Can I do automatic weights, then animate then fine-tune weights?

Is it alright to use auto weights on the bones then animate my rig so i can have a detailed look on how the rig moves in action? Then come back to the weights and adjust accordingly.

Or is it recommended/good practice to do it in order?

The method used in the industry is a bit longer than the one you’ve proposed. It’s similar, but different in some pretty important ways for a larger production, especially. See the bottom to skip straight to my recommendation, or stick around for a more detailed breakdown.

The rigging team first creates the initial rig. This is then handed to the animation team, and they begin character studies. These serve a few purposes. It nails down the personality of the character (how they move, what their trademark facial expressions are, etc) and allow the animators to find where the rig breaks.

It is typical for artists to intentionally push the rigs a bit further than they ever would during the final production at this point, just to make sure that it’s flexible enough just in case they do need to push it a bit later in the production. During this phase, the artists are also working as debuggers for the rigs. When it breaks, they do tests on the rig to figure out exactly what causes the breakage using the scientific method (hypothesize, test, compensate for new data, repeat) until they’ve found the least steps to reproduce the error.

During and after the character studies, the riggers are continuing to fine-tune and improve the rig, incorporating feedback from the animators as they go, and making sure the artists can push the expression of the rig as far as they want during the final animation.

After many iterations (exactly how many depends on the rig’s complexity and production timing), the rigs are done, and the animators have a solid idea of how the characters move and express themselves by the time they even start the final animation.

In your case, you may want to create your keys and a few test animations during your rigging process, but I wouldn’t polish the final animation before finalizing your rig. Seeing the silhouette while animating is of utmost importance, and it’s much harder to change anything in the animation once you’ve started adding detail.

You can adjust your weight maps at any time.