COLOGNE, GERMANY — In addition to the GeForce RTX 2000-series graphics cards, Nvidia also announced the introduction of Ansel RTX to its GeForce Experience software at Gamescom 2018. Ansel RTX leverages the Turing architecture’s RT cores to facilitate ray-traced captures and tensor cores to generate super-resolution images from standard screengrabs. Plus, the company added some new filters for gamers who enjoy fine-tuning their artwork.
Saving a picture from a game with ray tracing support doesn’t impose the same performance requirements as rendering it smoothly in real-time. Thus, Ansel RT can send out more rays and allow more bounces to beautify a screenshot beyond what you’d see in-game. Although this technically has a negative effect on frame rate, it also increases the fidelity of what ends up as a still image. The result is 32x shadow samples, 40x reflection samples, 12x ambient occlusion, and 10x refractions per pixel compared to the same scene rendered in real-time.
Nvidia is also using GeForce RTX’s tensor cores to expand Ansel support beyond games with native SDK integration. Again, the tensor cores make it possible to increase the resolution of a saved image, access EXR buffers for high dynamic range capture and apply filters for customization.
Ansel AI Up-Res, as Nvidia calls it, involves training a neural network using very high-quality ground truth images on DGX servers. That information allows GeForce RTX to capture a standard-resolution image on your PC and infer a much higher-resolution version of it using the tensor cores.
The new filters make it possible to edit your work in 3D, without exporting to Photoshop. A green screen, for instance, lets you remove the background of a scene and replace it with something else. Because this filter has access to the depth buffers, you can pull in or zoom out as far as you’d like before making your selection. Nvidia’s example took Agent 47 of Hitman fame, removed the game’s Italian setting and dropped him onto a beach. Another filter added a cartoonish llama “sticker” to the scene. And a third altered the original image’s aspect ratio from inside of the Ansel UI.
As the feature stands, Nvidia claims support for more than 50 games through its Ansel SDK. With Ansel RTX, that number extends beyond 200 approved games. More than 150 lack SDK integration, and consequently don’t support Ansel RT, free camera movement, and the 360 degree/VR screenshot capability. However, they can do HUD removal, AI Up-Res, and the new filters. Why can’t Nvidia simply extend Ansel support to all games? According to Jason Paul, general manager of gaming software and virtual reality at Nvidia, there’s still a lot of validation that goes into ensuring Ansel plays well with each game. They have to be tested extensively before making the cut.