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I've created a simple character mesh and also an armature. The armature has IK bones for the legs, but that's it.

Leg regular pose

This is the mesh in normal pose.

enter image description here

This is the mesh after I lift the bottom bone to make it look like the character is taking a step. Notice how the mesh deforms weirdly. Also, the pole bones that control which way the IK bends has deform off if you're wondering. (The bones that aren't connected to the others in the pictures)

Is there a way to make the mesh legs look more normal when taking a step?

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I found that I just needed to add more subdivisions around the spot of the knee to allow the bone to smoothly deform the mesh.

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