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Posted: 11/3/2015 7:20:40 PM EST
Thermal Imaging and Post Processing

I've been on a thermal imaging kick lately. I've been using my OTSX and ThOR 5X to snap images of wildlife, dead pigs, random stuff, and other things that look even more cool that I can't share on the internet. (sorry)

I stumbled upon a little app called snapseed that lets you do all sorts of neat looking image processing. It turns out it makes some really great effects when combined with thermal imagery.

Examples.

Here's an ugly pig.



Here's some hot chick, with guns and stuff.






Some of the effects are fairly practical. Pretty much all of the thermals we use do some form or another of post processing on the image, but most of it is just the standard stuff available from a FLIR Tau or whatever core is in use. There is no reason why further stuff isn't being done, or more of what is available in the core isn't used. (I think FLIR calls it dynamic DDE)
I *think* this is being used pretty heavy in the IR Defense line of thermals, but I don't know for sure. But you can make a given image much more useful to the human eye with a little post processing. Hopefully we will see more of this in future scopes

Here are some examples.



Original Image taken with OTS-X, 640 imager in black hot. Pretty good image. This was taken about 3 hours after sundown.




Edited in snapseed. I added 100% Ambiance, Shadows, and Structure. Probably overboard, but I wanted to really show what it does.
Noise is very much increased, but the ability to quickly detect things skyrockets. Notice the people in the street.






Again, OTS-X. Alyssa is in the foreground giving the thumbs up at some idiot pigs who walked out while we were poking around at some of their dead buddies in a field.
The magnifcation of this thing is a little less than 1X so you can barely see the pigs out there. Also the conditions and scene content make the background treeline and power lines very difficult to see.




Snapseed version, same settings as above. Again, lots and lots of added noise, but those pigs POP out in the scene.
Also note how Alyssas face and the background stuff has much more contrast.




Here is one taken with a 5X ThOR. I get the feeling that this is the least sensative of the scopes I own, but maybe it is just that the magnification that makes it so.
Anyway, the images tend to look a little washed out when compared to the OTS-X and my 2.5X ThOR.




Here is the same image as above with the same snapseed settings. Notice the black halo around the yotes that really makes them pop out in the scene. Noise is increased but so is the general detail of the image.




Same image as above but with only the Structure setting in snapseed set to 100%. No change to Ambiance or Shadows.
This looks really similar to what I see from the recent IR Defense screenshots I saw UNV posting.




So what are the downsides?
Possibly more latency between reality and screen display. No fun when shooting moving targets, but given the small size of the images we are dealing with, this can be done so fast that it just may not matter.
Possibly more false positive detection. The added noise may make a hot clump of dirt look more like a pig than it really should. Especially if the noise effect makes it appear to wiggle or shimmer.
False temperature signatures. See the cold halo around the coyotes? It doesn't exist. Do we care? Probably not.

Hopefully more scopes give us more access to the internal processing options that exist on the cores, or provide some post processing options. The risk is that you confuse the hell out of a customer with too many confusing options. Most people just want to turn it on and shoot stuff, but some of us nerds like to tinker.

Link Posted: 11/3/2015 9:36:42 PM EST
Been a while since I posted here (formerly as XCQTR).

Photoshop will do just as well. If you understand histogram, etc. The ability to select zone of algorithm application will also help. A good example is that if you crop out the child and define the processing zone as the pig, you can actually "remap" the histogram to get more details.
Link Posted: 11/3/2015 10:37:21 PM EST
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Originally Posted By toovira2:
Been a while since I posted here (formerly as XCQTR).

Photoshop will do just as well. If you understand histogram, etc. The ability to select zone of algorithm application will also help. A good example is that if you crop out the child and define the processing zone as the pig, you can actually "remap" the histogram to get more details.
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Yeah, you can do this in the Tau as well, it allows you to define what area you want the histogram to work with.
You can also kind of achieve a similar affect by looking at more or less sky, or putting your hand into the picture part way.
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