Equine Locomotion - Horse Motion Capture Data

Horse Locomotion

Horse Movement & Motion Capture Data

Home > Uses, History, & Frequently Asked Questions


Our horse motion capture data and 3D models are already in use in a number of AAA video games, feature films, and TV documentaries. The data is in a file format call FBX which was originally designed by Kaydara (now Autodesk) for their product FilmBox (now MotionBuilder). This format is compatible with most major 3D animation applications including Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, and Cinema 4D. Other format can be provided on request. We can supply not only the data, but a fully skinned and rigged 3D model of a horse with the data applied, or if you have already developed your own horse model, we provide a service to map our motion capture data onto your rigs.

The Movies & Poster / Images can be used for rotoscoping your own animations. This is a technique where the image sequences are used as background reference plates and you pose your own model on top (frame by frame) to mimic the horse in the background plates. We provide left side, front, top and 3d perspective sequences for this type of rotoscoping. Alternatively you can use the Image Grids or Strips to learn more about and to compare the different types of horse gaits (see below).

Currently we have a wide range of clients using this data including film, games, medical, industrial, and military. We are always on the look out for new and interesting applications, so please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further. We work with a number of leading animal trainers and stunt coordinators and are able to record new data on request.



Etienne Jules Marey - 5th March 1830 to 15th May 1904

Etienne Jules Marey

Marey, not the Lumière brothers, is considered by many (including us) as the true father of cine-photography. He started his career as an assistant surgeon in 1855 where he specialised in human and animal physiology. In 1867 he became the Professor of Natural History. In 1887 he invented the "chronophotograph" which was the fore-runner to the modern cinematography cameras, and in 1894 he invented the first slow motion camera capable of 700 frames per second.



Marey - Cat Falling - Turning Over

Marey - Cat Falling - Turning Over 2
Cat Falling - Turning Over

Marey - Human Motion Capture
Marey - Human Motion Capture 2
Human Running



Eadweard Muybridge - 9th April 1830 to 8th May 1904

Eadweard Muybridge

Edward James Muggeridge was born in Kingston Upon Thames, an area said to be associated with the coronation of Saxon kings. In his early twenties he went to live in America and took on a new name which he considered to be the Anglo Saxon equivalent to his own. He gained a reputation for his landscape photography using the collodion (or wet plate) process. During the '60s & '70s he made over 2000 pictures on 20x24" negatives.

In 1872 Muybridge, aged 42, fell in love with Flora Shallcross Stode, aged 21, in San Francisco. Flora was already a divorcee, and after a short courtship married Muybridge. In 1874, Flora gave birth to a son, Floredo. Muybridge naturally assumed that the son was his, however Flora was having an affair with a local named Harry Larkyns. Floredo was Larkyns' son. On 17th October 1874, Muybridge having discovered the deception shot Larkyns dead during a social event. He was immediately jailed and the murder trial commenced in February 1875. His lawyer, Wirt Pendegast, defended his client by claiming diminished responsibility due to a head injury that Muybridge sustained from riding a stagecoach from New York to San Francisco in 1860. The jury acquitted Muybridge but he was disgraced in San Francisco and soon after left for Panama and Central America.

Muybridge - Volcano Quetzeltenango - Guatemala 1875

Volcano Quetzeltenango - Guatemala 1875

Born one month after Marey and dying just 7 days before, Marey and Muybridge were colleagues, friends, and competitors. At about the same time as Marey, Muybridge began his studies of human and animal movement, in particular horses. In 1872 (the year he met Flora) the governor of California, Leland Stanford, heard about Muybridge's work, and owning a number of race horses, commissioned Muybridge to investigate a bet that he had with a friend as to whether all four feet come off the ground at the same time when a horse is trotting. By the mid 1870s the length of time for photographic exposures had significantly reduced, however it would take another five years to develop into a workable solution for this challenge. In 1877 Muybridge settles the bet with a single photographic plate showing Occident, Stanford's own racehorse, with all feet in the air. On the 19th June 1878 he took another of Stanfords horses, Sallie Gardner, to the Palo Alto race track where Muybridge has set up 24 cameras triggered by tripwires across the course which the horse broke as it galloped past. It not only proved Stanford correct in his bet for trotting but also for galloping, and contradicted painters and sculptors that had to this date always depicted the suspension stage of a gallop gait with all four legs outstretched, like a rocking horse, where as in fact the were all tucked up under the belly. This caused some considerable controversy, but eventually became accepted.

Muybridge - Horse In Motion 1878

Galloping Horse

Following from his extensive horse studies, Muybridge in 1884 -1885 entered into a long series of documentation's of human motions, some more scientific in nature than others.

Muybridge - Man Climbing Stairs 1884
Man Climbing Stairs


Muybridge - Man Throwing Blow 1884
Man Throwing a Blow

Muybridge - Two Men Wrestling

2 Men Wrestling

Muybridge - Lady Walking Throwing Handkerchief Over Shoulders
Lady Walking Throwing a Handkerchief Over Shoulders

Muybridge - Bucket of Water Over Lady's Head
Bucket of Water Thrown Over Lady's Head

In 1878, Scientific American published some of Muybridge's sequences and suggested that readers could cut them out and place them on a Zeotrope so that the illusion of movement might be re-created. This encouraged Muybridge to invent the Zoopraxiscope, one of the first movie projectors.







Optical Motion Capture

Optical Motion Capture is the process of using (multiple) video cameras to simultaneously record and measure the movement of the position of sensors placed on an object or animal over time. In our situation, we used multiple cameras placed around the horse on a treadmill, and put semispherical reflective markers on the horses skin at strategic points near joint centres. We then took those points in 3D space and used them to calculate a representation of the horses internal skeleton's motion.

Here is a human example:

Mocap 1Mocap 2Mocap 3Mocap 4

Once we have the skeleton, we apply that data to the horses skin.



Frequently Asked Questions

What frame rate is the data recorded at?
120 frames per second.

What frame rate are the movies?
30 frames per second.

Why have you recorded the transitions?
Each gait of a horse is different "beat" hence the horse need to change from one to another. We have recorded this data as well so that you can have accurate and true representation of what a real horse does during this shifting of gait.

What are the terms and conditions of purchasing the movies and poster images?
Non commercial, non distribution, non exclusive, all rights reserved. Special educations licenses may be given. Please contact us directly for more information.

What are the terms and conditions of acquire a license for using the Motion Capture Data & Models?
Non distribution, non exclusive, all rights reserved. Please complete the data request form for more information.

Can you record more data?

How much does that cost?
For more information please either use the forms on the Treadmill and Freestyle pages, or feel free to contact us via our parent company Take4D Ltd.