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Nvidia Ansel Lets Gamers Embrace Their Inner Artist

AUSTIN, Texas — Video games have always been an art form to their rabid fans, but it's only now that the rest of world has started to take notice. Much of that is thanks to in-game photographers like Duncan Harris, whose meticulous work has helped bring the artistry of video games to the forefront. But capturing those breathtaking shots can take a lot of work — until now. Nvidia just announced its Ansel technology, which the company is touting as the first in-game camera photography software.

Ansel goes beyond what normal screenshots or even a camera can do. Instead of confining the ambitious shutterbug to a fixed perspective, Ansel allows users to control the viewpoint, including zooming in and out or spinning the scene around. If that's not enough, the software allows in-game photogs to capture shots up to 4.5 gigapixels for some super high resolution. If you're like me and don't want to do the math, that translates to an image with a resolution 32 times higher than your regular display.  

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If you happen to own a 4K or 5K display, you can export your super high-res work of art using the OpenEXR format. That way, you can view your masterpiece in its full glory. The format is also compatible with Adobe Photoshop in case you want to tweak the photo even more.

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But this is the Instagram-era, and as any good selfie-aficionado knows, the photo isn't done until you pair it with the right filter. Thus, Nvidia has outfitted Ansel with a number of post-image filters including brightness, vignette, sketch, color enhancer and field of view. You can also create your own effects using the powerful software.

Nvidia could have stopped there, but where's the fun in that? Thanks to Ansel, you can take 360-degree panoramic shots that can be viewed in PC-powered virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive or any Google Cardboard-compatible smartphone. But if you don't have a VR device handy, you can view the images in mono where you move the phone and watch the image mirror your movements. Nvidia has launched the Nvidia VR viewer so people curious about Ansel can get their first look.