Wow-- that’s a tough question. I guess I can answer that by answering a similar question: what tool can you not live without? I know this may sound silly but my answer is the animation picker.
[Insert old grandpa voice] Waay back in my day, we had to select joints to move them…give me my cane!
I remember going crazy because sometimes it was so hard to find out where the joints were that sometimes you would put keyframes on things you really shouldn’t. But then came Mel Scripting.
Mel allows the animator to do something very simply that used to be tedious. If you have to do something over and over, Mel is your man, or woman, or machine.
I developed my own picker when I found out just how powerful Mel is. It saved me so much time, it was amazing. Being able to click on a picture that didn’t move to select objects was truly a godsend to me. I do also remember that when we first started using the pickers, there was a lot of backlash from animators. They thought that by clicking on another window, their performance would be slowed down. Once they tried the picker, their performance actually sped up! Now it has become part of the workflow.
So simple an animator can do it.
Oh, and don’t get me started on referencing objects…