The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Fine Art Print Collection
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person mystery game focused on exploration, discovery and narrative. It belongs to a genre of games (re)popularized by video games such as Dear Esther (also part of the New Horizons and Next-Gen Art Event exhibit) and has roots in older titles such as Myst.
The Astronauts is a small team of only eight people. Many wondered upon the game's release how such a small team was able to create a virtual world with such graphical fidelity and detail. Red Creek Valley, the fictional valley from the game, offers a very realistic sense of place that much bigger studios have trouble matching.
This comes in part because Adrian Chmielarz and his team have spend a lot of effort on the details. They used a technique called Photogrammetry. With Photogrammetry objects, flaura and buildings are lit and photographed from all sides and translated to threedimensional objects through software. Commonly a video game artist crafts a 3D model from polygons and textures by hand. Thousands of photos were shot in the Polish Karkonosze mountains for this game. The reason that the rock faces in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter feel real, is because they are. "Your brain takes notice when things are not normal. Like in video games. Even unconsciously, your brain points out to you all those perfectly tiling textures, all those evenly worn-out surfaces, those stains placed in all the wrong places", says Chmielarz. So The Astronauts wanted to try something different.
The Photogrammetry technique was made famous by The Matrix movies wherein protagonist Neo can move about while his surroundings and time stand still. In games this technique has not been used much. The trick and craft for application in games lies in the right type of photography in combination with the translation of the imagery in low-polygon models that can be used real-time in the game engine. Ardian Chmielarz explains their proces in a blogpost. "In our case, we wanted the player to feel a really strong sense of presence in the game world. There's some supernatural stuff happening in Ethan Carter, and I loved the idea of putting it in contrast with a lifelike, realistic world.", says Chmielarz.The Vanishing of Ethan Carter won a BAFTA 2015 in Game Innovation for its approach to game visuals.
About Dead End Thrills
The in-game screenshots that Duncan Harris makes and shows at his website Dead End Thrills are not Photoshopped or artificially enhanced. They are captures directly from the game engine whereby only the engine itself can be modified. Harris is often hired by game companies that want to show of their games at their very best. He regularly receives praise from the entertainment industry and press for his work, for example from Alex Garland, screenwriter, novelist and producer (Ex Machina, Dredd, Never Let Me Go, Sunshine, 28 Days Later…, The Beach), who says: "In his exceptional screen capture work, Harris finds and superbly accentuates landscapes, fragments, moods and ephemeral moments. He makes the viewer see the source game through fresh eyes, and reappraise what they thought they understood about the game. The pictures also exist as incredibly striking images in their own right".