Helpful Animation Scripts

  • animHUD (MEL) - This is a script that automatically populates your screen with the name of the Maya scene, your name, the name of your camera, the focal length of your camera, frame number, and timecode. There are a few heads up display, or HUD, scripts out there but a lot of collabs at AAU now request that you specifically use animHUD on your playblasts so it’s a good one to pick up.
  • craSceneTools (MEL) - craSceneTools is a workflow tool that helps make the Maya interface more efficient. It has a lot of helpful features such as being able to preview the contents of the file before opening that will really speed up your process. Tutorial also included in link.
  • rjTimelineMarker (Python) - rjTimelineMarker is a python script that lets you add color coded markers/notes to the timeline.  Really useful if you want to keep track of the beginning and end of an action. Because it’s the only Python script on this list, I want to remind newbies like myself that when running the script in the script editor or command line, the input is automatically set to MEL and should be switched to Python for it to run properly! :P  Tutorial here: https://vimeo.com/126181906
  • bHghost (MEL) - hGhost is an onionskinning tool that allows you to capture the outline of any frame on your timeline. It is incredibly useful in perfecting your arcs and spacing. Tutorial: https://vimeo.com/50029607
  • TweenMachine (MEL) or bTweener (MEL) - TweenMachine or bTweener are very similar tools. Both are great from taking you from stepped mode into spline and are really useful for moving from blocking into the in progress stage of animation. Tutorial for TweenMachine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUaLVfD_p5I /Tutorial for bTweener: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrt-jGUWdmk
  • www.aaronkoressel.com – Converge, Push/Pull, MoveKeys, etc. (MEL) - Aaron Koressel has several tools on his site, aaronkoressel.com. Some of my favorites are his converge tools, push/pull tools, and movekeys tools, but there are many more on there worth trying out. They come with demonstrations and documentation on suggested hotkeys.
  • aTools (MEL) – aTools is like a toolbelt that compiles several tools into a sleek user interface. Much of what it offers is covered by the scripts I’ve already mentioned or is offered in the standard Maya toolkit – like in-betweening or motion trail tools. However, there are a couple of really nifty ones like the mirror tool, which allows you to mirror the actions of one set of controls to another, or the point pivot tool, which allows you to create a temporary IK rig and pivot your whole character from, for example, a hand or finger. Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8OiM3StkUU
Quick explanation of how to install and run scripts on Maya as well as how to set up hot keys (keyboard shortcuts) for script commands:
I’ll try to keep updating this list as I come across more tools!
Heej