Flash Bang Wallop! Nvidia Ansel’s Screenshot Tools

Nvidia have unveiled their next top-end GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080, which they say can draw lots of really nice pictures really fast. Look, I’m sure Jeremy and his Week in Tech will have more to say about that soon, but what’s interesting to me is the software they announced alongside it. Nvidia Ansel will let people take fancier screenshots, pausing the action to rearrange the camera, apply effects, take ultra-high-res snaps, make 360-degree panoramas compatible with VR goggles, and so on. Support for Ansel is coming to Nvidia GPUs for games including The Witcher 3, The Witness, and No Man’s Sky, and it’ll work on many cards older than the 1080 too.

Games supporting Ansel will let players pop open a camera mode, which pauses the action, turns off the game’s user interface, and lets them compose a shot. Along with moving the camera freely, folks will get to fiddle with the field-of-view, tweak colours, and apply a few simple filters for that Instagram effect. It’ll also offer some fancy image formats, including colossal 8-gigapixel screenshots for mega-high detail, the high dynamic range EXR format, and 360-degree panoramas intended for virtual reality.

So far, Ansel support is confirmed as coming to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fortnite, Paragon, Unreal Tournament, Obduction, The Witness, Lawbreakers, The Division, and No Man’s Sky.

I’m a casual taker of screenshots myself – nowhere near as good as Duncan Harris’s Dead End Thrills or anything, of course – so I’m curious to get my hands on this. Hopefully this’ll help a new generation of screenshotters too, once folks get past the initial novelty of tacky effects on bad photos. Maybe I do have strong opinions on people’s Instagrams. Maybe these opinions are hypocritical considering my own bad, over-processed photography. Shut up.

As for GPUs which it’ll run on, Ansel will work with all these. The list goes back a good four years, so it’s not just for fancy billionaires.

Nvidia don’t give a precise date, but say we should expect Ansel “soon”.

Oh, and they also announced some new VR stuff. I’m only here for the screenshots, maaan.


  1. ikehaiku says:

    Welp…Pretty weird that in the supported GPU list there’s no mention of the GTX660, when the GTX650s and 670s are here (and all the 7xx and higher)
    Wonder if that’s an omission, of if there’s something specifically with the 660?

    • dagnamit says:

      660 must be an omission. 650ti and 650ti boost both run on GK106 which also powers the 660.

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      Ooh, someone made something for my 670? My video card is not completely irrelevant, yay!

  2. Ericusson says:

    Is it just me or making a central announcement with an (eventually impressive) screenshot capability is kinda underwhelming ?

    Anyway, as a nomad laptop user, I am expecting a lot from the future derived mobile GPUs.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      They also said a lot about teraflops and watts and stuff but, y’know, that’s hardware for you – it gets faster. I focused on Ansel because it’s more interesting to me than the inevitable march of numbers.

      • Ericusson says:

        Fair enough, this was the second announcement news article that focused on this and I was wondering if it came from Nvidia marketing.
        Marketing yet another launched product with numbers that kinda grow meaningless to the general public must not be so easy now.

  3. Unsheep says:

    Yay more stuff from this unscrupulous company. I assume Ansel will work best with games Nvidia has co-developed.

    • Hebrind says:

      Unscrupulous how? And yes, presumably the nVidia tech will work well with games that nVidia have had a hand in making/designing. Go figure. Next they’ll be telling us that Microsoft programs run best on Windows! Tsk!

  4. phelix says:

    Locking down screenshot tools to be GPU vendor specific is a very, very awful marketing trick.

    There is no justification as to why this ‘tech’ would not be possible on AMD cards. I look at Nvidia and I see plain cynicism.


    • trjp says:

      Why would nVidia write software for other people’s cards?

      Why would they NOT write it because their competitors products would suffer?

      Other people are free to create this stuff too…

      The reason I own and run nVidia these days (and I’ve had plenty of AMD stuff in the past) is because they do seem to add features and support their kit reasonably well.

      OK, it doesn’t always work – they release broken drivers from time-to-time and upgrades are often ‘perilous’ – but AMD just feels like the husk of a company doing half-a-job at best (and has done for a few years now).

      Maybe they’ll throw you a screenshot utility when they get some proper hardware video capture working and all the other things they fell WAY behind with?

    • Craig Pearson says:

      There’s plenty of justification if they’re making it for their own hardware. Jeez.

      • phelix says:

        Well, sorry if I came off sounding like a butthurt fanboy.
        My problem is mostly with the marketing, with sentences like this on the Nvidia website:

        NVIDIA’s Ansel, A Revolutionary Game Photography Tool,(…)

        It implies that Nvidia, and Nvidia alone, makes this tech possible, which is rather dishonest.

        • phelix says:

          And they use the word “revolutionary” so often it makes me cringe, but that’s a different can of worms.

        • Craig Pearson says:

          They’ve developed a tech that works like that across multiple games, capturing enough of the game to enable the player to move around a scene, not just framing a screenshot. Who else has done that?

  5. trjp says:

    Yay, my old 650Ti Boost is there

    Makes up for the last 2 driver updates which

    a – left me with just 2 monitors for a while
    b – bluescreened my PC/screwd-up my startup sequence which I had to fix with third-party software (DDU)

    or maybe it doesn’t… hmmmm

    • gunny1993 says:

      Firstly: ‘just’ two monitors XD

      Secondly: I’ve given up updating my Nvidia drivers for my 670, it’s an old card but every update I’ve done recently has screwed something up, most recently giving me random mega stutter in games.

      If AMD can pull off a decent set of cards this round, I think I’ll go with them as their driver support has been (allegedly) rather better for older cards.

      • tehfish says:

        Regarding driver support, i’ve been very impressed with AMD.

        Bar one specific issue, for some reason AMD releasing a very incomplete default driver for win10 on my laptop’s E-450 APU (very odd, lacked working hardware acceleration for video entirely despite the previous few catalyst releases working faultlessly in win10), i can’t recall a single driver issue i’ve had in many years. Or, for that matter, in any of the several AMD 5xxx/6xxx range cards in family/friend PCs i do tech support for.

        Whilst their drivers are not completely faultless, i do see things crop up online from time to time, AMD do seem to have an entirely unearned reputation for ‘bad drivers’ vs Nvidia cards…

        • trjp says:

          My problem is that AMD just feel a bit slow and lazy with what they do in software terms.

          It’s not that they don’t update drivers and recently nVidia’ve had more issues for sure (one complete fuckup resulting in a driver release being removed completely) – but they seem to deliver stuff (whether you want it or not) like Geforce Experience’s optimal settings (a mixed bag), Shadowplay (absolutely amazing), Shield (hmmm) and now this…

          Horses for courses but it feels to me like nVidia are pushing ‘somewhere’ whilst AMD are doing just enough to be their ‘budget alternative’!?

        • trjp says:

          p.s. see also AMD CPUs over Intel??

      • trjp says:

        Triple monitors because – erm – well – when I bought my new 24″ I retired a ‘fading backlight’ 19″ – then someone gave me a VERY similar 19″ with a dodgy power feed which I fixed – so I also cleaned-up mine and ‘triple screen setup GO!”

        Never intended to have it – took me ages to make use of it – would now miss having at least 2 screens (I only really use 3 for ETS2!!)

  6. Hobbes says:

    Ansel looks to be a very good tool for shutterbugs like myself. People on AMD cards complaining they’re not getting a slice of the pie need to bug AMD to make something similar, not decry Nvidia for not making this available for AMD cards. The onus is on AMD to get their software division producing something that isn’t a “Budd and Bob” job (HELLO CATALYST, NO HIDING AT THE BACK).

    As for people on Team Green? Great times ahead, Ansel is a straight up win, pretty much a great way to start pushing the 9xx and 10xx lines of cards and get everyone onto some modern graphics hardware. I’m all for it.

  7. feverberries says:


  8. DanMan says:

    The 16bit .exr files, which are comparable to RAW files in photography, allow for lots of the same/additional after-effects, too, which I think is pretty cool.