For example, Maya's HIK system. HIK is short of Human Inverse Kinematics, and it's Maya's very slick system for automagically setting up all the needed rigging and tools to animated a humanoid character. I was able to go from nothing to having a rough walk and run cycle in less then 6 hours. That's crazy! And today I animated both a kneeling animation cycle and a standing interacting cycle. It was really easy to get something serviceable. Good enough for prototype at least. Obviously, the devil is in the details and I would have to spend vastly greater time refining and polishing but for this purpose it was great.
I'm heading off to my Father-In-Law's next week and he's finally gotten his home theater all tweaked out and ready to rock. So, I'm gonna try and make him a custom THX trailer to celebrate. I've already got a rough idea. Since he's a trekker, I dug up a model of the latest Enterprise (from the movie) and am going to do a quick anim of it flying by camera and have the engine noise slowly turn into the THX as it warps off. Should be easy enough but I thing he'll dig it.
Of course, there's a bit of cleanup necessary, and I'll have to add all the glows, lights, etc. But still, that's usually the fun part anyways. :)