Rigging a horse and rider: simulating the predictable and repetitive movement of the rider
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It is nice to give animators artistic freedom, but having to animate every bounce, sway, and counter-balancing movement of a rider on a horse isn't freedom at all. It is painstaking labor that could easily be prevented with an effective character setup. If an animation piece is only going to have a few shots with a horse and rider, then the trouble of setting up an automated character rig is not practical, but if there are a significant amount of shots with a horse and rider galloping across the prairie, doing death defying stunts, and walking for an extended time into the sunset then there needs to be a way to automate the reactions of the rider to the horse. This thesis focuses on what parts of a horse one can analyze to know at what point a rider will lean forward, bounce up from the saddle, or in any way react to a variety of different horse movements. The automated character setup, or rig, makes animating a rider on a horse much more efficient.
Kuhnel, Jennifer Lynn (2003). Rigging a horse and rider: simulating the predictable and repetitive movement of the rider. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from