WIP: Quarterhorse


Edit: Latest Progress Shot:

This horse is a project that I have been working on in my free time. A friend of mine is making a few films for school and his church and he wants the name “White Horse Films.” This horse will be displayed at the start of his films along with an animation of some sort. So far, I have gotten the basic form hashed out and I intend to bring it into zbrush to add more detail next. I also want to add hair and stuff. This will be a challenge considering the fact that I haven’t used zbrush hardly at all yet and I’ve never made hair before. I haven’t done much animating before either. This horse will be a big learning experience for me. Any suggestions, crits, comments, etc. are welcome and NEEDED.



Nice model overall. There are a few things that I’ve noticed; the head seems a bit too small for the body. Maybe I’m just not good with animal proportions but it seems to be off. The other thing is the geometry. It doesn’t follow the musculature of the horse. If you plan to animate it, it would do wonders if you had the right geometry in the right place. Nice model overall, will keep an eye on this.


The legs and feet look really nice, but I think there’s something funny going on with the neck perhaps. Can you post a wire from the side view and I’ll see if I can put my finger on what it is?


WOW, I didn’t expect to get replies so fast. Thanks guys.

Red_Plague - I agree about the head/neck issue. Something is not working with respect to the rest of the body. I will be reworking that aspect. I see what you mean about the geometry too. I will have to redo the topology. I’m thinking that the lines coming from the neck aren’t enough to work with, so I’ll have to do something like this
in order to correct the issue with getting the right geometry flow for animating. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I have very little practice with animating, so modeling for animation is something that I don’t comprehend well yet.

Amy_517 - I took a look at the neck and head today and I’m seeing some problems as well. The neck is too curved I think and it needs to be bulkier as well. Possibly a bit longer too. I’m gonna make some major changes to it and then you can re - evaluate that. Thanks for replying!


Here’s a quick update. It really looks messy at the moment and I intend to fix that asap. However, I just wanted to show the improved neck and head proportions and show the concept I want to follow through with concerning the geometry following the musculature. Let me know if there are any other major concerns before I polish this up.


The neck looks much better now. A minor point would be to move the front legs back a little, as the chest area looks too flat atm. If the legs sit more underneath the shoulders than to the front, they will look to take the weight better.

There are also some funny looking bumps at the front side of the back legs, just below the hocks. I would also say that the hocks are a little high up.

Unless you’ve changed it since your first post, I think the horse is a little narrow in the chest, and there should be more definition between the front ‘shoulder’ muscles and the ribs.

I am being really really picky here, so feel free to ignore me.

Coming together really nicely though :slight_smile:


Everything you mentioned will be implemented to the fullest TODAY. I’ll post an update when I am through. Thanks for your help!


Much better I was just going to post an answer in this regard. The idea is to have the geometry flow with the positioning of the muscles. Not only does this help in when and if you decide to rig this model but it also helps cut down on artifacting during rendering time.

Looking good, I used to work with quarter horses so this is good to see…


if you have access to zbrush, i would recommend taking your symmetrical mesh in there and tweak it there. i find tweaking my mesh in zbrush is the best thing i could ever do. HUGE time saver. the legs seem a bit to square, they could have a more organic look to them. and your mesh could be cleaned up, it was really clean, and now it has all these weird edges running through it. maybe smooth some of the harder looking muscles, smooth them out, and clean up the mesh a bit.


Hey I think its looking like a good start man. I would make sure you aren’t modeling in direct reference to the photo of the white horse, which it looks like you may be doing to some extent. I say this, because as someone else said, the front legs look a little too forward and I think they start a little high. I think the photo of the white horse you have is turned a little so you can’t really see but the front of the chest of the horse sticks out further in front and is a little lower than what you have here.


WOW, I am excited to see such an array of responses! I’m encouraged.

Levitateme -
I do have access to zbrush and I intend to use it. I’ve played with it very little however but I intend to use it anyway. It will be a learning experience. (I’ll make sure I save a backup :wink: I agree about the leg squareness. I’m adding some more tweaks to them as we speak. As far as the dirtiness of the mesh, that’s the result of 10 minutes of topology adjustment before calling it a night yesterday. I hated going to sleep with it looking like that! I have been cleaning it up alot today though.

kc252 -
I’m seeing what you mean about the awkwardness in the chest and front legs now. I will be looking into some different reference pictures for the chest and I lowered the start of the legs a bit. I’ll post a shot of that in my update later.

Right now I’m defining the muscles more. I’m not sure how much muscle I should do in Maya before going into zbrush with it. I’m guessing just the major muscle definition in Maya and then the small finishing touch type of tweaks in zbrush. Does that sound right?


Okay, finally I can post some progress for the evening’s work. Whoa…I even forgot to eat dinner! LOL

I implemented most of the things mentioned. Let me know if I’m missing things. I still have yet to define the front leg’s upper muscle part but the topology has been reworked, the mesh has been cleaned up, and I have added some muscle definition in the neck and chest.

Please keep the crits coming! The horse will get better and better with each crit I’m sure. I’m looking forward to bringing this into zbrush soon. I’m a little nervous about that though since I am a total zbrush noob. Any zbrush advice is welcome (ie workflow, brushes I should use, import and export, applying the displacement map once back in maya, etc). By the way… I will use zbrush to sculpt details which will then be baked into a texture which I will apply to this model in Maya, is this correct?


This baby is really shaping up, but there is something that I must stress with extreme wholehearted concern, not only for you, but a lot of people. BEWARE THE PARALLAX EFFECT!!! many people forget that reference images have problems showing proportions, you seem to have accounted for most of them, but IMO, the horse seems very…thin, it needs a bit more beef…horse meat, whatever, you get the point lol.

anyways, keep at it, it’s looking mighty nice:scream:


Please could you post a front and a top view of the horse? As a few people have said, it’s looking a little skinny, and this could help us see where it needs beefing up. Personally, I think the ribcage should be made wider, as this is usually the widest part of a horse.

Also, the uppermost of the two hollows you have on the neck should not be quite so pronounced, I feel.

Looking really, really good though :applause:


Thanks for the crits guys! This help is great. I can see what you all are talking about with respect to the horse appearing a little thin. I managed to find one reference picture of a horse from the overhead view. It is only a drawing of a skeleton though. Let me know where I need to beef it up. I’m guessing rib cage…?


By the way, I didn’t post it here, but I have lessened the severity of the upper hollow that I made on the neck. I realize that it is easy to overexaggerate certain muscle definitions. Thanks for that crit.


IMO the whole body needs to be scaled outwards a little, apart from the neck and legs, if that makes any sense. (i.e. the ‘torso’ part… can’t remember what it’s called on a horse lol) Looking from the front view, the front legs are splayed out a little, and I think the chest should come down between the legs more, which would make room for the join of neck to chest to also be lower. Not by too much, though.

You’re sooooo nearly there with the modelling - looking forward to seeing it textured :slight_smile:



Good observations. I will correct the things you mentioned, do a llittle more muscle definition work, then bring it into zbrush. Do I texture it before or after zbrush? Does it matter?


I think you do it after, but I’ve never used it…

To be honest, I really don’t think you have much to do in zbrush at all, just a little bit on the legs maybe.

One more thing I didn’t notice before… his head seems a bit flat on the front (the reference pic horse has a sort of bony ridge running down the front of its head) and maybe enlarge the nostrils slightly. This depends also if the horse will be exerting itself or at rest.

Sorry, I should have looked more carefully, and tried to get all these crits into one post…


Thanks Amy. I will be making the changes that have been suggested TODAY. I will then begin the texturing. The only thing is… I’m not sure how I sould do the body. Do I give it short hair? Or can I texture it to suggest hair somehow?


I’ve added some more definition to the face based on this photo reference. I’m finding some photos now that have tons of muscle definition in the face and legs so I may want to take it into zbrush. I think the more subtle details in terms of muscles/nerves/tendons the better it will be in the end.

Here you can see the beefiness that I added to the horse. I’m thankful you all pointed out how thin it was before.