Here are some previews of the default horse model that will be used to create all the horses in the game. This may not look like an important thing but in fact it is, as in the game horses play an important, special role. So, as an important asset, I’m dedicating and will dedicate a good deal of attention and effort to make sure it is good enough.
These previews are not in-game yet, but I felt I needed to check its look, its likeness and all in a context that looked like final.
To be honest, I don’t think I will do it again. Next time I will make this kind of look dev inside of the engine, with the actual materials, material instances and textures that will be used in the game. For practical reasons, tight schedules etc.
I tested the horse anatomy, the play of shadows and lighting over its body features with three coats that are more or less representative of the main shading behaviors we see on real horses. I used dapple gray, as representative of coats that go from bright white to gray, with spotted coats among them. I also used chestnut to represent all those common coats not too dark or too bright, and generally in earth tones. And a dark brown to represent the also common coats from brown to jet black. I took the time to do this because empirically, from observations I made since I was a kid making equestrian sports, jumping on horses and drawing them during the intervals in the classes, the anatomy features, the muscles, bones etc, are shaded very differently depending on a coat being brighter or darker, more metallic or more matte. The specular highlights (anisotropic, by the way, and directly linked to the direction the fur flows in a given body part, as with any furry animal) play a very important part on this. Maybe also the coats dominated by white have a stronger scattering of light inside each hair – in other words: are more translucent. Some white arabian horses, when you see them in front of you, have a coat that seems to be more “glowing”, a subtle diffuse glow. But maybe this is just an impression.