View Full Version : Settings for animating a horses walk cycle

10 October 2010, 03:10 PM
Hi. I am trying to animate a horse walking and am getting frustrated with trying to make the legs look realistic. They keep bending in the wrong direction!! Can anyone pleae help me with the correct bone heading and pitch limits when setting the Controllers and Limits for IK.

10 October 2010, 04:00 PM
Never animated a horse, but i would try with using the famous photo series of Eadweard Muybridge as reference. Higher resolution scans at this German site:,+Eadweard

“Hansel, trottend” is showing a walk actually at the first page, while a nice trot can be seen a page further “Daisy mit Reiter”.

The photos were taken most probably at even intervals.

Hope it helps a bit...

10 October 2010, 11:20 AM
Hi Zokana

I have already got that as a reference and used that to animate the actual leg movements but my horses legs keep flicking because I need to amend the bone settings for the pitch and heading and wondered if anyone had already got the perfect settings. Thanks for your suggestion.


10 October 2010, 07:27 PM
Oh, i see. Hmm, i’ve used years ago the horse from Poser, which proved to be a good horse for simple posing. Trying to be always a gentleman :rolleyes: , here a clumsy animation with that horse, using the mentioned reference: (click on the picture to see the poor result - it looks a bit fast as GIF animation) (

Didn’t pay attention to the back/neck movements, so the walk looks rather stiff.(especially the neck movement is badly missing) Also the dynamics could be refined a lot, needing probably a few hours to get a good looking walk.

The keyframes were:
(did a mistake at the beginning)
The photo sequence was used from 1-23 (not no24). Then i added keyframe 26, using photo no11 with mirrored leg poses, and copying frame 1 as keyframe 30. To get a full loop you would need this sequence twice, with the tail moving back to the other side (not done here).

And here the settings of the Poser horse, showing the pivots of the right legs. The red marking shows the corrections i would do. The wrong position at the thigh caused some difficulties. But most important is IMO to smooth out the curve of the thigh movements after having done the first set-up of the animation, and to readjust the rest afterwards.

Well, i’m less than an absolute beginner in animating horses (not even on the way to get one), but maybe you’ll find something useful.

Wishing you all the best with your animation! :)

10 October 2010, 08:12 PM
i dont understand if u have a spacing problem or a problem that comes out from the rig

11 November 2010, 11:27 AM
So its your IK that's causing your legs to flip?

Are you using max or maya?

11 November 2010, 11:36 AM
Hi Zoltan. That was really useful...........thank you so much for doing that. I think the walk cycle looks great and they will be in the distance so that should work fine. C x

Giordi, I have a problem with the bone settings. My bones can bend the legs in all directions so they are bending forwards and upwards which is obviously impossible!! C x

Matt, I am using lightwave............. C x

11 November 2010, 03:16 PM
I think I am making some headway with this now. Have just done trial and error settings and they seem to be keeping the legs within normal parameters. Thanks again guys for your help. It's much appreciated.

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