved, and requires a lot of frames. Contact, passing, recoil, high-point, contact, passing, recoil, high-point, contact, passing, recoil, high-point, contact. This is what walking looks like. You can't just shuffle the legs along.
These are the essential frames for a walking animation. So long as these are present, your character will appear to walk. But it's more involved than that. You have to make sure, when drawing each frame, that the legs don't linger in one position too long, and you have to make sure they remain the same length, and move at a reasonable pace in all angles (when doing an 8-directional, anyway...). And everything that's done with one leg has to be done with the other. On top of all that, body can't move out of place in any of the frames, so they have to all line up perfectly with each other, or else the character will wobble awkwardly, and the whole thing has to loop seamlessly. It can get pretty boring, pretty quick.
And since I never take the quick, easy, or lazy way out of animating, every game requires a walking animation that I have to work on, one frame at a time. Let's just say that, considering all the failed projects I've worked on, I've probably had to do well over a hundred walking animations. It gets tiresome.
And that's why I hate walking animations.