Video reference has played an important role in my workflow. To make the animation as realistic as possible, I needed to closely study a horse’s behaviour and try to replicate that in my animation. In the early stages of the animation, I spent a large time gathering video reference of horse’s in free movement. I needed to study and understand how a horse was acting in a certain way and why. I also needed to consider how a horse expresses its mood and understand how they show emotion through there body language.
I spent days studying video references of different horses, whilst trying to understand there behaviour. I also spent some time with my friend Alice, who works as a Masterson Method Certified Practitioner. Alice focuses on the horse’s nervous system, to release tension in muscles and joints that affects the horse’s performance. I spent time with Alice at her yard, I was able to study the horses and shoot some video reference that I could later study. It was really helpful to be able to spend time with Alice so she could point out subtle ways a horse will express itself through their body language. Alice also explained what is considered proper form for each horse gait. This is an important factor and something I hadn’t considered before.
By gathering video reference and deciding on the story arc, I was able to start animating the horse to suit the emotion of the poem. The environment was my stage and the horse was my actor. I started off by animating each gait, ranging from walk, trot, canter and gallop. I spent a lot of time perfecting the movement and trying to make it true to what I studied from the video reference. I also sent playblast’s to Alice regularly and she would give me feedback on subtle things such as correcting the angle of the hoof. It has been my first time animating a quadruped in 3D, so it has been a challenging yet rewarding experience so far.
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