The Witcher 3 – A quick look at Nvidia’s Ansel

The Witcher 3 - A quick look at Nvidia's Ansel

The Witcher 3 – A quick look at Nvidia’s Ansel

 

As an amateur photographer, Nvidia’s Ansel in-game photography tool has been of great interest to me, offering gamers the ability to take high-quality pictures of in-game environments and even allowing the capture of 360-degree, VR Ready screenshots with Nvidia GPUs.  

While this technology is a Nvidia only feature, it opens up the possibility for gamers to create something that is much more than a mere screenshot and effectively create the all new art of in-game photography. 

 The Witcher 3 - A quick look at Nvidia's Ansel

 

What does Ansel offer? 

Ansel gives gamers a lot more freedom when it comes to capturing a moment in-game, removing the restrictions of looking through the game’s pre-determined viewpoints to give gamers a free-roaming camera that can be easily modified at the click of a mouse to add filters, adjust contrast, field of view and even enhance colour vibrancy. 

Right now Ansel also offers users the ability to take pictures at resolutions that are higher than your monitor’s resolution, providing images that are not only much larger in size but allow small distant details to be much more detailed when you zoom in. No longer will 4K screenshot only be possible with a 4K monitor.

No longer will 4K screenshot only be possible with a 4K monitor, with Ansel allowing gamers to take images that are up to 63,360 x 35,640 in size. To put that into perspective that is 33x the size of standard 1920 x 1080. 

  The Witcher 3 - A quick look at Nvidia's Ansel  

Taking Pictures with Ansel

Right now Ansel is only available in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Mirror’s Edge 2 and requires the use of Nvidia’s latest GPU drivers. 

In both of these games, players will be required to hit Alt and F2 during gameplay to enter Ansel mode, allowing the Ansel user interface to appear. Ansel will pause the game from the moment it is activated but sadly does not have the option to rewind the actions on-screen, so you will need to make sure that that they get their timing right. 

Within the Ansel user interface players will have 360-degree control of the gamers, with WASD controlling movement forwards, backwards and to either side, Z and X controlling movement up and down with the mouse being able to control turning the camera.  

The shift key can be used to accelerate the camera’s movement, allowing players to move quickly to a different part of the environment and quickly find the correct angle for your photos.   

At the left-hand side of the Ansel user interface, users can quickly change things like brightness contrast, field of view and several other attributes. At the base of the UI players can view a capture type option, allowing gamers to quickly change from screenshot modes (images at gameplay resolution), Super Resolution mode (increased resolution over game resolution) , 360-degree mode and even VR 360 mode. 

Below are some images that we have taken using Nvidia Ansel after update 1.24 for the Witcher 3 went live yesterday. Please click on these images to see them at their full resolution. 

  

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Conclusion

To put things simply Ansel is something that is transformative for in-game photography, making the ability to take high-quality/ high-resolution screenshots something that is no longer only for those with high-resolution displays, high spec systems and a lot of free time. 

Some of the images that I have taken in the Witcher 3 here would have been impossible without Ansel and our mid-battle screenshots would have taken countless attempts using traditional methods to get the correct timing.  

We have all seen high-resolution panoramic photos from Skyrim, just wonder what those images would have looked like if the same effort was put into the same game with Ansel support. This effectively is like moving from your mobile phone’s camera to a high-end DSLR, making Ansel an attractive feature for future games. 

  

The Witcher 3 - A quick look at Nvidia's Ansel  

The elephant in the room is that Ansel is a Nvidia only feature, meaning that those who use AMD hardware will not have support for Ansel. This downside means that Ansel will not necessarily be integrated into all games that could benefit from its presence, especially given the fact that Ansel will require direct support from developers. 

If Ansel is adopted into more future games I can see this feature becoming a major selling point for Nvidia, especially for future games that will offer cutting-edge visuals and beautiful environments like the Witcher 3. 

 

Over on the OC3D Forums we encourage people to share their own Ansel made images as well as share their own thoughts on this innovative new tool. 

 

You can join the discussion on Nvidia’s Ansel and share your own pictures on the OC3D Forums.