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"I can only work on fine, clear days. If I work in the rain, the water can be seen on my head and shoulders. In a fog, you can see me — like a bubble. In smoky cities, the soot settles on me until you can see a dark outline. You must always be near at hand to wipe off my feet. Even dirt between my fingernails would give me away. "
Jack Griffin, The Invisible Man (1933)

There's all sorts of ways to see someone or something with Invisibility.

See-Thru Specs is a Sub-Trope. See also Invisible Writing, Touch the Intangible, and Invisibility with Drawbacks. Compare Invisibility Flicker, for when the invisible entity makes itself visible through some flaw with their invisibility, and Visible Invisibility, where the invisible character is visible to the audience. Contrast Anti-True Sight.

Has nothing to with doing the impossible or fighting the power.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi in Ayakashi Triangle are Invisible to Normals, but Tanumaro can release a vapor spray that makes them visible to everyone.
  • In Dragon Ball, Yamcha defeats the Invisible Man after the Turtle Hermit (aka Master Roshi) has a nosebleed that spills all over the Invisible Man. In a Bowdlerised version, Master Roshi instead dumps tomato soup all over the Invisible Man.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, Gohan finds the invisible warrior Gamisaras by blasting the ground and getting him covered with dust. In a humorous Call-Back to the incident from Dragon Ball, Master Roshi suggested Gohan get a nosebleed and cover him with the blood, but Gohan didn't want to.
  • This is part of Nanami's True Sight package in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
  • In Gantz, the hunters get controllers with the ability to turn their user invisible by "changing their frequency". Those who are also invisible and thus on the same frequency can see each other. The vampires carry with themselves special glasses and contacts with which they can see through the camouflage. Also some of the aliens, for example the Nurarihyon, can see the invisible without any sort of equipment at all.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: it's well-established that thermoptic camouflage is foiled by water. So how does the Major deal with the cloaked Umibozu troops? She turns on the fire sprinklers.
  • In Gundam Build Fighters, Sei equips the Build Strike's head vulcans with "paintball" rounds, which Reiji uses to mark the Qubeley Papillon's clear plastic Attack Drones.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Polnareff pulls this off against Vanilla Ice in their fight. Due to Ice's Stand making him entirely invisible while destroying anything in his path, Polnareff disperses Iggy's sand through the room to achieve a similar effect and find Ice's path.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: When Josuke and Joseph find a baby that is invisible due to her Stand, they put makeup and clothes on her to keep track of where she is.
    • Stone Ocean: The first half of the battle with Sports Maxx shows the zombies created by his Stand as being completely invisible, even to the audience; Jolyne managed to expose the alligator zombie about to maul her after she splashed blood on its face. The second half of the fight does away with this and depicts the zombies as translucent to the audience, but still completely invisible to the main characters.
  • One Piece: During the Thriller Bark arc, Sanji counters Absalom's first attempt to use invisibility to get away by tossing salt pellets around himself, the impact showing where Absalom was.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Pokémon Hunter J has special infrared goggles to detect invisible Pokémon, as demonstrated on a Gardevoir she was tasked to find for her clients in "Mutiny in the Bounty!" when it used Teleport.
  • SD Gundam Force:
    • When the heroes go to Lacroa, Captain Gundam is able to use his scanner to see things that are invisible, such as hidden paths, and the Pawn Leos when they use magic to hide themselves.
    • When the Cobra Ninja Force turn invisible to attack Bakunetsumaru, Genkimaru starts flinging mud balls around, revealing the ninja with each one that hits.
  • In Sgt. Frog, the Keronians' anti-barrier makes them invisible to humans, but they also have control over who can see them. In rare cases, a person is able to see them regardless.
  • Ryoutaro, the male lead of Suki × Suki, is the one and only person who can see Touka Aizuki when she's using her invisibility powers. This would not be a problem in itself, except Touka is unaware of this fact and uses her invisibility to be close to him when she's otherwise too tsundere to speak to him any way except rudely.
  • Time Stop Hero: Gina Lizard and Amidala Keen cheat in a volleyball game by having a third teammate turn invisible to interfere with the ball. Kuzuno Sekai points out the footprints on the sand and splashes the invisible girl with oil, getting Gina and Amidala disqualified.

    Comic Books 
  • Mark Waid's run of the Fantastic Four had Reed explain that Sue can still see what she makes invisible because her eyes can perceive variations in non-visible cosmic wavelengths that constantly bathe everything, just without any color perception.
  • For reasons never fully explained, The Incredible Hulk can see Doctor Strange even when he (Strange) is only appearing by astral projection. Strange used this to their advantage in the days of The Defenders, when he could act as a kind of "mission control" for the green brute.
  • Griffin's invisibility in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was pretty easy to defeat. Mina Murray famously revealed him at the girls' school in Edmonton by throwing a bucket of whitewash onto him. Also, Mr. Hyde's range of vision extends into the infrared, with which he could see Griffin (Kevin O'Neill's art depicts it resembling a thermal image). This property of Hyde's proves to be Griffin's undoing in the second volume.
  • Wonder Woman has a combination of Super-Senses and low-level Psychic Powers that have been allowing her to see the invisible since the Golden Age. She can see specters that are messing with reality from other planes and can fight anyone trying to attack her regardless of their visibility due to her much better senses of hearing than an average human. This came in handy when she was temporarily blinded in Wonder Woman (1987) as well, since she could still fight better than most of the Justice League.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Blake and Guzma have a Pokémon battle between Blake's Haunter, Shade, and Guzma's Golisopod. Shade uses his illusion powers to conceal himself. Guzma counters by having Golisopod use Rain Dance to make it rain, as the falling rain reveals his form.
  • In Deku the Warcrafted, invisible Hagakure Toru gets a ring that makes her visible - allowing her to see her own reflection for the first time in her life.
  • In Heart of Ashes, Smaug re-encounters Bilbo Baggins who's wearing the One Ring. The dragon finds the invisible hobbit by throwing dirt all over him.
  • Honoka's Bizarre Adventure: Stands, as in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, are Invisible to Normals and cannot be caught by cameras. Hayato Kawajiri's Stand [Violent Pornography] allows him to make any video recording of Stands visible to both Stand users and non-Stand users. The Yoshida Conglomerate plans to use this to expose Stands to the public through the Love Live event.
  • In My Hero Playthrough, Izuku's Clairvoyance lets him see the invisible Hagakure Toru. It comes as quite a shock to him, considering her Hero costume.
  • In the crossover fanfic Ranma vs. Predator (by Jason Wages), wearing Mousse's coke-bottle glasses happens to negate a Predator's Invisibility Cloak, as Shampoo serendipitously finds out in a bout of Glasses Curiosity.
  • Reapers Among Fairies: Since the Kurosaki family all have spiritual awareness, they can always see the ghost of Mavis Vermillion even when she makes herself invisible.
  • Redemption of a Betrayer: Maria and Nicolas are being attacked by Colt who turns invisible. Maria finds Colt by using her powers to cover the area with snow, allowing them to see his footprints.
  • In A Thing of Vikings, you can find an invisible Changewing by dumping something on them. Eret did this as a prank he played on Skuggi by dumping flour on him while he was invisible.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Incredibles:
    • In the first film, one mook finds an invisible Violet by throwing dust and watching for the cloud to be disrupted by a body.
    • In Incredibles 2, invisible Violet accidentally leaves behind soiled footprints in the carpet which makes it easy for Voyd to follow her. During their fight, Voyd sprays foam from a fire extinguisher to make Violet visible.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Though played with, this trope is used in Daredevil (2003). The blind Daredevil is in a final confrontation with the Kingpin and can't track him as normal to fight. In a moment of inspiration, Daredevil triggers the room's sprinkler system, his enhanced hearing catches the sound of the water on Kingpin's body which creates a "visible" form for him to fight.
  • Firebase: After being attacked by the River God, the US soldiers call down an airstrike to Kill It with Fire, only to see the River God standing unaffected as napalm sticks to its invisible surface. CIA operative Palmer intends to use this to reveal the River God's location so it can be killed with more effective weapons.
  • In Forbidden Planet, the invisible monster's tracks appear as it walks towards the spaceship, and its shape is later rendered distinguishable by light-sparks when it returns and is caught in an energy fence.
  • In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Scarlett uses a cloaking device to turn invisible. The Baroness finds her by splashing motor oil on her.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is leaving the castle under his invisibility cloak to try and sneak into Hogsmeade. Fred and George spot him by his footprints in the snow.
  • The invisibility process in Hollow Man doesn't stop the subjects from showing up on thermal cameras. The villain Sebastian is also accidentally revealed just prior to an attack by the smoke from his victim's cigarette. In the climax, the heroes throw around paint to try and make him visible, or at least make sure his footprints show up. The page image comes from when a blood bag is thrown at Sebastian (and despite it being a quite sticky liquid, he manages to clean himself for the next scene just by wiping himself with the thrower's clothes).
  • In The Invisible Man (2020), the film's first Jump Scare and Wham Shot occurs when Cecilia, after slowly realizing that something is following her, climbs up the ladder to the attic, and throws paint on the ladder, revealing there is an invisible man right behind her.
  • It Follows has a demon stalking its latest victim, Jay, that is invisible to everyone except its current target. Jay lures the demon to a private swimming pool with her friends waiting outside the water. As soon as the demon gets in the water, her friends can see it. However, the demon dives underwater, which negates the advantage. Also, at one point, her friends throw a blanket over the demon so they can tell where it is.
  • Skinner from the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wears white makeup so people can see his face. He also wears clothes, of course.
    • Another invisible man (Sanderson Reed, actually) becomes partially visible when covered in dust. Also, Skinner later gets burned with a flamethrower, showing charred skin.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: While Frodo's wearing the One Ring on Mount Doom he leaves visible footprints in the volcanic ash. Which allows Gollum to jump on top of him and bite his finger off.
  • Memoirs of an Invisible Man shows that dirt attaches itself to Nick's body, particularly his feet as he walks. When he has to pass up as a normal person, his girlfriend decides to cover his face in skin tone makeup (along with disguising invisible parts of him with things such as dentures).
  • In the Predator movies, the title creature's invisibility device shorts out when immersed in water.
  • In Push, a building is psychically hidden so no clairvoyants can see where it is and what will happen inside. The building is found when one of these Watchers looks into the future, draws everything she can see, then compares it to the skyline. The building that is hidden is the only one that isn't in her drawing.
  • In Shin Ultraman, the kaiju Neronga perpetually suffers this to the point that the characters outright ask what the point of its invisibility is. Justified as Neronga's invisibility was never meant to hide it, it was intended as a defense against light and energy-based weapons.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Admiral Kirk takes notice of a strange distortion on the viewscreen as they get close to the Genesis Planet, but they don't realize it's a Bird-of-Prey until it decloaks.
    • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, to hunt down the cloaked Bird-of-Prey kicking their ass, Spock and McCoy rig a photon torpedo to track down the plasma intake of the ship (as Uhura points out, "Thing's gotta have a tailpipe."). Once the torpedo strikes home, the Enterprise and Excelsior rain torpedoes until it blows up.
      Sulu: Target that explosion and fire.
    • Inverted in Star Trek: Generations: They can plainly see the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, but they are too badly damaged to muster enough firepower to penetrate the enemy's Deflector Shields. So they exploit a design flaw in the Klingon ship and force it to cloak. Remember that in Star Trek, cloaked ships are unable to use shields or weapons. Once it's cloaked, they target where they know it to be, and destroy it in one shot.
    • In Star Trek: Nemesis, Geordi tries this to spot Shinzon's ship, the Scimitar, but fails. The Scimitar's cloak is perfect and doesn't leave any tachyon emissions or residual antiprotons, which were previous methods of revealing cloaking devices. The ship is also capable of firing when cloaked, which does give away its position allowing the Enterprise to shoot back; but since it can also use its shields while cloaked this doesn't really matter, and it's soon completely invisible again. It takes Troi using her telepathic powers to track the Scimitar.

  • Artemis Fowl:
    • Fairies can naturally shield themselves from human perception by "vibrating too fast to see". The Villain Protagonist gets around this by using cameras with a super high frame-rate. The fairies also have technology that lets them see each other, which Artemis also exploits.
    • In the fourth book, Opal Koboi has a ship that is invisible to sensors and the naked eye. The heroes manage to find it by setting the sensors to detect air and the ship is the only place where no air can be found.
  • Book of Imaginary Beings: Chonchóns are flying heads that are invisible to most people, but can be seen by wizards.
  • Ciaphas Cain deals with an invisible psyker-assassin (who wasn't much good at either) by getting near Jurgen's Anti-Magic field.
  • In the novelisation of the Doctor Who serial "The Daleks' Master Plan", the Doctor and his companions, on a planet inhabited by invisible monsters, throw one into a swamp to render it visible. The scene isn't present in the original serial.
  • In The Dresden Files, wizards who have their mundane senses frustrated can use their Sight to see someone or something's true form, regardless of any veils or invisibility tricks. The downside of this is that they can never forget this true image, which is the last thing you want if you catch a glimpse of an Eldritch Abomination. In Turn Coat, Harry thinks he's being tracked and uses his Sight to look for his tail. When he wakes up a minute later, he's crashed his car. He thinks about what he saw and blacks out again, recovers, tries to walk away from the wreck, has another careless thought, and comes to as a gibbering mess on the sidewalk. Several books later he's still dealing with the aftereffects of this mentally-scarring encounter, and has managed to bring the horror levels down so that thinking about it only causes a skip in his speech.
  • Gone: Gaia has the ability to copy everyone's powers, so upon realizing that this includes Bug's invisibility power, people in the FAYZ prepare paint to splash at her to make her visible.
  • In Lisa Shearin's The Grendel Affair, the heroine, who has True Sight, is the only person who can see the titular Grendel attacking SPI's base because it's wearing a cloaking device. So she gets a paintball gun and tags the creature, at which point her more conventionally armed allies attack the paint.
  • Harry Potter: There several ways in which Invisibility Cloaks can be thwarted. The ability of dementors to sense people is not impaired by invisibility cloaks. Moody's magical eye can see through invisibility cloaks. A person wearing an invisibility cloak still shows up on the Marauder's Map. Cats, and Mrs. Norris in particular, may or may not be able to see through invisibility cloaks. It's also possible, though difficult, for wizards to learn to do this on their own, as Dumbledore demonstrates. There are also some mundane constraints, such as the fact that the wearer remains solid, remains capable of making noise, etc. Amusingly, later in the series the main characters' biggest trouble with the cloak is that they've all grown and they don't fit under it as well.
  • Journey to Chaos: Defying this trope is something that Eric has to do while on a Rescue Arc. The kidnappers are using surveilance magitek to spot intruders and a diferent sort to spot concealment spells used to hide from the first sort. Thus, Eric creates an invisibility spell within his personal spirit barrier.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The Ringwraiths are normally made visible only by the garments and armor they wear. Anyone who wears the One Ring, however, gains the ability to see them in their true forms. Not a pretty sight.
    • There's also an inversion here: The One Ring makes the wearer invisible, and the Ringwraiths daytime vision is poor — but as spirit creatures, they can see the wearer of the ring clearly.
  • The Lost Fleet and spin-off The Lost Stars occasionally involve "stealth armour" with some sort of Invisibility Cloak, which is best countered by the simplest method imaginable; creating a cloud of dust or artificial fog and watching for disturbances in it.
  • The Lost World (1995) features the debut of the fan-favorite Carnotaurus in the Jurassic Park franchise, which are given as having the ability to camouflage themselves like cuttlefish such that they're practically invisible. The first hint that they're there is at night when Thorne notices that a chain link fence seems to be moving slightly, as if a large animal were pressing against it from the other other side, but then he realizes that the motion is the animal on the near side, breathing. The survivors figure out that flashing the lights on and off upsets the carnotaurs because it compromises their camouflage, forcing them to change from dark to light colors in rapid succession and so they leave. Too bad the presence of the carnotaurs was all that was keeping the local raptors out of the area....
  • In Sophia McDougall's Mars Evacuees, both Stephanie and Alice Dare (mother and daughter) can see through the invisibility shields worn by the Morrors and which cloak their ships. They appear to have heightened visual ability, and "look out of the corner of their eyes".
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • In The Way of Kings (2010), Rock says he can see spren all the time, while many of them can be invisible. He considers it disrespectful to point them out when they're trying not be seen though.
    • In Words of Radiance, though not stated outright, there are subtle hints that the Parshendi can see spren at all times. When humans see spren, they're described as just appearing out of thin air and then fading the same way, but the Parshendi actually see them flying in from out of sight, and then zipping off again when there's nothing to attract them.
    • Interestingly enough, Word of God has stated that Horneaters (Rock's ethnic group) are the result of interbreeding between Parshendi and humans, which probably explains why at least a few of them can see spren that are invisible to other humans.
    • Rhythm of War: One of Urithiru's still-functional defenses prevents spren from turning invisible within it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale of the Dead Man's Float", episode protagonist Zeke comes up with the idea of coating the invisible monster that has been attempting to drown people in his school's pool with Methyl Orange, which would react with the acidity of the monster and dye it red. When coated, the Methyl Orange works as planned, and reveals the monster's true form.
  • The Boys (2019): While being beaten up by Translucent, Billy Butcher does a Spiteful Spit, and his Blood from the Mouth reveals enough of Translucent for him to hit back.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Planet of the Daleks": The Daleks are on the planet Spiridon, studying the native inhabitants' powers of invisibility, which they have achieved, albeit with limited success. However, the Thals the Doctor encounters are able to render an invisible (and immobilised) Dalek visible by spraying it with a special spray paint.
    • "Vincent and the Doctor": The Monster of the Week is a member of an invisible species. Vincent van Gogh can see it, possibly because he's mentally ill. The only other way it's visible is through a special species-detecting mirror owned by the Doctor.
    • "The Haunting of Villa Diodati": While trapped on the staircase due to the house becoming a Mobile Maze, Yaz, Ryan and Mary see a mysterious shadow in a doorway on the ground floor. The shadow turns out to belong to the missing Percy Bysshe Shelley, who has been rendered mostly unseen and unheard by a Cyberman AI he accidentally absorbed. Yaz also saw the same figure briefly in a flash of lightning earlier.
  • The Future Is Wild: The rainbow squid's skin is covered in highly advanced chromatophores which are able to render it almost perfectly invisible, but the sharkopath is able to detect the squid regardless by way of its sophisticated electroreceptor organs, allowing it to sense the squid's bioelectric signals.
  • In the Sci-Fi Channel The Invisible Man series, Darien shows up on thermals not because he's hot but because he's cold, as quicksilver blocks visible light.
  • In 1983's Invisible Woman Pilot Movie, during the climax, Alexa Hamilton gets covered in mud, making her visible.
  • In Lost Girl, Bo could see auras, or at least sexual auras, and as such saw an invisible man when he was near the women he loved.
  • In The Orville, Union shuttles are able to cloak. However, when Mercer is trying to evade detection by three Krill fighters, the fighters vent drive plasma, which reveals the shuttle.
  • In the Smallville episode "Shimmer", Clark Kent is able to see an invisible man because his skeleton still shows up on his X-Ray Vision. In the episode "Fade", Clark tries this trick with another invisible man, but it doesn't work. He still manages to find him with his super hearing.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In an episode of SG-1, the humans are fighting an invisible enemy called the Reetou, but are given devices from the Tok'ra (Transphase Eradication Rods, or TERs) that can render them visible.
    • These rods show up again when Nirrti develops a personal cloaking device based on natural Reetou ability. They also sweep the base several times throughout the series using TERs.
    • Another episode has the Tau'ri, Jaffa and Tok'ra confronted by an Ashrak (Goa'uld assassin) with a similar cloaking device. This time they don't have TERs at hand, but Carter manages to rig a naquada reactor to produce a effect similar to a TER over a large zone, although it takes some fumbling to find the right frequency.
  • Star Trek contributes various forms of Applied Phlebotinum to detect cloaked starships, including tachyon detection grids, metaphasic sweeps, antiproton beams, and quantum beacons. There's also an implicit cloak/sensor arms race going on — when we see ships with sufficiently old cloaks compared to the sensors of the ship(s) looking for them, plain sensors without any specific tricks usually suffice.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: In "Mortal Beloved", a villain steals Hades' Helmet of Invisibility. Marcus manages to slash him, allowing the heroes to see his blood drip. Later, Xena throws a blanket over him before running him through.
  • The X-Files: In "Je Souhaite", Scully taps a body of a dead guy who was turned invisible by a Literal Genie with a yellow powder and his whole body emerges. Scully is amazed and very, very excited by this positive proof of the paranormal (which is unfortunately gone when she comes back with witnesses).

  • Binary Break: Sophie has a little bottle of paint on her that Penny squirts at whatever invisible force is grabbing Heirmon in episode 2. Unfortunately it attacks him before he's able to get a look at it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu:
    • In The Fungi from Yuggoth, wearing a pair of magical spectacles allows the wearer to see other planes of existence and the creatures that live there, which are invisible to normal sight.
    • In Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, the invisible monsters known as spectral hunters can only be seen if someone looks through one of the special camera lenses created by Erich von Varnstein using Cthulhu Mythos knowledge. The lenses do not conform with the established principles of optics.
    • When the Powder of Ibn Ghazi is sprinkled on invisible monsters, it makes them visible.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several examples.
    • Early articles advise spreading dust or flour on the floor (to see footprints) or throwing flour, dust or water in the air (so it coats the opponent and reveals an outline).
    • Certain spells can be used this way, such as true seeing and true sight. Some editions have a spell with exactly this purpose, called see invisibility.
    • Dust of Appearance makes anything invisible it's sprinkled on become visible for everyone. Reveal invisible (Al-Quadim) and invisibility purge (D&D3) spells do the same.
    • Glitterdust doesn't remove invisibility as such, but anything corporeal dusted with sparkles becomes very noticeable. The spell faerie fire works in the same way, causing affected targets to glow even if invisible.
    • Corpse candle creates an incorporeal hand carrying a lit candle whose light reveal hidden, invisible or ethereal creatures. Its illustration in the Spell Compendium is a textbook Matchlight Danger Revelation.
    • Ethereal dragons on the Material Plane can see creatures on the Ethereal, which are normally invisible to beings on the Material.
    • In 5th Edition, a crystal dragon can cause gleaming starlight to radiate from a point in the lair. Creatures illuminated by the light cannot become invisible.
    • The 5th Edition Paladin spell Branding Smite causes the target to glow for a short time after they're struck with a melee attack from the caster. While glowing, they gain none of the beneficial effects of being invisible.
  • Exalted: The first Step of the Dragon Kings' Celestial Air Path, Piercing the Celestial Veil, allows them to see and hear immaterial beings as though they were material.
  • Pathfinder has numerous ways to get around invisible beings. Any sort of extra sense, such as tremorsense or blindvision, make invisibility a moot point to any creature that has them or any character that's temporarily acquired them through a spell or magic item, as does true seeing and see invisibility. For those who want to remove the invisibility altogether rather than simply allow themselves to see it, dispel magic and invisibility purge both work, as do antimagic field and mage's disjunction for those with no restraint. But for those who enjoy the classics, the low-level spells glitterdust and faerie fire cover the invisible creature (and everything else nearby) in shiny gold dust or technicolor flames that makes them easy to see.
  • Star Fleet Battles: It's possible to see cloaked Romulan ships with the "flash cube" effect (detonating a transporter bomb or mine).
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The Auspex power "Sense the Unseen" allows its user to do exactly what its name implies. The two most common uses for it are to see Wraiths and people or Vampires rendered invisible by supernatural means.
  • Warhammer: The Witchsight of the Necrarchs allows them to see spirits and the winds of magic as if they part of the physical world. In exchange, however, the physical world of the living becomes a blurred and insubstantial thing to their eyes.
  • Warhammer 40,000: There are quite a few sources of invisibility, as well as ways to get around them. In game terms, as long as you can draw an unobstructed line from attacker to defender you can still declare the attack, you just suffer an accuracy penalty (Invisibility spell, Deathleaper's special camouflage) or the target gets a "cover save" (anything else). Flamethrowers ignore the "cover save" variant, and the Tau faction's laser-guidance "Markerlight" system can be used to light up less-than-visible foes. In the novel Fire Caste, the Tau's advanced invisible "Stealth Suits" are rendered as the distortion effect to bionic eyes.

    • In the Mata Nui Online Game, a Muaka manages to snatch Kopaka, who was using the mask of invisibility, in its jaws after determining where Kopaka was by looking at his footprints in the snow.
    • The Kanohi Rode, worn by Axonn, allows its user to see through any form of deception, including the aforementioned mask of invisibility.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • True to its D&D source, a number of spells can be used to reveal invisible enemies. The earliest ones are the second level wizard spell detect invisible and the third level cleric spell invisibility purge.
    • Keldorn of Baldur's Gate II deserves special mention. He has True Sight as an innate ability, making him practically a Game-Breaker among the numerous enemies who prefer to fight with Improved Invisibility.
    • See Invisibility is available as both a spell and a potion in Baldurs Gate 3. If you let Volo perform Meat Grinder Surgery on you in an attempt to remove the illithid tadpole in your brain, he accidentally tears your eye out of its socket but gives you a magical glass eye that gives permanent See Invisibility as a compensation.
  • BioShock Infinite: The city of Columbia has a number of telescopes scattered around it that Booker can look through. If Booker looks through the telescope in the Town Center he can see the spectral Luteces, though he can't see them when he isn't using it.
  • Dark Souls II has the Eye of the Priestess, an item that grants the ability to see magically-obscured things, including enemies and ladders. This is almost mandatory, as one of the bosses in the area you find it is completely invisible. It's technically possible to beat the boss without getting the Eye, but it is extraordinarily difficult, even by Dark Souls standards.
  • Dungeon Crawl also has Rings of See Invisible, and also adds the less gramatically suspect Scroll of Fog that enables you to see "a strange disturbance" where the invisible enemy is.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the shout 'Aura whisper' which reveals all enemies, living, undead, daedra and mechanical, even if they are hiding in the landscape (coffins, holes, pile of bones/ash) or invisible. Detect dead can also be used to find fleeing invisible vampires.
  • In Elona, if you lack equipment that lets you see invisible monsters, you can still reveal them by getting them wet (such as by throwing potions, using water magic, luring them into pools of water, or hoping it rains if you're outdoors).
  • In Eternal Darkness, there's a level where you must (well, if you want some goodies, including a BFG, anyway) protect the player character's servants from an invisible monster. You can make this a lot easier by using the "reveal invisible" spell.
  • Final Legacy has missile launchers that can destroy the cities you need to protect. On any difficulty other than the lowest, some are invisible, and cannot be attacked until revealed. The only way to reveal them is to destroy an Intelligence ship.
  • In God of War II, you can tell where Perseus is because he's in a shallow pool of water.
  • Hades: The Final Boss can turn invisible which also completely eliminates any status debuffs and ensures that no damage can be taken. However, this fight is done in a snowy field, and that naturally leads to footprints or smears, allowing Zagreus to dodge the incoming attack that invariably reveals his foe.
  • In the Homeworld games there's a number of ships capable of cloaking themselves (and, in the case of the un-armed cloak generator, a small number of other ships). To counter them, you can either build advanced sensor platforms (or just upgrade your mothership with these) capable of showing them, or wait for them to become visible when opening fire.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The Cross allows Link to see and fight invisible enemies.
    • The Lens of Truth in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask allows Link to see invisible things, as well as see through illusionary things like fake walls or floors.
    • Twilight Princess: When in wolf form, Link can use his senses to find invisible objects, including trails of scents used to find plot-related people. It's also the only way to defeat Poes, who are otherwise intangible.
  • Meritous: As the official game page says:
    The ethereal monocle allows you to see enemies you couldn't normally see. You can see enemies through walls and even invisible enemies with this artifact.
  • In Metroid Prime, Samus faces off against the invisible Shadow Pirates. By using the infrared visor, she can see their body heat. The Omega Pirate however is equipped with a Chameleon Manta, which makes him invisible to even this. The only way to see him when the Manta is activated is to wait for him to absorb radioactive phazon into his body, which will temporarily light up his insides with radiation, which Samus can see with her X-Ray visor. There's also the Cloaked Drone in the Phazon Mines that guards the Power Bomb, which cannot be scanned or seen in Thermal Mode (you also don't have X-Ray Mode at this point) and cannot be locked onto, but you can see the exhaust from its engines and the flash of its weapons to give you an idea of where to shoot. The Wavebuster beam combo can lock onto the Cloaked Drone regardless of its cloak.
  • In NetHack, the grammatically suspect Ring of See Invisible and Potion of See Invisible grant this ability. You can acquire this power permanently by eating the flesh of a Stalker while already invisible.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth: A common dungeon gimmick is that certain objects and doorways are invisible, as well as distant enemies. The player can more easily see the invisible objects if they're at a high level or if they're in walking mode, which causes them to become transparent instead.
  • Overwatch: Widowmaker's Infra-Sight and Hanzo's Sonic Arrow can detect Sombra using her Thermoptic Camo.
  • In PlanetSide 2, the infiltrator armor has a cloaking device whose invisibility ranges from almost completely invisible (crouching, stationary) to a highly visible shimmer (sprinting). Damaging an infiltrator causes their shields to flare up momentarily, and infiltrators running through shallow water create incredibly obvious splashes, making them particularly ineffective in the wide open flats of the Hossin swamps.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2:
    • During Claire's episode 3, there is a trap room full of lasers in a factory, activated by crossing a cautionary floor bar. These will kill someone when focused on for 2 seconds, but someone coincidentally created a set of footprints that cause the lasers to ignore people that walk over them. However, these footprints are invisible to the naked eye and they are revealed by shining a flashlight onto them.
    • Natalia has the ability to sense enemies by printing a yellow or red aura on their bodies when controlling her. This includes the invisible One-Hit Kill glasps, although their presence can sometimes be detected by anything they knock over.
  • Resident Evil 4: novistadors are vicious insectoid monsters that you first encounter in the sewers of Castle Salazar, where they're invisible. If you look closely, you'll notice them drooling and that gives you a hint to where they are to attack them first. The other times you encounter them, they're fully visible but make up for it by being able to fly.
  • StarCraft: The Zerg Queen's Ensnare ability shoots a big gob of mucus in an area, slowing down everything caught in it. As a happy side effect, it also reveals invisible units (or rather the person-shaped glob of zerg snot just standing there). The defiler's Plague and several other abilities have a similar effect. In StarCraft II abilities such as the infestor's Fungal Scourge mimic this effect.
  • Splatoon has featured Invisible Blocks in a few levels across their single-player campaigns, with Splatoon 2 even having a Shifty Station Splatfest multiplayer stage dedicated to the idea. Such surfaces can be revealed by covering them with ink.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: One of the e-Reader levels in the GBA version features invisible blocks that can only be seen when Mario or Luigi transforms into a statue while using the Tanooki power-up. This proves essential to collect all the Advance Coins in the level.
    • Super Mario Odyssey: The Moe-Eye is a friendly Moai statue with special sunglasses that can be possessed by Mario. When that happens, Mario can make it put on the sunglasses and see things that are invisible, such as passageways, coins and blocks; as a tradeoff, he'll much much more slowly until he puts away the sunglasses (which makes the aforementioned elements invisible again).
  • Sword of the Stars: If the computer witnesses a ship cloaking, it will still order its ships to force-fire on the previous location of the ship. They will keep firing, even if they're clearly not hitting anything. Sometimes, they may even destroy a friendly ship that happens to enter the same spot. The same applies with advanced cloak, which allows cloaked ships to fire. The computer will try to hit the empty spot where the weapon fire is coming from. Ships with Deep Scan or Electronic Warfare sections are able to detect cloaked ships.
  • Team Fortress 2 has a couple of ways to detect a cloaked Spy. Bumping into or winging one will result in a brief flicker of a team-colored outline, while Jarate, Mad Milk, a cloaked Spy exiting a source of water, and weapons that cause bleeding will result in a mysterious mass of drips moving across the battlezone. But the most effective Spy-checking measure is the Pyro's flamethrower (and any weapon that inflicts afterburn), which creates a halo of highly-visible flames to highlight the otherwise-invisible target.
  • Tohno Shiki's power in Tsukihime prior to his near-death experience was "to see things which are hidden" - within the story it lets him see the normally invisible projections of a magical attack. After his near-death experience he can also see where death is hidden in every object and person, giving him One-Hit Kill powers but also threatening his sanity with the result that he must block his power with special glasses.
  • In World of Tanks, enemy vehicles out of your detection range (or the detection range of teammates who can pass that information along) are invisible but the effects they have on destructible objects in the environment most certainly are not. An artillery unit using the overhead aiming view can easily track careless enemy players whose tanks are out of view but smashing their way across country.
  • X-COM: the two games in the rebooted continuity feature the Battle Scanner, a throwable that'll lift the Fog of War and reveal anything concealed or invisible within its radius.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Blielectric Skin also cancels out the Seekers' Invisibility Cloak.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue Season 13, Washington is fighting a mercenary with a cloaking device in close quarters combat, but manages to turn things around by slashing his own palm with a knife and splashing his enemy with a handful of blood.
    Wash: Hi.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Tedd invents a glove to store magic energy. When it's fed back into him, he gains the ability to perceive an invisible, intangible whale-like creature that's hanging out and eating excess magic in the area. And once he can perceive the whale-thing, the whale-thing initiates communications.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has a variation. After spending some time handling and manipulating objects with More than Three Dimensions with her bare hands, Jean develops "tesseract vision" which lets her see things that exist off in an inaccessible dimensional direction.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • At one point Roy and Haley are noticing gusts of wind that indicate something large is flying by, and have a nearby NPC cast true seeing which allows her to see Xykon riding an undead dragon. After the invisible attacker kills the NPC, Durkon uses greater dispel magic to eliminate the improved invisibility spell.
    • Nale tried to spy invisibly on Tarquin, but got foiled by Tarquin's Ring of True Seeing. After being alerted to Nale's presence, Malack casts invisibility purge to dispel the invisibility.

    Web Videos 
  • In SCP: Overlord, the team find a camera that enables them to see the various invisible monsters that the cultists have been turned into. At the end of the movie, the team escapes from the house only for the soldier holding the camera to realize that they're surrounded by the tentacles of a giant Invisible Monster.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The Cloak-Bot can only be seen by the viewer whilst in 'stealth mode' by its translucent outline, and sometimes not even then - only by the effect it has on the surroundings. However, some nearby magnets end up disrupting its stealth functionality as it's sneaking up on Anne, alerting her and the Plantars to its presence, and since they don't know that magnets disrupt its camouflage, they resort to more mundane means of tracking it, such as throwing noodles or flour at the robot, making it partially visible.
  • In one episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Batman is fighting a man wearing a suit that makes him invisible, and the Invisible Man is winning. Up until Bats breaks a nearby watertower, and raining spray reveals the man's form.
  • Dragons: The Nine Realms: The thermal vision of a Snow Wraith allows it to see Featherhides and Changewings after they camouflage themselves.
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents! called "Crock Blocked", Timmy makes a wish to make Mr. Crocker disappear. This makes Crocker turn invisible and attempts to snatch Timmy's fairies. Luckily, Timmy is able to find Crocker by covering him in ketchup, allowing Cosmo and Wanda to make him visible again.
  • Jonny Quest once has an invisible monster which is created by some Applied Phlebotinum and goes on a rampage. Race and Dr. Quest dump a bunch of paint over it, which not only makes it visible, but also makes it look much less terrifying.
  • Kid Cosmic: In "Kid Cosmic and the Best Day Ever", Clever usage of the Goo Stone causes a troublemaking Invisible Monster to be revealed to the audience: It's a dog that swallowed an Invisibility Stone.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "The Invisible Mouse":
    • Tom sees invisible Jerry's shadow while the latter is eating and manages to hit Jerry with a book.
    • Tom tries to find Jerry by throwing flour on the floor so that Jerry would leave footprints. When he does, Tom tries to hit him with a frying pan. Moments later, the words "missed me" appear in the flour.
  • In The Trap Door, one of the recurring monsters, Bubo, is initially invisible, until Berk manages to hit it with a glob of some yellow stuff. It has remained yellow ever since.
  • One episode of Kaput & Zosky features the duo landing on a planet where everyone is invisible. They make the aliens visible by catching them in a butterfly net and spray-painting them red.
  • Wile E. Coyote once uses a mail-order chemistry set to become invisible to try and catch the Road Runner... unfortunately, although his prey can't see him, neither can the driver of an oncoming truck. After he's struck, his footprints in the sand become noticeably staggered, and he falls off a cliff, making Coyote-shaped holes in several clouds on the way down.
    Batman: Peekaboo. [POW!]
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "Disappearing Act", Skeletor uses a special helmet that makes him invisible. He-Man finds him by borrowing Orko's robe and throwing it over him.
  • An episode of Jackie Chan Adventures had Jade quickly responding to fighting an invisible enemy by attempting to get paint on his clothes. She's used to dealing with magic weirdness.
  • In the Peanuts special It's Magic, Charlie Brown, Snoopy has managed to turn Charlie Brown invisible as part of a magic act. To try and make him visible, Snoopy first covers him with mud and blow-dries it, but it all breaks off when he moves. Snoopy then covers him with a sheet and a necktie. (Ol' Chuck uses his invisibility to actually kick the football while Lucy holds it up.)
  • Zig-zagged to the hilt in the Looney Tunes "Cheese It, The Cat!" In order to sneak to the refrigerator to get a cupcake for a birthday party, Ralph Crumden covers Ed Morton in "invisible ink". It doesn't make Morton invisible, but as long as he thinks he is, he does not fear the cat. Morton gets the cupcake and eventually eats it, leaving no recourse but for Ralph to get another, but not before he has Morton cover him with "invisible ink". Ralph can still be seen and when he goes out, the cat attacks him. Yet it's Ralph who calls Morton "a mental case"!
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Vanisher is an invisible Sabrina. Chat Noir first identifies her location when she brushes Ladybug's hair aside, attempting to steal her earrings. Ladybug then uses her Lucky Charm to conjure a small pot of glitter, which she scatters over Vanisher, rendering her visible.
    • The Vanisher makes a return in "Hero's Day", in which her mission is to follow Ladybug to find the Guardian, but Ladybug leads the Vanisher into Paris' sewer system, where her footsteps in the water allow Ladybug get the upper hand on her.
  • In Rick and Morty episode "Star Mort: Rickturn of The Jerri", when Morty and Summer argue over on keeping Rick's Invisibility belt. Morty uses infrared goggles to see Summer when she takes off with the invisibility belt. Later, Summer sprays Morty with foam to make him visible in the school's locker room.
  • One episode of Rugrats has Angelica cover herself in "vanishing cream" when it seems that Tommy and Chuckie, who only had a little bit put on, are actually invisible. What she doesn't know is that Didi has convinced Drew to essentially ignore Angelica when she starts doing bad things, thinking she's just trying to get attention. However, his ignoring works a little too well and, when Angelica can't get the dried makeup off of her, she begins fearing that she's forever stuck invisible. When Drew sees how much Angelica is remorseful for what she did, he drops the act and takes her home to get her cleaned up.
  • Samurai Jack: One of the Ultra-Robots has invisibilty that Jack can only determine its presence from the tracks it makes in the sand and later being covered in oil.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's Invisible Boatmobile can temporarily flicker if its car alarm is used. SpongeBob and Patrick also start painting it black once while they're trying to be helpful to the super duo. Mermaid Man was already frustrated with them and is now furious since that negates its purpose.
    • "Pranks a Lot" has SpongeBob and Patrick buying invisible spray at a novelty shop and go around pretending to be ghosts and scare everyone in Bikini Bottom. However, their fun comes to an end when Mr. Krabs washes off the paint as he stops them from burning his dollar, then humiliates them before everyone they pranked due to them having stripped down before using the spray.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Island Adventure", Sadie defeats an invisible Gem monster by covering it with mud.
  • Super Friends:
    • In "The Invisible Menance", Aquaman gets a squid to spray the invisible villains with ink.
    • In "Battle of the Gods", Aquaman shakes a tree to make an invisible demon get covered with leaves and flowers.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) features the Foot Tech Ninja, Elite Mooks armed with personal cloaking devices. The Turtles use a lot of different ways to get around this (spray paint, mud, thermal vision goggles, footsteps in puddles, etc).
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) does something similar with the show's version of Bebop, who has an invisibility suit. Bebop can be his own worst enemy, though: when she first meets him, April successfully knocks him over simply because, despite being invisible, he's very loud.


Video Example(s):


Painted Monarchbug

When the Resistance make their move on Monarchbug, he turns invisible, only for the Resistance to spray him with various sauces to render his invisibility useless.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SeeTheInvisible

Media sources: