Interested in animal tracks or CSI?

The guide below will show you how to make and study a 3D model of a footprint. You can look into videos, tutorials and worksheets on our website to help as well.





Step One:

First, leave your footprint!

You can do this in any sand or dirt that is sufficiently soft (wet) to take your foot impression. Visit the beach, use a sandpit or corner of a flower bed, or fill a seed tray with sand/soil and use that. You might want to leave a bare footprint, walk in your shoes or even cut out a silhouette of dinosaur track. You can also make model of animal track fount in the park.

Step Two:

Place a ruler or other measure object to one side of the track.

For this to work, you must have a scale of some sort next to the subject.

Step Three:

Now, you will have to photographed your print.

Each picture needs to overlap with the next by about a third. keep the zoom fixed throughout and move your body! The more pictures you get, the better the 3D model will be – but the more computer power it will take.

Step Four:

Create one folder for each model you want to build, giving it a sensible and memorable name – perhaps including the location or time. Make sure the 20-30 pictures of the footprint are in the folder, not the fun ones of your friends or family.

Step Five:

Now, download a copy of DigTrace from our website.

It’s free, and you might want to download the manual at the same time, or look for one of our videos.

Warning. Not all computers will run the software. Details are on the website. If your computer won’t run the software, there are other ways of making a 3D model – see website for more details.

Step Six:

Oped DigTrace and select the ‘Create’ workbench.

Click on the folder icon and select the folder with your pictures in. The folder name will appear on the left – double click it and the individual pictures will appear in the middle column. Check them to ensure that no stray pictures are present.

Now click the 3D axis symbol. Your model will now build.

Be patient! Depending on the speed of the computer and the number of pictures, this can take anything from three to ten minutes. Take a break!

Step Seven:

When the model is build, click net to the file name and it will appear in main widow.

Now your model may be at a funny angle, and it will also need to be scaled. Click on the scaling icon. Select one end of your ruler/scale and place a landmark with the cursor. Now move to the other end and place another point. A dialogue box will appear. Type in the true distance here – if your ruler is 150mm then type this in. Now click ok.

Use this icon to rotate the model so that it faces the screen. If you now click save, your model will be saved to the project library at the bottom and can be moved into the other workbench. To find out more, read DigTrace manual.


Examples of shoe print photographs and model generated from 20 images.