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VWN Product Reviews: Animals in Motion

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Animals in Motion is a bulky hardcover book featuring 3,919 photographs of all manner of quadrupeds in motion. True-action shots cover 34 different animals and birds in 132 characteristic motions. Horses, goats, cats, gnus, eagles, gazelles, sloths, camels, many others shown walking, running, flying, leaping, almost a complete range of natural motions.

Despite the fact that most of us see our four-legged friends walking around every day, most of us apparently still don't know how they do it. This book, the contents of which first being published 120 years ago, as the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge. It has become the definitive authority on the subject, and an invaluable animator?s aid.



The above public domain image was assembled from Muybridge?s detailed photographs, and appears in photographic form in two of the books, of which this is one. It showcases swiftly and clearly how the photos can be used to help create animation sequences frame by frame, or as a guide for robotic quadrupeds, or even dynamic motion systems.

All four-legged animals step with their left hind leg followed by their left foreleg. Then they step with their right hind leg followed by the right foreleg, and so on. Animals differ from one another only in the timing of that stepping.

The reason that manner of walking is so universal, is that it provides the maximum static stability. In other words, when walking slowly, a horse's or dog's body is supported at all times by three feet on the ground, which form a triangle. The closer their centre of mass is to the centre of those three points, the more stable they will be.

A second version of the book also exists.

Horses and Other Animals in Motion: 45 Classic Photographic Sequences

This is essentially the cut-down, paperback quick reference version of Animals in Motion, and is worthy of consideration, for use on the move, or away from your reference collection.

 

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