The PC version of GTA 5 looks damn good with a few mods and reshaders, but a few researchers have now managed to raise the look of the open-world classic to a photo-realistic level with a new technology.

GTA 5 - Grand Theft Auto V

Top graphics for GTA 5: New technology makes rock star classics look realistic

GTA 5 already looked anything but bad on PS3 and Xbox 360, the later PC version went a step further. This also opened the door to modders to further improve the graphic quality of the open-world game with numerous mods and reshaders – GTA 5 didn’t look really photorealistic even then.

A new technology from the private Cornell University in Ithaca, New York but now seems to make the dream come true. Stephan R. Richter, Hassan Abu AlHaija and Vladlen Koltun presented a “new approach to improving the realism of synthetic images”. The results of the work are impressive. The images created by the new technology are way ahead of the competition, as a look at the following YouTube video clearly shows:

Photorealism in GTA 5: AI and machine learning make it possible

To the realistic graphics To generate in GTA 5, the images must go through a few steps beforehand. First, the image is chased from the game through an image enhancement network. At the same time, data sets are extracted from the game engine, which contain information on the surface properties of the objects, their distance to the camera or the lighting of the scene.

When the graphic line between video game and reality blurs. Cornell University’s new technology is doing a great job. (Source: YouTube / Intel ISL)

This data is then also fed into the image enhancement network. The resulting image is compared with a similar photo from real life and receives a “Realism Score”. In this way, the system is learned and can achieve the impressive results from the video after a while.

Not only GTA 5 can impress with its chic graphics – other games are in no way inferior to the Rockstar hit in this regard:

However, it is currently too early to implement it in games. According to an excerpt from the official paper, the calculation of a single image with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 takes around half a second – the resulting real-time frame rate is therefore around 2 FPS. That’s still a bit too low for a game like GTA 5.

Nevertheless, it is amazing to see how far modern technology has come in the meantime. And maybe this or a similar technology can actually be used in games in a few years. We will see.