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Motion capture data BVH tools and files


For everybody who is interest in using motion capture data, here is a list of services which could be useful to you. Most of them are free or are very affordable.

Free Motion Capture Data Files:

Over 2500 files at CG Speed:

This site features a large data base of motion capture files from the Carnegie Mellon University Motion Capture Database
The original site can be found here

Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design:


Commercial online Motion Capture Rig/Animate tool with Motion request option:

Mixamo is an online system where you can either buy models or upload your own and apply pre-recorded motions.
It follows a 2 step approach, after uploading your character, have to you rig it, and then inside the motion mixer apply one or add various motion poses into an animation.
When you download the mesh, the mixed poses will be exported as one BVH file.

It is not free however the system runs very well and you can also request the team to record a special motion for you.



Free Kinect based Motion Capture System: Brekel Kinect
This software can export the motion capture live into AutoDesk Motion Builder - or save it as BVH to import into Blender.


Affordable Commercial Motion Capture System: iPi Desktop Motion Capture
If you need to do motion capturing on a budget this might be a good option it ranges from 400 to 1000 US $. It supports a multiple camera setup as well as support for Microsofts Kinect. The software comes with automatic Post-Processing and manual Clean-Up tools. Best of all it seems to deliver good results without using markers as the video demonstrates.


Free BVH File editor and previewer: Bvhacker 1.6.1-

* Now possible to associate bvh files with bvhacker, so bvhacker can be the default editor for bvh files
* Now possible to open bvh files by dragging them onto bvhacker (drag and drop opening)
* Ability to undo last operation
* Simple resampling (downsamples to half number of frames)
* Split and enhanced SLify function into to separate functions (Attempt SL bone renaming, Attempt retarget to SL). Joint sizing function now uses quaternion magic for a far smoother conversion of arms axis alignment and joint rotation order
* Added support for bvh files with position and scale motion data values
* Separated display of joint offset and motion translation data. Joint offsets now displayed in joint properties and translation data values are displayed on dynamic sliders.
* Added support to allow the typing in of values for slider X,Y and Z values
* Added support to allow the typing in of values for slider range
* Added support to allow the typing in of values for joint offsets in joint properties (X,Y,Z)
* Added support to allow the typing in of values for frame time
* Center function: centres the first frame of the animation in X and Z
* Added 26 new keyboard shortcuts (see below)
* Tidied menu and removed experimental functions
* Made file open and save dialogs re-sizable
* Global hips rotation is now possible ('standard' ZXY rotation order hips only)
* Added figure head to display


  1. How to COMBINE - BVH files on MAC system 10.10.2 using Blender 2.73a
    I am searching for a way to easily combine BVH files in the same animation using same model. The bvh files I am using have tested well on same model.

    any suggestions?

    • Todd McIntosh on

      Just doing this now for one of my projects. I found that you have to import each BVH separately. Once they're all in Blender, you can select your primary armature, go to the NLA editor, add new track, add new action strip and the popup will list all the imported bvh actions. You would have to do this one by one to get them all on the one armature. If anyone knows a more automated way to do this, I'm all ears!

      • Thank You Todd

        I am using a make human model and Blender 2.73a

        Can you please explain to me step by step how to import model and then different .bvh files into Blender
        i.e. do you load and retarget one.bvh file first and then what steps to bring in other .bvh files after that.

        • Todd McIntosh on

          I was just importing each bvh separately, which brings in a separate armature each time. After I made sure I had added the new action to my primary armature, I would delete the extra armatures. The makehuman retarget tool just loads in a new bvh action to your existing armature, which is not what you want.

          • how do I attach the imported .bvh files to the primary model / armature
            how do you do this:

            After I made sure I had added the new action to my primary armature, I would delete the extra armatures.

          • Todd McIntosh on

            Just like I explained in the first post, you have to do it in the NLA editor. On the channel for your primary armature, you add a new action track and then on that track you add a new action strip. When you click Add Action Strip, you'll get a popup listing all the available actions in Blender.

  2. charles gichuhi on

    How do i add bvh mocap on my character while am not using make walk from make human .... After i have followed the procedures it just say "traceback most recent call last" which addons should i download in order my mocap work using bvh....

  3. Makewalk has been abandoned in favor of BVH retargeter, which I find is extremely finicky with different versions of blender (2.8x +).
    I'm frustrated, as I have to use 2.79b to create/animate my entire scene, then I can import it into blender 2.8x and render.
    But if I need to make changes later, I'm SOL, or I have to try to import everything back into 2.79b (using append), and start again.

    I'd really like some kind of "footstep" tool for blender, like what 3dsmax has, where you just click on your scene and place footsteps, and your biped automatically "walks" it.

    But it seems bvh has been largely forgotten in the blender community, which is a shame. I'd like something that would save me considerable time, then having to do everything by hand.

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