Is 3D Character animation hard to do?
It sure is (that means yes). I always tell students, if 3D character animation was easy to do well, then everyone would do it. My comparison is, if 2D animation is like juggling 3 balls, then 3D animation is like juggling 9 balls because 3D animation has the added dimension of depth. Animation itself requires extensive time and mental energy to study, practice and learn how to animate. On top of that computer animation requires learning a 3D animation software which requires a lot of memorization for where all the buttons are, what they do and what order you must use them.
"You must have good reference material to create good animation."
Students learning computer animation tend to skip the action analysis stage. Obtaining great live-action reference material is difficult. You must have good reference material to create good animation. Or as my friend Martin L'Heureux (ex-ILM animator) likes to say, “garbage in (bad reference), garbage out (bad animation). Most of the time you will not find that exact live-action reference online, so you have to film it yourself. Animation students that spend more time rehearsing and experimenting with different acting choices, obtain better reference and achieve better animation.
In conclusion, the hard work required to do 3D Character animation is worth it, animating is one of the greatest jobs I've ever done. Bringing a character to life, making them perform and then ultimately entertaining an audience.
I am a professional ex-Walt Disney Feature animation artist.
Have a look at my filmography at: http://www.imdb.com/name/