Photo-realism in video games is often spoken of, but it has not really been achieved to this day. However, a small group of researchers is now probably taking the next step: With the help of machine learning, they are showing their first results based on GTA 5.
Photorealism in GTA 5 thanks to Machine Learning
The researchers at Intel Labs are devoting a detailed work to an approach to “improve the realism of synthetic images”. In the project called »Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement«, the researchers modify existing images from a game with the help of real images in order to subsequently make the graphic representation look more natural.
The developers have chosen GTA 5 as an example of implementation. With the help of photos from mainly Europe cities, they modified the open-world game from Rockstar Games. In comparison, the end product is much less colorful, but the streets give a more realistic picture.
In a video of the team you can see the results in direct comparison:
Link to YouTube content
In contrast to other methods, the research team used additional surface and geometric details in their approach that they picked up directly from the game. Th is results in significantly fewer disruptive artifacts in the implementation and the image is calmer.
On the Intel Labs project website the makers present even more comparison images. In addition, they explain numerous technical details and their approach in a multi-page scientific publication.
No download: However, it is not a classic graphic mod, which is why there is no download option. So you cannot try out the improvements yourself.
The future of game graphics?
When can the graphics of a video game no longer be distinguished from film recordings? Photorealism is a topic that numerous developers have been dealing with for a long time. These include the makers of Hellblade, who also pursue the approach of ultra-realistic graphics with Project Mara:
more on the subject
Photo realism: Hellblade developer shows technology of the future
It remains to be seen whether and when this technological advance will actually be used in video games. Developer Ninja Theory works at least for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 with the Unreal Engine 5 and wants to set new standards with it.