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Motive Basics



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Before diving into details on specific motion capture workflows, let’s begin with a brief overview of Motive controls and navigation. Especially if you are new to Motive, we recommend you read through this page and learn about Motive's basic tools, configurations and navigation controls, as well as directions on managing capture files. Understanding the topics covered on this page will help when using Motive Workflow pages. In addition, some of Motive's more useful features are highlighted to help improve your mocap experience.

File Management

Motive saves all captured tracking data and tracking models into a single Take (TAK) file, referred to as a Take. Multiple Take files are managed in a Project (TTP) file. Projects and takes are managed in Motive's Project Pane. Takes may be grouped into Sessions. Each new session will create a session folder, which is a sub-directory of the primary project folder. The Project Pane show the hierarchical Session / Take organization, which is mirrored in the Windows file system:

  • Project (TTP)
    • Calibration (CAL)
    • Session1 (Folder)
      • Take1 (TAK)
      • Take2 (TAK)
    • Session2 (Folder)
      • Take3
      • Take4

Whether you are planning the day's shoot or incorporating a group of ad-hoc Takes mid-project, creating sessions folders can help manage complex sets of data. To create a new session, simply select the New Session button (ICON) in the Project pane. Project files are used to organize multiple sessions and their respective calibration settings. The Project pane is the primary interface for managing these items.

  • Motive Take (TAK): A Take is a self-contained, complete motion capture recording. The Take file includes camera calibration and 2D data, 3D reconstructed, labeled data, and any tracking model definitions (rigid bodies, skeletons, etc).
  • Motive Session folder: A Session is a file folder that allows the user to organize multiple similar takes (e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or StaticTrials, WalkingTrials, RunningTrials, etc).
  • Motive project file (TTP): A Project file contains settings and references to all aspects of a motion capture shoot, including the current camera calibration, session and take organization, default tracking models (assets), and any project specific settings.
  • Motive Calibration files (CAL): A Calibration file is a standalone file that contains all required information to restore a calibrated camera volume, including the cameras used and their lense distortion parameters. This file is useful when the system setup (camera setup) has been kept constant, and can be automatically loaded at startup to provide instant access to the 3D volume. Read more from Calibration page.

Plan the mocap session before the capture and organize a list of captures (shots) that need to be completed. Type Take names in a spreadsheet or a text file, and Copy and paste the list into project pane, which will automatically create empty Takes (shot list) with corresponding names from the pasted list.


In Motive, the main viewport is fixed at the center of the GUI. This View Pane is used to monitor either the 2D or 3D capture data in both live and edit mode. The main viewport can be toggled between 2D and 3D views of the data. The Perspective View mode (ICON) displays the reconstructed 3D data in a 3D space, and the Camera Preview mode (ICON) shows 2D images from each individual camera in the setup. Both of these views are essential for monitoring the tracked data.

Perspective View - 3D viewport
  • Used to look through the reconstructed 3D representation of the capture, analyze marker positions, rays used in reconstruction, etc.
  • The context menu in the Perspective View allows you to access more options related to the markers and assets in 3D tracking data.

Basics Perspective.png

Camera Preview - 2D view port
  • Each camera’s view can be accessed from the Camera Preview pane. It displays the images that are being transmitted from each camera. The image processing modes are displayed, including grayscale and object
  • Detected reflections are also shown in this pane, and reflections satisfies the object filters and considered as markers
  • From Camera Preview pane, you can mask certain pixel regions to exclude them from the process.

Basics CameraPreview.png


The Timeline Pane provides control over Motive's 2 primary operating modes : Live and Edit.

In Live Mode, all cameras are active, the system is processing camera data, and, if calibrated, reconstructing 2D camera data into labeled and unlabeled 3D trajectories (markers). In Live mode, the system is ready for recording, and the Timeline shows the recording controls.

In Edit Mode, The cameras are not active. Motive is processing load TAK data (pre-recorded data). In Edit Mode, the timeline shows the playback controls, including access to the frame scrubber, and the 2D Graph Editor, for accessing and editing 3D trajectory data.

Basics Timeline.png

Application Setting

The Application Setting Pane can be accessed under the Edit tab. This pane is used to modify preferences that are related to General, Views, Skeletons, and Rigid Bodies. Note that these settings are not related to the data acquisition properties. Here, you can modify general settings such as startup settings and display options for view ports. In addition, Skeletons and Rigid Bodies tabs are used to sets the default creation setting for new assets. Many other software preferences can be modified from this pane, read and find more about available preference settings from the Application Settings Pane page. If you wish to reset the default application setting, go to Reset Application Settings under the Edit tab.

Navigation Controls

Most of the navigation features in Motive (1.9.0 and above) are customizable, including both mouse and Hotkey controls. The Hotkey Editor Pane and the Mouse Control Pane under the Edit tab allows you to customize mouse navigation and keyboard shortcuts to common operations.

Default Mouse Control

Motive comes with a variety of common mouse control 'profiles'. Control profile presets include: Motive, Blade, Autodesk Maya, and Autodesk. You can also open the Mouse Control pane under the Edit tab in order to customize the setting for your own preference.

Mouse Controls pane used to customize the navigation mouse controls.
Function Default Control
Rotate view Right + Drag
Pan view Middle (wheel) click + drag
Zoom in/out Mouse Wheel
Select in View Left mouse click
Toggle Selection in View CTRL + left mouse click


Using Hotkeys can improve the speed of workflows in Motive. All default hotkeys are listed in the Motive Hotkeys page. For Motive 1.9 and above, Hotkeys can customized in the Hotkey Editor (shown below), which can be accessed under the Edit tab in the Main Tool Bar. Various actions can be assigned with a custom hotkey using the Hotkey Editor. For list of the default Hotkey settings, read through the Motive Hotkeys Page.

Basics Hotkey.png


The UI layout in Motive is customizable. All panes can be docked and undocked from the UI. Each pane can be positioned and organized by drag-and-drop using the on-screen docking indicators. Panes may float, dock, or stack. When stacked together, they form a tabbed window for quickly cycling through. Layouts in Motive can be saved and loaded, allowing user's to quickly create and switch between default and custom configurations suitable for different needs. Motive has preset layouts for Calibration, Creating a Skeleton, Capturing (Record), and Editing workflows. Custom layouts can be created, saved, and set as default from the Main Menu -> 'Layout' menu item. Quickly restore a particular layout from the Layout menu, the Layout Dropdown at the top right of the Main Menu, or via HotKeys.

Basics LayoutTab.png Basics LayoutGuide.png