gimbal lock

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gimbal lock (countable and uncountable, plural gimbal locks)

  1. The loss of one degree of freedom in the three-dimensional rotational movement of a three-gimbal mechanism, which occurs when the axes of two of the three gimbals are driven into a parallel configuration, so that the system's rotational movement becomes two-dimensional (and necessarily remains so until an appropriate force is applied); the equivalent situation in a simulation of rotational movement, when the mathematical model uses Euler angles (representing pitch, yaw and roll) or their equivalent.
    • 2005, Jonny Gorden, LightWave 3D 8 Cartoon Character Creation, Volume 2: Rigging and Animation, Wordware Publishing, page 126:
      Gimbal lock occurs when the pitch nears 90° or 270°, causing the bank and heading to lie along the same plane. This limits the item to only two rotation axes, as the bank and heading effectively do the same thing.
    • 2010, S. Nagabhushana, L. K. Sudha, Aircraft Instrumentation and Systems, I. K. International Publishing House, page 249,
      Such a strap down system reduces the cost, eliminates gimbals and associated gimbal locks, and enhances the reliability (MTBF) by having no moving elements.
    • 2012, Eric Luhta, Kenny Roy, How to Cheat in Maya 2012: Tools and Techniques for Character Animation[1], Elsevier (Focal Press), page 138:
      EVERY ANIMATOR CAN TELL YOU what gimbal lock does to their animations: during playback arms suddenly go crazy, wrists can spin like a top, heads can go exorcist on you.


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