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Kinect / Brekel BVH import to Blender 2.57b


Need cheap motion capture - got a Kinect, you can use Blender for that. The following video is made by Nigel Ward, who video taped one of his pupils with a Kinect and transferred the motion data via BVH into Blender and attached it to a Biped armature. It seems to be a smoothly working process, while fast movements still can be skipped. The BVH data definitely needs some clean-up afterwards but when you are on a budget and or only need a to record simple motions, this can be an attractive option.

This might be in particular interesting because the current GSoC includes a new Blender internal tool-set to clean up and work with BVH motion imports. You can see how it currently looks at this link Vimeo URL.

Nigel writes:

'I filmed this pupil of mine, Vassilis Y., with a Kinect and with a regular camera. The Kinect was connected to a PC running Brekel Kinect v0.48. Then imported the BVH file into Blender where a specially prepared Biped armature was waiting (with an armature to match the Brekel import - same bones, same names). Then, in the action editor, I attached the animation action to the Biped armature. Then in Blender I used the video sequence editor to combine the Blender scene with the imported straight video (using an Alpha Over strip). Thanks, Vassilis.'

Brekel can be downloaded at, so if you have a kinect, you can start doing your own motion capture!



  1. One of the strong points of Motion capture imho is usually that there is a good contact with the ground (No or few slipping effect). In this example , the feet are dancing all around. As a good ground contact is one of the most difficult part imho in character animation, the kinect system is loosing a lot of interest...

  2. The animation looks like someones swimming... and drowning.
    I totally agree with Roubal - it all looks slightly useless for more complex animations as it is right now.

  3. >"I filmed this pupil of mine, Vassilis Y., with a Kinect and with a regular camera"
    the 3d animation is superimposed on the video recorded with the camera, it's not the kinect video, so i think (a bit of) the discrepancy is due to the different pov camera/kinect

  4. ...Or they could just had inserted the biped rendering some frames earlier on top of the original footage (that probably was shoot by a camera and not with kinetic) :) seams an editing mistake rather then an attempt to deceive I think. Anyway it's the intention that counts and it's good to know that it's already possible achieve this quality without markers and such.

  5. Awesome!

    To plant the feet on the ground, you only have to wait until the GSoC is over, and the Motion Editing component is brought into Blender. The "Motion Capture" video here discusses many (upcoming) ways to clean up BVH input in Blender:

    And the claims about it being a fake should be only after you have *tested* the concept, and seen that it doesn't work. Find your Kinect, hook it up, and try the setup in Blender.

  6. Keep it civil guys - as I stated in the text, Kinect still sometimes can have issues with fast movements.
    IPI Studio is doing maybe better job - however it is also not for free.
    As Delfeld pointed it out, soon Blender itself will be much better in dealing with those BHV files.

    See this as Rogper say.

  7. Hey! That guy stole my moves! Somebody's about to get served!
    Oh wait, I can't dance...
    Cool video.
    I think it's funny the guys at the table in the background don't seem to notice the dancing.

  8. Wait a minute cekuhnen, did you delete the comments that you did not agree with, what is going on?

    Neither my comment or the others contained anything other than some doubt about the validity of the video, no insults towards the creator personally, so why did you delete them...

    Please don't take the following as an insult, but if you are so small minded cekuhnen as to not tolerate any opposing view then you may not be suited to moderating a web site.

  9. How comes that in 00:05 mannequin first made a move?! He is having hand over his head while human still is beginning to make this move. I understand lags but it cant be faster, right In about 00:09 if you check closely it is doing same - hand up while human still didnt started this move. Explain that pls ;)

  10. Twitcher,

    Kinect is not really a high quality motion capturing device as well is this movie not a finished product.

    It shows somewhat the still remaining issues with Kinect, but nicely shows that also rotation of the actor is possible.

    As Delfeld points out Blender soon will have much better tools to position, adjust, and clean-up BHV imports without
    the need of commercial capturing software.

    Based on the quality of the movie it is evident that this is not a fully finished product - I am not sure why some state the obvious and not see this as a what it is in the bigger picture with Blender's upcoming improvements.

  11. You know cekuhnen, your behavior disturbs me more and more when I visit this page.

    You said "I am not sure why you all state the obvious", are you kidding? you also are aware that there is something wrong with the video, but are angry with us talking about it.

    If you watch the whole video, it is clear that the biped is from another session and the camera recording is done as a probable afterthought with some guy trying to match the biped's movement. The timing is wrong at so many points, its not funny, sometimes the biped is late, other times it seems to know the future before the person.

    That is not wrong, its the internet, it happens all the time, but sprucing up a video for publicity is wrong especially when the main link takes you to a page with a big DONATE button.

    I am glad that you did not simply delete twitcher's post, like you did mine and others, it shows that you are at least able to accept a conversation.

    Also I seem to notice that all the comments with iPi Soft's name are gone. Just because they are commercial does not make them bad, people should be allowed know about it.

  12. DeMoN,

    I added the Brekel link not Nigel - because Brekel is free.
    I wrote weeks ago about IPI - for users who want a cheap BVH editing software.
    I am not angry - I answer reasonable questions like from Twitcher.

    How would you feel if others state that you fake your work to gain fame?
    Did you research Nigel Ward and where he works?

  13. @cekuhnen

    This is a terrible forum to discuss censorship, but I feel it should be addressed.

    Some people claim the video was a fake, but I think that that was an *honest* reaction; it was my first reaction, too. Albeit the opinion was untested, uninformed, etc., but deleting honest comments only stifles creative discussion.

    Imagine if no one had called it "fake". No one would have followed that up with any rationale for why the timing was off. But every person coming to view this video will have the same initial reaction (that it seems fake); they would first consult the article (where there is no mention of the timing problem), and next the comments. If there was no feedback at all about it, the visitor would begin to think that BlenderNation was not a valid news source, and would question the validity of other articles.

    Rational thinking is a very complex dynamic. Rationality takes a long time to elaborate at times. Without presenting -- and then answering to -- reaction, fear, and other irrational thought, as a group we will never move away from irrationality (individually, we would, but we would not trust the same from anyone else in this forum).

    That being said, @DeMoN you are not helping the matter by name calling. Your points are valid, so let the real concern driving your comment be the only thing in your comment. Being right is a pretty powerful argument all by itself.

  14. @cekuhnen

    Sorry, that may seem like I'm coming down pretty hard on you. I recognize how hard it is to decide where the line between what is honesty and what is toxic, and how difficult it is to be the moderator.

    Keep the articles coming! This sort of write-up is actually very convincing about what is possible in Blender. And I use these articles every single day at work.

  15. cekuhnen,

    I must apologize about the tone of my last comment, when I saw the way you answered twitcher's comment which made the same points as the comments that you deleted before (including mine) and for the moment too much blood rushed to my head.

    -"I am not angry – I answer reasonable questions like from Twitcher"
    Deleting posts like you did implied an anger response.

    -"I wrote weeks ago about IPI"
    I was not aware of that, I just searched and saw that you did a feature in May. The second half of my comment about the conspiracy theories, were more of an afterthought, since I was sure that you would delete the post anyway, I figured "what the heck".

    -"How would you feel if others state that you fake your work to gain fame? Did you research Nigel Ward and where he works?"
    I am weird, but I do not care very much about other people's opinions, its just that when my perceived sense of justice is affected that is when I seem to become very opinionated.

    Im sure Breckel works on some level, and that Nigel is fine teacher and nice man, but so what. The video is BS, that was my and others' problems to begin with, and my problem escalated when you deleted the comments. Besides wasn't this video done by students of his, what does that have to do with the man himself?

    Anyway, I am finally done with this subject, and I have a feeling that I should stop using the DeMoN nicname, I always seem to get into long arguments on forums when using it, even though its just some wordplay on my initials, it rubs people the wrong way...

  16. DeMoN and Delfeld,

    All I ask for is to talk in a civil manner without making claims or accusations.
    As you see with T's post who asked something and not stated, I also answered him
    to provide him with additional information about what this post and technology is about.

    I am glad we worked it out.

  17. DeMoN,

    As far as the donate button - it IS a donate button. You are not forced to. That is point number one. Point number two is, do you think people would donate without downloading it first and giving it a try? Points to ponder.

  18. Anyone know of a way to capture BVH files from a Kinekt in Linux? Brekel seems to be a QT app, yet when I asked the author, he had no interest in either porting to Linux, or open sourcing it. That's fine. I'd just love to find a way of capturing the Kinekt from my OS of choice.

  19. Charon

    well wait till Blender GSoC is done and the new motion tools are in trunk.
    They look very good and will give Blender a great boost in handeling such motion datas.

    Blendiac can you use Wine to run Brekel or maybe use VirtualBox to run windows if you have a copy.

  20. @Theun - site and page are back up now. Sorry for the downtime but had some trouble with my host. should be all good now. good luck with the project! let me know how it works out.

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