Here's the next big thing in animation.
Have a look at Ragdoll Dynamics, a real-time physics solver for Maya which is similar to the native nCloth and nHair solvers but works on transforms rather than points.
"In 2012 I had an idea for a physics system suitable for animators," wrote the developer. "The idea sprung from the mind of a Character Animator landing a job in Creature FX and being exposed to nCloth in Maya. The goal was simple; animate a piece of string in space. But, traditional tools failed us. The desired motion was too subtle and the level of control we had was too fine. Like laying bricks with a tweezer."
The developer decided to use physics simulation instead to automate the process and focus on the feel rather than spending hours on tweaking different points.
"It is already being used by artists from lots of studios, including Naughty Dog," said Adnan Chaumette (I have to thank him for the link). "It's an amazing physics system for animations and even artists can use it."
The team spent lots of time trying to figure everything out but Ragdoll has finally been launched in early access (1-3 months). You can learn more and get the tool here.