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Welcome to the Quick Start Guide: Getting Started!
This guide provides a quick walk-through of installing and using OptiTrack motion capture systems. Key concepts and instructions are summarized in each section of this page to help you get familiarized with the system and get you started with the capture experience.
Note that Motive offers features far beyond the ones listed in this guide, and the capability of the system can be further optimized to fit your specific capture applications using the additional features. For more detailed information on each workflow, read through the corresponding workflow pages in this wiki: hardware setup and software setup.
For best tracking results, you need to prepare and clean up the capture environment before setting up the system. First, remove unnecessary objects that could block the camera views. Cover open windows and minimize incoming sunlight. Avoid setting up a system over reflective flooring since IR lights from cameras may get reflected and add noise to the data. If this is not an option, use rubber mats to cover the reflective area. Likewise, items with reflective surfaces or illuminating features should be removed or covered with non-reflective materials in order to avoid extraneous reflections.
See Also: Hardware Setup workflow pages.
Ethernet Camera Models: Prime series and Slim 13E cameras. Follow the below wiring diagram and connect each of the required system components.
Ethernet Cable Requirements
Optical motion capture systems utilize multiple 2D images from each camera to compute, or reconstruct, corresponding 3D coordinates. For best tracking results, cameras must be placed so that each of them captures unique vantage of the target capture area. Place the cameras circumnavigating around the capture volume, as shown in the example below, so that markers in the volume will be visible by at least two cameras at all times. Mount cameras securely onto stable structures (e.g. truss system) so that they don't move throughout the capture. When using tripods or camera stands, ensure that they are placed in stable positions. After placing cameras, aim the cameras so that their views overlap around the region where most of the capture will take place. Any significant camera movement after system calibration may require re-calibration. Cable strain-relief should be used at the camera end of camera cables to prevent potential damage to the camera.
In order to obtain accurate and stable tracking data, it is very important that all of the cameras are correctly focused to the target volume. This is especially important for close-up and long-range captures. For common tracking applications in general, focus-to-infinity should work fine, however, it is still important to confirm that each camera in the system is focused.
To adjust or to check camera focus, place some markers on the target tracking area. Then, set the camera to raw grayscale mode, increase the exposure and LED settings, and then Zoom onto one of the retroreflective markers in the capture volume and check the clarity of the image. If the image is blurry, adjust the camera focus and find the point where the marker is best resolved.
In order to properly run a motion capture system using Motive, the host PC must satisfy the minimum system requirements. Required minimum specifications vary depending on sizes of mocap systems and types of cameras used. Consult our Sale Engineers, or use the Build Your Own feature on our website to find out host PC specification requirements.
Motive is a software platform designed to control motion capture systems for various tracking applications. Motive not only allows the user to calibrate and configure the system, but it also provides interfaces for both capturing and processing of 3D data. The captured data can be recorded or live-streamed into other pipelines.
If you are new to Motive, we recommend you to read through Motive Basics page after going through this guide to learn about basic navigation controls in Motive.
The following items will be required for activating Motive. Please note that the valid duration of the Motive license must be later than the release date of the version that you are activating. If the license is expired, please update the license or use an older version of Motive that was released prior to the license expiration date.
Required PC specifications may vary depending on the size of the camera system. Generally, you will be required to use the recommended specs with a system with more than 24 cameras.
To install Motive, simply download the Motive software installer for your operating system from the Motive Download Page, then run the installer and follow its prompts.
Note: Anti-virus software can interfere with Motive's ability to communicate with cameras or other devices, and it may need to be disabled or configured to allow the device communication to properly run the system.
Notes on using USB Security Key
Notes on First Connection with a USB Security Key
By default, Motive will start on the calibration layout with all the necessary panes open. Using this layout, you can calibrate the camera system and construct a 3D tracking volume. The layout may be slightly different for certain camera models or software licenses.
The following panes will be open:
Likewise, this pane is also used to view the properties of the cameras and any other connected devices that are listed in the Device pane.
and recorded Takes to view and configure their properties.
This pane will be used in almost all of the workflows. The Devices pane can be accessed under the View tab in Motive or by clicking icon from the main toolbar.
You can use the dropdown menu at the top-left corner to switch between different viewports, and you can also use the button at the top-right corner to split the viewport into multiple. If desired, an additional View pane can be open by opening up a Viewer pane under the View tab or by clicking icons on the main toolbar.
See Also: List of UI pages from the Documentation Reference Guide page.
Use the following controls for navigating throughout the 2D and 3D viewports in Motive. Most of the navigation controls are customizable, including both mouse actions and hotkeys. These mouse and keyboard controls can be customized through the Application Settings panel.
Now that the cameras are connected and showing up in Motive, the next step is to configure the camera settings. Appropriate camera settings will vary depending on various factors including the capture environment and tracked objects. The overall goal is to configure the settings so that the marker reflections are clearly captured and distinguished in the 2D view of each camera. For a detailed explanation on individual settings, please refer to the Devices pane page.
To check whether the camera setting is optimized, it is best to check both the grayscale mode images and tracking mode (Object or Precision) images and make sure the marker reflection stands out from the image. You switch a camera into grayscale mode either in Motive or by using the Aim Assist button for supported cameras. In Motive, you can right-click on the Cameras Viewport and switch the video mode in the context menu, or you can also change the video mode through the Properties pane.
The exposure setting determines how long the camera imagers are exposed per each frame of data. With longer the exposure, more light will be captured by the camera, creating the brighter images that can improve visibility for small and dim markers. However, high exposure values can introduce false markers, larger marker blooms, and marker blurring – all of which can negatively impact marker data quality. It is best to minimize the exposure setting as long as the markers are clearly visible in the captured images.
Tip: For the calibration process, click the Layout → Calibrate menu (CTRL + 1) to access the calibration layout.
In order to start tracking, all cameras must first be calibrated. Through the camera calibration process, Motive computes position and orientation of cameras (extrinsic) as well as amounts of lens distortions in captured images (intrinsics). Using the calibration results, Motive constructs a 3D capture volume, and within this volume, motion tracking is accomplished. All of the calibration tools can be found under the Calibration pane. Read through the Calibration page to learn about the calibration process and what other tools are available for more efficient workflows.
See Also: Calibration page.
Duo/Trio Tracking Bars:
The camera calibration is not needed for Duo/Trio Tracking bars. The cameras are pre-calibrated using the fixed camera placements. This allows the tracking bars to work right out of the box without the calibration process. To adjust the ground plane, used the Coordinate System Tools in Motive.
Once the camera system has been calibrated, Motive is ready to collect data. But before doing so, let's prepare the session folders for organizing the capture recordings and define the trackable assets, including rigid body and/or skeletons.
Each capture recording will be saved in a Take (TAK) file and related Take files can be organized in session folders. Start your capture by first creating a new Session folder. Create a new folder in the desired directory of the host computer and load the folder onto the Data pane by either clicking on the icon OR just by drag-and-dropping them onto the data management pane. If no session folder is loaded, all of the recordings will be saved onto the default folder located in the user documents directory (Documents\OptiTrack\Default). All of the newly recorded Takes will be saved within the currently selected session folder which will be marked with the symbol.
See Also: Motive Basics page.
Motive's software configurations are saved to Motive Profiles (*.motive extension). All of the application-related settings can be saved into the Motive profiles, and you can export and import these files and easily maintain the same software configurations.
Place the retro-reflective markers onto subjects (rigid body or skeleton) that you wish to track. Double-check that the markers are attached securely. For skeleton tracking, open the Builder pane, go to skeleton creation options, and choose a marker set you wish to use. Follow the skeleton avatar diagram for placing the markers. If you are using a mocap suit, make sure that the suit fits as tightly as possible. Motive derives the position of each body segment from related markers that you place on the suit. Accordingly, it is important to prevent the shifting of markers as much as possible. Sample marker placements are shown below.
See Also: Marker Setup page for marker types, or Rigid Body Tracking and Skeleton Tracking page for placement directions.
Tip: For creating trackable assets, click the Layout → Create menu item to access the model creation layout.
To define a rigid body, simply select three or more markers in the Perspective View, right-click, and select Rigid Body → Create Rigid Body From Selected. You can also utilize CTRL+T hotkey for creating rigid body assets. You can also use the Builder pane to define the rigid body.
To define a skeleton, have the actor enter the volume with markers attached at appropriate locations. Open the Builder pane and select Skeleton and Create. Under the marker set section, select a marker set you wish to use, and a corresponding model with desired marker locations will be displayed. After verifying that the marker locations on the actor correspond to those in the Builder pane, instruct the actor to strike the calibration pose. Most common calibration pose used is the T-pose. The T-pose requires a proper standing posture with back straight and head looking directly forward. Then, both arms are stretched to sides, forming a “T” shape. While in T-pose, select all of the markers within the desired skeleton in the 3D view and click Create button in the Builder pane. In some cases, you may not need to select the markers if only the desired actor is in view.
See Also: Rigid Body Tracking page and Skeleton Tracking page.
Tip: For recording capture, access the Layout → Capture menu item, or the to access the capture layout
Once the volume is calibrated and skeletons are defined, now you are ready to capture. In the Control Deck at the bottom, press the dimmed red record button or simply press the spacebar when in the Live mode to begin capturing. This button will illuminate in bright red to indicate recording is in progress. You can stop recording by clicking the record button again, and a corresponding capture file (TAK extension), also known as capture Take, will be saved within the current session folder. Once a Take has been saved, you can playback captures, reconstruct, edit, and export your data in a variety of formats for additional analysis or use with most 3D software.
When tracking skeletons, it is beneficial to start and end the capture with a T-pose. This allows you to recreate the skeleton in post-processing when needed.
See Also: Data Recording page.
After capturing a Take. Recorded 3D data and its trajectories can be post-processed using the Data Editing tools, which can be found in the Edit Tools Pane. Data editing tools provide post-processing features such as deleting unreliable trajectories, smoothing select trajectories, and interpolating missing (occluded) marker positions. Post-editing the 3D data can improve the quality of tracking data.
Tip: For data editing, access the Layout → Edit menu item, or the to access the capture layout
Markers detected in the camera views get trajectorized into 3D coordinates. The reconstructed markers need to be labeled for Motive to distinguish different trajecectories within a capture. Trajectories of annotated reconstructions can be exported individually or used (solved altogether) to track the movements of the target subjects. Markers associated with Rigid Bodies and Skeletons are labeled automatically through the auto-labeling process. Note that rigid body and skeleton markers can be auto-labeled both during Live mode (before capture) and Edit mode (after capture). Individual markers can also be labeled, but each marker needs to be manually labeled in post-processing using assets and the Labeling pane. These manual Labeling tools can also be used to correct any labeling errors. Read through the Labeling page for more details in assigning and editing marker labels.
See Also: Labeling page.
Changing Marker Labels and Colors
Motive exports reconstructed 3D tracking data in various file formats, and exported files can be imported into other pipelines to further utilize capture data. Supported formats include CSV and C3D for Motive: Tracker, and additionally, FBX, BVH, and TRC for Motive: Body. To export tracking data, select a Take to export and open the export dialog window, which can be accessed from File → Export Tracking Data or right-click on a Take → Export Tracking data from the Data pane. Multiple Takes can be selected and exported from Motive or by using the Motive Batch Processor. From the export dialog window the frame rate, measurement scale, and frame range of exported data can be configured. Frame ranges can also be specified by selecting a frame range in the Graph pane before exporting a file. In the export dialog window, corresponding export options are available for each file format.
See Also: Data Export page.
Motive offers multiple options to stream tracking data onto external applications in real-time. Tracking data can be streamed in both Live mode and Edit mode. Streaming plugins are available for Autodesk Motion Builder, Visual3D, The MotionMonitor, Unreal Engine 4, 3ds Max, Maya (VCS), and VRPN, and they can be downloaded from the OptiTrack website. For other streaming options, the NatNet SDK enables users to build custom client and server applications to stream capture data. Common motion capture applications rely on real-time tracking, and the OptiTrack system is designed to deliver data at an extremely low latency even when streaming to third-party pipelines. Detailed instructions on specific streaming protocols are included in the PDF documentation that ships with the respective plugins or SDK's.
See Also: Data Streaming page and Data Streaming Pane page.