Biovision Hierarchy (BVH) Format and MoCap data for Character Animation

bvhacker version, by D. Wooldridge

The Biovision Hierarchy (BVH) character animation file format was developed by Biovision, a defunct motion capture services company. BVH provides skeleton hierarchy information as well as motion data. The BVH format is an ASCII file that is used to import rotational joint data. It is currently one of the most popular motion data formats, and has been widely adopted by the animation community, probably because of its simple specifications.

Most 3D modeling & animation packages used by professionals provide an inbuilt BVH editor. This contribution mainly focus on tools and motion data accessible to animation hobbyists.

A list of some commercial and free BVH tools is shown below :

  • bvhacker : free bvh file editing tool ideally suited for final preparation of bvh files for upload to Second Life
  • BVH Helper : a suite of Python tools to aid the import of BVH files into Poser
  • BVHplay : a free, open-source BVH animation player
  • Life Forms Studio 5 : the most powerful character-animation package in its price-range
  • SimFonIA : innovative plugin for 3D animation for  SketchUp
  • iClone 5 : real-time 3D animation
  • bvh player for iPad : bvh files can be imported by email or iTunes

Next comes a list of commercial and free BVH animation data :

Additional informations about character animation are available at the following links :