3d Digital Horse History
This is the first part of a series exploring at depth all of the various 3d horse models available for Poser and Daz Studio, their strengths and weaknesses, availability and add ons and their uses.
First a little history of the digital horse in Poser and Daz Studio.
I have been using Poser since version 4 way back in 1999 and at that time the only 3d horse model available for my renders was the stock P4 Horse that shipped with Poser 3 and above.
There were many variations and addons for this low polygon model produced by the Poser 3d community, Lynne’s Ultimate Horse (large commercial product featuring character morphs and poses), Sharkey’s War Horse (a beefed up muscular version with geometry based hair strands that was a free download) and the Fijording morph and texture by Staale.
There were many other morphs and textures available, Daio, Bloodsong and Haigan were probably the most prolific producers of textures, morphs and poses.
I have several textures and a character loaded with morphs and improvements available to download (click to view) here on my website.
Although a very primitive model in comparison to today’s standards, the low poly p4 horse can still come in handy as background fillers for scenes requiring multiple horse models as it uses much less resources on your computer system.
The old Poser 4 horse was based on the Zygote 3d mesh. A very simple model, poorly rigged against modern standards and no morphs apart from 3rd party ones. No real mane was included bar a raised area along the crest.
The Heavy Horse was the first Poser horse with jointed eyes, ears and jaw. It also had multiple neck sections in the skeleton allowing far greater freedom of movement and different conforming manes, tails and fetlock hair.
The Charger horse was based on the P4 horse geometry adjusted to make a much bulkier animal with unrealistic proportions. It did include updated textures, tack and a conforming, transparency mapped mane.
Heavy Horse & Charger
Next on the scene came Bloodsong’s Heavy Horse and Daz 3d’s Charger.
Bloodsong built, textured and rigged her Heavy Horse model from scratch basing it on heavy draft horse breeds and it included a shire horse, clydesdale and friesian along with several different conforming manes, tails and fetlocks (feathers).
The Heavy Horse had rigged, jointed eyes, eyelids, tongue and jaw and the neck was much more poseable, having multiple sections, allowing it to graze realistically. Bloodsong also released a medieval barding pack, riding tack and several free animated poses for her horse model. I created a set of realistic textures and poses for the Heavy Horse which is now available for free here: Ultimate Heavy Horse. As the Heavy horse was created before Daz Studio it only works in Poser, if I remember correctly this was due to some joint welds in the rigging not functioning correctly in Studio and breaking the mesh at the joints.
Unfortunately the Heavy Horse model itself is no longer available at this point in time. My large set of realistic textures and poses for it are now free to download in my shop for people who already own the Heavy Horse.
At around the same time Bloodsong brought out the Heavy Horse Daz released their Charger horse model. the charger borrowed geometry from the old P4 horse (which had originally been made by Daz’s parent company, Zygote) and although it sported a much better texture, tack and conforming mane it was seriously lacking in morphs and suffered from the same problems as the P4 horse in posing the neck for grazing. Conformation wise the model resembled an obese pony rather than a charger or any heavy horse that I know of. There is also a medieval type tack available at Daz but it is very basic and I do not know of any realistic textures for it.
I released a large set of poses that also includes a 30 frame animated gallop cycle for the charger horse here: Ultimate Charger. This package was originally available at Renderosity but is now exclusively sold here.
One useful fact about the P4 Horse, Daz Charger and the Heavy Horse is that poses can be used between then interchangeably with a few minor tweaks.