The highlight of NVIDIA's press event in Austin, Texas on Friday was obviously Pascal and its forthcoming GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards, but the next generation GPU architecture isn't the only thing gamers have to be excited about. NVIDIA also introduced something called Ansel, a new in-game photography tool that finally recognizes PC gaming as a true art form.
For the most part, PC gamers have been limited to rudimentary tools for capturing in-game screenshots. When you've maneuvered your avatar or first-person perspective to precisely the right spot, tapping the Print Screen button or F12 when using Steam's overlay preserves the moment, but it's far from ideal. Gaming deserves better than that, and Ansel delivers it.
As NVIDIA describes it, Ansel is an in-game 3D VR camera system. When you activate Ansel, the game is paused while you frame the perfect shot. You can pan around the scene in 360 degrees, roll, zoom, and reposition your angle in pursuit of a professional looking snapshot. There are also filters to play with and fine tune adjustments to make, such as brightness, field of view, and so forth. You can even create and share your own special FX filters.
For more 360 degree Ansel screen shots, head to NVIDIA's image gallery page.
"Simply put, Ansel enables you to make and capture your own unique and personally-framed screenshots via an easy-to-use user interface, on NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards," NVIDIA says.
Once you have the perfect photograph, you can blow the image up by choosing "High Resolution," which outputs the image in up to 4.5 gigapixels (61,440 x 34,560). Yes, we said GIGAPIXELS!
"But why would you want to capture screenshots at super resolutions tens of thousands of pixels in size? Well, the resulting screenshot is almost entirely free of aliasing, detail is significantly sharper and clear, crops of any part of the screenshot are at maximum fidelity levels, and screenshots can be downsampled to lower resolutions for wall prints, posters, or super high-quality desktop wallpapers," NVIDIA explains.
Super resolution images also allows viewers to zoom in on details, for instance to get a closeup view of the pupils in a character's eyes or look at objects far off in the distance. To quote the cool kids of yesteryear, it's all pretty rad.
More importantly, Ansel treats games as real art, which they are. Professional screenshots are a thing, as game photographers such as Duncan Harris and Leonardo Sang can attest. Ansel is the DSLR of the PC game world, and it's coming soon to games such as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Tom Clancy's The Division, Unreal Tournament, and others.