Video Game Visual Effects

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I previously talked about PC game mods explaining how they allow you to modify your characters and/or environments adding new details or swapping the original files. In this article I would like to explain what else we PC gamers can do to get an advanced post-processing result in our favorite games, because I myself discovered this incredible feature a few months ago and I literally can’t play without it now. I am talking about video game Visual Effects aka ReShade Graphics and the way it might affect our gaming experience.

What is ReShade?

ReShade is an advanced post-processing injector for games and video softwares. You can add new effects such as ambient occlusion, real depth of field, color correction, depth-edge-detection-driven SMAA antialiasing, chromatic aberration, dynamic film grain, automatic saturation, multi-pass blurring and even more!

It supports Direct3D8, Direct3D9 + Ex, Direct3D10.0 – 10.1, Direct3D11.0 – 11.3 and OpenGL. Windows Vista or higher (Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10), DirectX end-user runtime is required.

You can create tons of different combinations or simply download the available setups created by other users for a specific videogame.

If you want to make your own configuration you can get the ReShade Framework from the official site and search for some available post-processing files in the Presets section. If you want to create your own visuals there is a very simple way:

  1. Download the ReShade archive from the site (link above).
  2. Create a new folder and place all the downloaded files in it.
  3. Copy the ReShade directory, Reshade.fx and ReShade64.dll (or ReShade32.dll if the game is 32bit) in your game folder (where the .exe is).
  4. Rename ReShade64/32.dll in dxgi.dll.
  5. Open the ReShade folder, go to Presets and open the .cfg files with Notepad to see what kind of effects you can alter. Just change a value from 0 to 1 to activate a specific option.
  6. Once the game is loaded (fullscreen or windowed, it doesn’t matter) it will freeze for a very short moment, if everything is set correctly you should get some confirmation texts and then you’ll immediatly see the visual difference on your screen.

Just to make an example of what you can get:

These are two sample screenshots I took from Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The overall tone is altered and the atmospheres are more intense; the sun is warm and saturated, the config I installed creates wonderful sunsets and bright colors in lit areas, while darker places appear more gloomy and definitely colder than they originally are.

This is just one of the things you can achieve with ReShade. You can also modify the downloaded configurations to test deactivated effects or change colors.

I personally enjoy playing around with the available effects and see what happens. Certain presets, however, only look good when you’re roaming around… cutscenes might appear a bit too dark or too saturated for your tastes.  You can remove the ReShade files from the game folder to add new ones until you find your ideal combination.

GTA-5-PC-HD-view-1024x576

(GTA V ReShade comparison)

The possibilities are indeed endless! If you like taking screenshots but do not use editing programs such as Photoshop or Gimp, ReShade is definitely what you need for an instant breathtaking photo. Sweet FX also stores your images automatically in the main folder whenever you press the prntscr key on your keyboard, so you don’t even need to paste every single shot in a program to keep it in memory nor to use additional tools such as Fraps (which tends to slow down your performances).

What are you waiting for? Grab your favorite ReShade (or make your own) and enjoy the epicness!

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