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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an ideal imaging modality to measure blood flow and tissue motion. It provides excellent contrast between soft tissues, and images can be acquired at positions and orientations freely defined by the user. From a temporal sequence of MR images, boundaries and edges of tissues can be tracked by image processing techniques. Additionally, MRI permits the source of the image signal to be manipulated. For example, temporary magnetic tags displaying a pattern of variable brightness may be placed in the object using MR saturation techniques, giving the user a known pattern to detect for motion tracking. The MRI signal is a modulated complex quantity, being derived from a rotating magnetic field in the form of an induced current. Well-defined patterns can also be introduced into the phase of the magnetization, and could be thought of as generalized tags. If the phase of each pixel is preserved during image reconstruction, relative phase shifts can be used to directly encode displacement, velocity and acceleration. New methods for modeling motion fields from MRI have now found application in cardiovascular and other soft tissue imaging. In this review, we shall describe the methods used for encoding, imaging, and modeling motion fields with MRI.