How would one go about making a thermal/heat vision? I presume it visually it would include post-process volumes?

Yes you need Post Process Volume. You create Thermal/heat vision using Material Editor and use it in Blendables inside PostProcessVolume.

Hi everyone,

I’m also trying to create a thermal vision (and other kind) like in this video : UE4 Splinter Cell style vision modes (Night, Thermal, Electricity) - YouTube
But I don’t understand the explanations in the comments :frowning:

Anyone please ?

You could most likely use post process effects to give a de-saturated screen and use Custom depth to add a “hot” glow to heat sources. You can read up on post process effects and using custom depth here.

Yes, I already read that and I managed to create a “vision mode” with the Custom Depth. But the object using it is the only one I can see and I want to be able to observe the rest of the world even in my special vision mode. I’m also not a specialist of material so I don’t really know how to create the right effect :frowning:

For example, in the link of the video above the author explains that :
“I render a greyscale/fresnel material and plug the output into a look up texture during the post processing pass.” & “render your objects with a grey fresnel material and in the post process material take the red value of the scene texture and plug it into a gradient lookup texture.”

I don’t understand what is a greyscale/fresnel material or a look up texture, when is exactly the post processing pass (is it a poss process on the player, the world … ?) and basically all the last sentence :confused:

Hi buddy,

This is a Fresnel Material. And this is LUT Texture. (LUT stands for LookUpTexture). And a grey fresnel material is basically multiply it with 0.5.

I made a quick example for you so if you want it, I can share :). Its not perfect though.

Thank you !
It will be perfect if you shared your work :smiley: I going to read right away your links about Fresnel and LUT but it will be very helpful to also have your example.
And can you explain how you use it on the camera ? If I’m not wrong, I have to change the “Material Domain” to “Post Process” and then had it to the part “Misc. => Blendables” of my character camera, right ? It’s just to be sure to understand the proper method ^^

Sure robi2005.

First you need Photoshop or similar image editing software to create Thermal effect LUT Texture. For example i created a Gradient Map and edited it to get some crappy Thermal Effect. :stuck_out_tongue:

And then import your LUT Texture in UE4. (IMPORTANT: Make sure you set LOD Group of LUT Texture to ColorLookupTable).

Now select your objects that you want to show in Thermal Effect and apply this simple material. You can include this network with your regular material.

NOTE: Now make sure you enable Render Custom Depth in those objects.

Finally create a new Material and set its domain to Post Process and create below setup.

Now you can assign this to a Post Process Volume Blendables and see the effect. :slight_smile:

Assigning them in gameplay is simple and can be done in various ways. Simplest way is get the Post Process Volume in Level Blueprint and change the Enabled property through an Input Key.

Hope you enjoy. :slight_smile:

Using the same method mentioned above you can create this effect too. Right now its simple but with noise textures, panners etc we can get a similar effect like in that video. :slight_smile:

So many thanks Ryan ! I try this and let you know if it’s working :wink:
It’s even better with the second effect :smiley:

It’s working exactly how I wanted :smiley: The vision is working even trough walls ^^ I just need to create a better material and LUT but I understand the method now !

Hi RyanJon2040,

I’m a teamate of Robi2005. He succeded in making a thermal vision, but it didn’t work in my project, we didn’t know why.
I did exactly what you said to, but actually, everything stay blue. No object has a different color. Have you got an idea why it doesn’t work?

Edit : We find the solution \o/
It was the value of the divide box in the post process material :slight_smile:

Hello there, I’ve been looking into getting a Thermal Vision mode Post Process Shader to work, I’ve been slowly learning about Post Process Materials and Shaders when I found this post to help get a jump start. However the effect achieved so far is still off from the effect I would like.

Now I’ve tried various things like cranking the output of the shader, because typically that works with normal materials making them glow, but it doesn’t seem to work here. I have also tried plugging some scene and pixel depth nodes into places to see what results I get, but to no avail.

I would really appreciate some pointers in the right direction, even the slightest tips can help.

Here is how mine is looking so far.

The results are quite nice however I would like it to be less sharp. It also has the issue of appearing strangely through other meshes, I am sure this is because of the custom depth being used.

I am aiming for more of a blurry look not unlike the image below which another person has done, but refuses to provide any assistance or pointers in the right direction. As you can see in their version, they have a really nice blurry look to them, and the characters fade into the blue-purple colour, and everything seems to be rendering in that purple colour, but also the characters behind the walls appear less intense and more blurry, So obviously they are working the shader based on depth from the player as well as some form of occlusion to reduce the intensity of the effect.

Also here is a picture of Splinter Cell Blacklist which has another nice effect of which it seems to incorporate some sorta scene depth and apply the blue colour on that it so that the further some things are, they darker blue they appear to simulate some natural ambient temperatures. It also has a less intense blur to the point that the normal material detail of the character can still be made out.


I’ve managed to get the depth fade colour to work properly through some experimentation.

I changed what was plugged into the B slot of the last Lerp node, what I have there now is this:

I am still looking for some help with the blurring of objects, is it possible to duplucate whats being rendered and blur and overlay it?

Have you considered instead of trying to blur the texture, setting the camera’s post-process effect when thermal vision is active?

Thank you for sharing the info, would there be a way to activate the PP effect with a key press?

Definitely you can toggle this effect based on Key press. You can add this post process effect in your Player Camera Manager class and toggle it on off from your character or controller class. This way you can have per character post process effects.

Thank you very much :slight_smile: I’ll have a play with this later today.

Happy to help :slight_smile:

I may need your help again LOL i am trying to replicate the material but i cannot find nodes for the following…


Any ideas how i get / make these nodes?