Best motion capture software for spectacular animations

Vlad Turiceanu
by Vlad Turiceanu
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  • Mo-cap records natural movement and transfers it to digital objects to create hyperrealistic animations.
  • Are you keen on making your characters really come to life? Then a motion capture software is exactly what you need.
  • Check out our Animation Software page to really get animated and unleash your full creative potential.
  • Keep an eye on the Video Hub as well to make sure you stay in touch with the latest releases in the industry.
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Motion capture also known as motion tracking or mo-cap refers to the process of digitally recording natural movements in order to transfer them to character models later on.

You can use it to trace the movement of any element in your footage and create visual effect elements by having other layers in your composition follow your tracked object(s).


Hugely popular in the entertainment field and game development, motion tracking serves as the starting point for the stunning animations and breath-taking visual effects we all know and love.

Let’s make this simpler. Remember Neytiri from Avatar and how she effortlessly jumped from ridiculously high trees straight on to the back of a dragon? That’s the mo-cap magic in action and that is exactly what motion capture software tools do best.

Go through our top picks for motion capture tools and choose the one that can make your next project truly astonishing.

Get animated with the best motion capture software


Adobe After Effects (recommended)


Adobe After Effects

If we’re talking about visual effects, there aren’t many software that can match Adobe After Effects’ powerful capacities. While motion capture is not a standalone effect, it helps to create the most hyperrealistic of animations.

After Effects tracks motion by matching previously selected image data from succeeding frames. Thanks to the integrated 3D camera tracker, you can also track camera motion or insert 3D objects in 2D footage effortlessly and these are just some of its remarkable tools, perfectly adapted to capture motion.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • 3D Camera tracker
  • Warp Stabilizer (to transform shaky footage into smooth shots or to hold a moving object still in the frame)
  • Combining elements filmed separately
  • Animate still images to match the motion of action footage
  • Animate effects to follow a moving element

Get Adobe After Effects now


3DS Max by Autodesk



3DS Max is a 3D animation modeling and rendering software offering a rich and flexible motion capture toolset that truly brings characters to life.

Full artistic control and intuitive options blend into this motion capture software to help you work faster and meet deadlines.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • Motion Paths (preview and adjust animation paths directly in the viewport)
  • Animation and VFX (powerful scene modeling, stunning characters, and dynamic visual content)
  • Rich special effects (replicate gravity and collisions effects)
  • Rigging tools (CAT, biped, and crowd animation tools)

Check out Autodesk’s official page now


MotionBuilder by Autodesk

Autodesk motionbuilder

MotionBuilder is a 3D character animation software that enables users to manipulate and refine data efficiently.

Both responsive and interactive, this tool has an optimized display and powerful features that allow you to capture motion, edit, and playback complex character animation.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • Real-time 3D engine (create realistic movements for your characters with the fastest animation tools)
  • Efficient workflows (unified, nonlinear editing environment)
  • Motion capture editing (advanced tools to manipulate motion capture data)
  • Smooth interoperability (includes a software development kit for interoperability with other 3D apps)

Check out Autodesk’s official page now


MVN Animate by Xsens

MVN Animate_motion capture software

MVN Animate is Xsens’ dedicated motion capture system and professionals love it.

Cutting-edge 3D character animation, real-time visualization, quick calibration, easy playback and reprocessing of your motion capture data are just some of the remarkable features this tool has to offer. Plus, it integrates seamlessly in your workflow allowing you to take your mo-cap everywhere.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • State-of-the-art 3D character animation
  • HD Reprocessing (process data over a larger time window to get the best results out of your motion capture data)
  • Integrations (cross-connection with all major 3D software like Houdini, 3DS Max by Autodesk, Blender or Maya)
  • Excellent solution for gaming, film, animation, and live entertainment

Check out Xsens‘s official page now

While motion tracking in itself is not a visual effect, it is quintessential for the creation of visual effects.

By recording natural movement and playing it back on a digitally created model, motion capture software have proved indispensable for the gaming, animation, film-making, and overall entertainment industry.

If you’re aiming to really bring your characters to life and make them move it, move it, have a go at one of the finest software for the job. Let us know how that worked for you in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about motion capture

  • What is motion capture software?

Motion capture software are used for recording natural movement and transferring it to digital models. Professional motion capture artists in the gaming, cinematography and entertainment industries use these tools to achieve high-end, hyperrealistic visual effects.

  • Does motion capture replace animation?

It does not. Even though it is a standalone segment, motion capture integrates with animation effects by helping to reproduce and impregnate movement paths to characters and digital objects.

  • What are the 3 types of motion that all films use?

Motion picture films are divided into 3 main categories: camera, print films, and intermediate and laboratory and all are available as black-and-white or color films.