The Concepts of Tracking

Tracking Concepts” (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.  This includes; methods, definitions, track structures, body movements, how to find and read both tracks and trails, and illustrations of the tracks of specific animal species, and all the layers involved.


(as used here) … Any aspect of reading the tracks and trail of any being or object, across any surface, and through time; including methods, definitions, track structures, sign, and movements.

Foot Movements – How the foot moves when approaching, contacting, leaving the ground

How to Find Tracks – Some tracks hard to see? … There are ways to reveal them

How to Read Tracks (and trails) – The problem isn’t lack of information

        Substrate Movement – The earth: soil, sand and a whole lot more, respond to the energy of, and forces exerted by the foot

Species – Tracks of distinct species and track features unique to them

Track Features – The story is left in the details

Trails – Putting the all the layers together


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Initial Idea: The Translucent Foot

The Goal:  Create and animate a semi-visible foot making a track, and create a video clip.

This early example uses animation to control the foot, with Rigid Body physics controlling the formation of the track (the interactions between sand objects and the foot surface).

(Human foot mesh from


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Links to other pages …

Page: Foot Movements …
Canine Claw Tip Leaves Track in Fine Sand

Page: How To Find and See Tracks …
Controlling Lighting to Increase Visibility of Tracks
Finding the Next Track
Dust Compressions (Dull on Shiny by Canine Toe Pad)
Track on ‘Bare’ Rock (Red Fox Front Foot)
Using Stone Rolls to Find Tracks
The Tracking Stick

Page: How To Read Tracks …
Simple Tire Track and Direction of Travel
True Track (Canine Toe Pad)

Page: Species …
Deer Foot – One Walking Step
Red Fox Front and Rear Feet – Side Trot

Page: Track Features …
Pressure Against the Track Wall (Canine Toe Pad)
Simple ? Wave
The Ridge Between Canine Front Toes
The Layer of Sand in Contact With The Foot

Page: Trails …
The Human Trail


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