The Concepts of Tracking

As used here…

Any aspect of reading the tracks and trail …

Of any being or object on …

Or 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 … persistence yields success, especially if you learn to do nothing. So, visited daily, a square yard of cleared and fluffed soil in your back yard, a track box with damp sand, or the perspective-altering sit spot, all facilitated by daily dirt time, can teach what matters.

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

“How good are you?” Those destructive words are also blinders – don’t get sucked in. At the beginning comparisons like that may be good motivation. After, they only use up brain power needed for tracking. The job is to learn, employ, and improve your skills.

Absorbing Knowledge: Every chance you get, rub shoulders with other trackers.



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