Further legitimizing the novel art of videogame photography, Nvidia last week introduced a new tool box, Ansel, that gives gamers unprecedented control over documenting its digital tours through complex game worlds.

Nvidia Ansel offers a suite of image capture that can take super-resolution screenshot up to 32 higher than what the user sees on screen.

"Imagine a photograph with the resolution of a thousand iPhone 6s — that's a crazy level of resolution," said Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang when he introduced Ansel the night of May 6 in Austin.

Along with capturing more pixels the games actually generate, Ansel's exotic capture abilities enables the software to take 360-degree image orbs that can be sent over to a head-mounted display for virtual reality.

Up Close And Personal

It's the product of Nvidia's collaboration with some of the industry's top game developers and there are already seven major titles that either support it now or will soon.

Ansel was born of Nvidia's desire to empower the average gamer with the ability to better capture compelling screenshots. The tool seeks to put such gamers on a level playing field with some of the industry's top game photographers, who are often given exclusive access to game files and alternative game builds.

The capture tool's Free Camera can zoom, roll and fly around Ansel-compatible games to give users vantages that may not be allowed within the game world otherwise. Users can focus on simply timing and capturing their desired shots instead of worrying how to deal with obstacles like, oh say, physics, or something like that.

Once the perfect shot is there for the print screening, users can quickly snap images at resolutions of up to 4.5 gigapixels or about 32 times their HD screen's output, according to Henry Lin, senior product manager at Nvidia.

"Using your Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU, Ansel can render and save these screenshots in just seconds," Lin said. "The result: images that you can downsample to lower resolutions for wall prints, posters or super-high-quality desktop wallpapers."

Depth And Dimensions

Downsampling isn't the only post processing tools included in Ansel. Once captured, images can be dramatically altered using Ansel's suite of post-processing tools or by third-party applications like Adobe Photoshop.

"So you can tweak the look, feel and mood of your screenshot before saving, Ansel includes brightness, vignette, sketch, color enhancer, field of view and many other special effects options," Lin says. "It lets you create and share your own special FX filters, as enthusiasts do now for ReShade and other post-process applications."

If Ansel's native tools aren't enough, users can export their screenshot in OpenEXR format and then import the files into Photoshop and other image editing tools.

On top of all that, there's what's possibly Ansel's most compelling tool to many gamers and art lovers. That's the ability to capture 360-degree images that can be viewed in headsets such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. Even a half-decent smartphone will do the trick.

During his time covering Ansel in Austin, Huang slowly waved a smartphone through the air. On the phone's screen was a live look at a 360 degree capture from The Witcher 3.

Impact And Availability

At the intersection of virtual reality and videogame photography, Ansel answers two needs.

It's set to give VR's early adopters much more content to consume, and it also gives them a link to the past. Ansel also kicks open the door of videogame photography, offer unknowns and lesser knowns the opportunity to contribute to a growing art that has been dominated by insiders so far.

Ansels will begin rolling out in the releases or updates for The Witcher 3, No Man's Sky, Paragon, Tom Clancy's The Division, Lawbreakers, The Witness, Unreal Tournament, Fortnite and Obduction with more titles to follow.

To use Ansel, users will need at least a GTX 600 series or higher.

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