In cartoons, the relationship between the speed and size of an anticipation versus the subsequent action can be played with and manipulated to create a wide variety of different emotional responses. You might have a slow and big anticipation showing heaviness and a building of power, followed by an unusually fast action, thus creating a strong contrast in physics and timing.
In hyper real animation we concentrate much less on striking poses. Of course, the methodology and work flow that goes into creating animation will have very minor differences between a cartoony project and a realistic one.
We still block our shots in very much the same ways (a cartoony animator may block in stepped while a realistic animator may block in spline), making sure the blocked performance has all the necessary key poses to convey the narrative. But our main goal is to create a fluid and organic performance based in reality, and is less about punching an emotion on a given frame;
so more time and energy at even the earliest outset is placed on the breakdowns and inbetweens. What do I mean by this? Most creature animators I have worked with choose to block in spline. From the very beginning of our shot we need to place a great deal of importance in understanding how the weight, mass and energy of a character unravel through the performance.
It is less about striking emotive poses and more about offsetting and layering the motion so that it never feels like parts of the character are landing at the same time.
As a general rule, exaggeration is a good thing if it brings life and energy to the performance, but it quickly becomes a bad thing when that part of the human brain rejects it as “weird” or unnatural.