Rather than track by means of conventional detective skills
, the character uses something akin to Aura Vision
to track the footsteps of their prey. Even on surfaces or terrain that would never show their passing otherwise, or where their tracks would disappear into those of a crowd. The Empath
may even be able to tell the emotional and physical condition of the person being tracked by the color of their footprints.
Robots and characters/animals with Super Senses
can get in on this too by using infrared sight to track the heat left in their prey's footsteps. Here the downside is that in extremely hot environments it's useless, or if too much time passes.
This is usually because of the Rule of Perception
: if the trail didn't light up, it wouldn't be visible to the audience
. The Scarily Competent Tracker
usually has their tracking and/or Super Senses
depicted this way.
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- In a deleted scene in TRON: Legacy, Rinzler uses this to determine the heroes fled on a Light Train.
- In the Discworld novels, Angua in her wolf shape sees the world through a sort of synaesthesia: smells show up as different trails of colors, which she then follows.
Live Action Television
- The TV series V (the eighties version) had a Visitor use this technology in a fold-down eyepatch to track La Résistance members.
- Young Justice has the villain Cheshire have an infrared camera inside her mask.
- In TRON: Uprising, Dyson is able to create fluorescent footprints just like Rinzler. Which is a brilliant bit of an homage considering his former boss Tron becomes Rinzler
- In King of the Hill episode The Exterminator, Dale finds a rat by detecting urine trail through a bright light.
- Taken Up to Eleven with Captaine DuBois of the third Madagascar film, who not only can see the tracks of animals but colorful afterimages of their whole bodies as they re-enact their last movements.
- Used in the 1969 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Kooky Space Kook."
- In the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror segment, the town holds a meeting regarding pranksters who have been pulling tricks through a magic stopwatch. Mayor Quimby reveals he covered the room with ultraviolet powder to find out the culprits and turns off the light to reveal glowing footprints leading to Bart and Milhouse.
- When walking or driving, you actually warm up the ground a little bit as you pass by. An infrared camera can actually pick this up. Googling for infrared footprints can get you a lot of examples.