The Witcher 3 has received Ansel and Super Resolution support--but the feature requires substantial resources from your PC.
In May, during the GTX 10-series reveal, Nvidia announced Ansel, a powerful new game screenshot tool that allows you to break away from the in-game camera to snap the exact angle that you want. Nvidia boasted that Ansel supported the ability to take 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D, or ultra-high resolution screenshots.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst was the first game to add support for Ansel, but it lacked Super Resolution, one of the most compelling features of the technology. Super Resolution lets you take screenshots of your game at significantly higher resolution than your monitor. You can scale the images up from 2x your monitor's output resolution all the way up to 33x. For our test with a 1080p display, that meant that the minimum super resolution screenshot we could capture was 3840 x 3160. The highest resolution is a staggering 63,360 x 35,640 pixels.
Such ultra-high resolution allows you to capture fine details of even small features on the screen. You can later crop the images down to manageable sizes but with much more detail than would otherwise be possible.
Be warned, snapping screenshots at this high of a resolution requires a reasonable amount of resources. At 2x, the Ansel requires 0.1GB of free hard drive space, but this scales up quickly. At 10x 1080p, Ansel demands 2.7GB, 20x requires 11.1GB, and 33x eats up an incredible 30.8GB of space.
We don’t have a 4K display on hand right now to verify the space requirements for Super Resolution 4K images, but we have to assume the space requirements will scale up accordingly. Thankfully, the hard drive space appears to be for temporary files used to create the final output. When you snap a Super Resolution screenshot, Ansel actually takes a series of native resolution screenshots that have been zoomed in to an extreme degree. The software cycles through the scene until it has an image for every detail.
As an example, our max resolution screenshot was comprised of over 4,100 1080p screenshots. Once it finished processing, the final output file was actually only 1.75GB. Still, an image this large isn’t insignificant.
Nvidia said that Ansel is available for any GPU dating back to the 600 series, but if you want to dabble with the highest resolution images, you better have a lot of RAM. Our 1.75GB JPEG 33x screenshot of a fight with a wolf chewed up 8.64GB of memory while it was being opened in Photoshop, and just making a simple crop of the image required 10GB of RAM for the task.
Super Resolution screenshots may require a lot of memory to process, but we think the final output is worth it. We look forward to Ansel support in future games and the beautiful screenshots that this technology will produce.