I've been searching a lot on this topic and coming up very dry. I'm interested in making a full cartoon, not just animating a single character, and I'm more comfortable with After Effects than, say, Flash or such (plus, I'm trying to limit the number of programs installed on my computer.)
Is there any particular techniques involved with animating multiple characters, background elements, etc, that doesn't involve a truly massive array of layers? Pre-comping seems like the answer, but then making any changes would involve a lot of back-and forth jumping around the project.
Are these just the two double-edged options, or is there something I am missing?
I have been a Crazy Talk and Crazy Talk Animator user for several years, and it works wonderfully. It has the ability to lip synch by just adding a voice track to the timeline, and the new version, Animator 2, which I haven't bought yet, adds the ability to create "3D 2D", in which the software figures out the various angles needed to make a character turn in 3D space, showing sides and back. It's a very powerful package.