TNV – Thermal Night Vision

Is a custom implementation of world famous Visual Effects like in the “Predator vs Alien” movie and game series. To be useful for other developers it is available for Unity 3d in the Asset Store

TNV - Thermal Night

How Thermal Imaging Works

In order to properly implement thermal imaging video, I had to develop a decent understanding of what it was and how it worked. The electromagnetic spectrum consists of several sections including (in order of wavelength) radio, microwave, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma rays.

There are basically three ways for a camera to “see in the dark”. Light amplification is the most commonly used method. It is really just the gain on a camera and tells the camera to increase the amount of visible light it is collecting when the light source is faint. Also common on consumer camcorders is the nightshot feature, which lights the area in front of the camera with infrared light which can’t be seen by human eyes, but which the camera can see. It then converts what it sees into video in the same way it normally would. These images tend to be pretty desaturated with a tint of green. Think Blair Witch Project, and you’ll probably have the right idea.

That leaves thermal imaging, which uses cameras that do not operate with CCDs (charge-coupled device). Instead most thermal cameras use a concept called FLIR (forward-looking infrared) that captures thermal radiation and creates an image based on temperatures. These black and white images are then assigned color values and our easily recognizable thermal images are created. FLIR isn’t the only thermal radiation system, but I’m guessing it’s the most common, and the one I studied to understand the process.

Night Vision was even simpler. Green color and several efficient operations on OpenGL pipeline and here is what we got. You can do the same or grab it directly from Asset Store.

Third modification of the effects concept is an EM Vision which allows to spot Xenomorph Aliens in imagined worlds.

In the gameplay Humans can be spotted by a traditional Thermal Vision. Perfect solution to discover hidden warm-blooded humanoids.


1. How to use it?

– Make a copy of example scene and rename it. Left one of them as a backup.
– Step by step delete from the scene everything you don’t need. Check if it still works frequently.
– When there is no redundant objects anymore make a Prefab from left objects and transfer to your main scene.
– Merge cameras from the prefab and your scene as you desire.

2. Why the disk space size is so big?

93% (1.3 gb) of package weight is an example content (3d models and textures) which is not necessary should be used in your project. It is dedicated to maintain Demo scene work. The size of core functionality is a couple of text files (Shaders).

Good luck and have a Happy coding,
Sincerely yours GigaNeo.

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