These videos show my progress with shot 55. As mentioned earlier I started by creating the expressions for Breadbeard and the Guard seperately as I feel I would not get as confused this way and could focus on them seperately. I then imported Breadbeard into the Guard's scene.
I animated the Guard's claw arm first because it was the hardest to move and the angle of the claw determined where the rest of the scene would be (like where the Guard could stand without it going into him or his moped), likewise for the Captain and his sword. I then moved onto rotating the bodies to add more force to the movements as well as the heads and finally the other arms.
The scenes took a lot of tweaking, especially because with the Guard when I moved his body in any way it affected his arm and I had to move the sword or claw to compensate. Furthermore, in the animatic the claw just swings out to the left hand side of the screen and seems to not touch the sword when it flies in the air. I followed this originally, but after some thought and guidance from the team I changed it so that the Guard overpowers Breadbeard and flings the sword in the air by putting the claw underneath after knocking him backwards.
I think it works much better this way, although I did have to delete a lot of keys and redo key sections to make the flick up look effective. This is especially true for the arm where I had to work out how it would counterbalance the weight. I tried to make it not move too much as I found mine did not when I practiced the actions, but then when he swings and needs more power that is when the other arm comes into play more. I think the action is convincing and gives the illusion that he does knock it out of his hand.
With regards to the animation principles, I obviously had to use timing for this as the sword and claw had to meet at the same time and the characters react to each other accordingly. Another main one I tried to incorporate before the push was anticipation by making the guard lean backwards and hunch together slightly before pushing forward.
Above: The final version of Scene 55