"As powerful as video game consoles have become, even the most graphically stunning video games don’t look like realistic, real-world footage, which is arguably the ultimate goal. But researchers at Intel Labs may have found a shortcut by applying machine learning techniques to rendered footage from a console that takes it from beautiful to photorealistic.
Over the past few decades, the graphics capabilities of home consoles have advanced by leaps and bounds. More processing power in the machines allows them to not only render more detail in the 3D models that make up a scene, but to also more accurately recreate the behavior of light so that reflections, highlights, and shadows behave and look more and more like they do in the real world.
But the hardware isn’t quite to the point where video games look as photo-realistic as the computer-generated visual effects that Hollywood blockbusters employ to wow audiences. A console can render 60 frames of video at 4K resolution every second, but a single frame of a movie featuring complex computer-generated effects can take hours or even days to render with photo-realistic results. Game streaming is one solution, where powerful computers far away render a game in real-time and then send finalized frames over the internet to a gamer’s screen, but this new research is even more clever than that."