The Concepts of Tracking

Tracking Concept“: (as used here)  Any aspect of reading the tracks and trail of any being or object through time, and across any surface that will hold a track. The concepts include; body and substrate movements, definitions, methods, how to find and read both tracks and trails, the tracks of specific species, the influences of all the layers involved, signs, substrate types, and track structures.

Initial Idea:  Solve the first problem, the opaque foot.

The Goal: Create a scene with ground, sand objects, and a 3-D translucent foot.  Animate the foot for one un-hurried walking step on level ground.  Set the scene up so the foot creates a track by interacting with the sand objects in a way as close to “real-world” as possible, with the laws of physics applied.  Create a video clip from this animation.

In this clip animation controls the movement of the foot, while Rigid Body physics controls the sand objects’ interaction with the ground, each other, and the foot … and so the formation of the track.

(Human foot mesh from

If you are a beginning tracker:


Convenience nurtures persistence: even a square yard of cleared and fluffed soil in your back yard, a track box with damp sand, or the perspective-altering sit spot facilitate daily dirt time.

Dirt time: the single most effective way to hone tracking skills.

Forget worrying about how good a tracker you may be: comparisons loke that may be good motivation at the beginning, after that they only get in the way.  

Rubbing shoulders: with other trackers. The job is to learn and improve skills, not worry.


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