I’ve lost a lot of my life to answering questions about Image Fusion, Image blending, Visual Rendering and Multi Spectral Imaging.
I am talking about all the graphical gimmickry that manufacturers perform by blending visual and thermal images into a single image.
Whatever they call it, it doesn’t impress me. In my opinion it’s a great party trick but has little useful application in real world thermography (except it’s good for selling cameras).
Image fusion (or any similar blending function) has been a very successful marketing gimmick and it’s no wonder the manufacturers persist with this function because it sells cameras like hot cakes.
My main issue… distracting as much as adding
When visual aspects of the image are integrated into the thermal image you are interfering with the pattern of thermal intensity; plain and simple. You are no longer simply looking at thermal, but visual aspects and this can be very confusing. It’s not adding as much as distracting. Let’s look at some examples:
- Integrating visual aspects changes the intensity of colour observed in the thermal which can severely distort the information.
- The “viewer” tends pays more attention to the highly detailed visual aspect of the image, rather than the most important aspect: thermal.
- Limiting or resizing the thermal image over a visual background, disregards thermal content over visual. In many cases this means that similar or background components cannot be compared.
- Verification of surface material and condition (ie emissivity) is not possible when visible image is obstructed by thermal.