The Witcher 3 in 8K and ray tracing Reshade looks close to what a next-gen version could be

Written by Stuart Thomas on Tue, Jul 6, 2021 1:33 PM
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Ever since the dawn of computer games, mods have existed as a way to elevate the traditional vanilla experience. These days they can include new items, quests, or even graphical upgrades. Well, thanks to some powerful hardware and over 50 different mods, The Witcher 3 running in 8K resolution with ray tracing Reshade looks pretty damn good.

Obviously this is purely subjective, as Reshades aren’t for everyone. This one in particular creates more of a realistic color correction and dulls some of the saturation in TW3, but the ray tracing feature looks pretty good with realistic shadows and bounce lighting. Check it out for yourself:

Gaming at 8K resolution certainly is quite the upgrade, with much sharper edges and details than you would get even at 4K. In order to run such resolutions you would need a pretty decent rig, which Digital Dreams (creator of the video above) certainly has with an RTX 3090, Ryzen 9 3900X, and 32GB of RAM.

Obviously this version of ray tracing isn’t the same as you would expect with any official implementation in other games, but it does take the same information provided by Reshade in order to create a “Screen Space Ray Tracing calculation”, similar to Ray Traced Global Illumination, so it is indeed a form of ray tracing.

CD Projekt Red is currently working on an official next-gen version of The Witcher III as a free update, which includes ray tracing as well as some other next-gen console upgrades (and will even include the best graphics mod for TW3, HD Reworked Project, as a basis for the improved textures). However, we still don’t know when it will come out, so this setup could tide us over until then at least.

What do you think? How does The Witcher 3 look in 8K and ray tracing Reshade? Have you used Reshade before? Would you be willing to with ray tracing reshade in other games? What games would you add ray tracing to if you could? Let us know!

What do you think of The Witcher 3 with ray tracing Reshade at 8K?

Have you used Reshade before?

Are you excited for The Witcher 3 next-gen version?

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14:47 Jul-07-2021

I swear this is how Witcher 3 looks on my laptop vanilla with HDRP mod...or atleast I think that's how it looks XD

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16:53 Jul-06-2021

Been there, done that. It's not exactly playable at 8K + shaders, hence the entire video is just slow walking (the response time isn't great for parrying and action). The same at 5K though - totally doable! Though I found that the RT shader screws some alpha textures and emissive materials (like fires) - which is why you don't see any night city walks in the video.


As a side note - TW3's SLI implementation is excellent, so maybe someone wants to do this on a 3090 SLI rig? That would me more impressive...for that 1 game :D

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18:00 Jul-06-2021

im extremely skeptical of these "ray tracing" videos on youtube, im not knowledgeable enough, but i doubt these reshades are actually ray traced with bounces of model geometry. Also even if it is form of ray tracing its extremely clickbaited with questionable quality in result on YT. Name your video "ray tracing next gen graphics[insert game name]" put extremely over edited thumbnail and voila = views :|

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21:08 Jul-06-2021

Well that is indeed the main way to gather attention these days. And while i could do a simple search on what exactly reshade is doing, i know it's not actual ray tracing because that required the whole of minecraft's blocks to be redone in some ways for it to work. So this is obviously a type of shader mod. Makes the game look a bit different, but from my memory of the witcher 3, it's not really that different. My main gripe though, would be youtube's crappy compression. I have a 1080p monitor, the video is at 1440p and it still looks like 720p.

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23:33 Jul-06-2021

yeah, witcher 3 already looks very good and if my memory serves me right it doesnt look that much different as in the video. Im waiting for official witcher 3 enhanced edition tho :)

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16:20 Jul-07-2021

I watched the 4K version on my 1080p for that exact reason.

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00:52 Jul-07-2021

If it's the same RTGI shader as I've tried - it does trace from the geometry, but everything is still screen-space.
Here's an example of what I have (probably old by now):
Vanilla - RTGI - Geometry Lighting


It's definitely not gonna do what real RT does, but whatever it traces on the screen space, in some games, such as GTA V - it produces decent results.

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11:27 Jul-07-2021

At least with my RTGI shader it also seems to wrongly take UI elements into the calculation, so the minimap can make objects around it glow (it's an obvious issue that made me not use the shader beyond testing). If it's the same shader (or an equally-flawed variation) - then maybe that's why the video features no UI. But then it could also just be for aesthetic reasons.


I can definitely see some telltale signs of the RTGI shader, especially around characters where there's an obscene amount of AO created much further into the scene than needed...

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13:44 Jul-07-2021

is it only me? that GTA V clip, it looks not much different in some scenes and absolutely trash in others? For example it looks to me that these reshades has to be very light resulting in not much difference to vanila or if artist tries to make it stronger it completely destroys the graphics like i shown here.

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17:23 Jul-07-2021

To be honest, I tried to find a clip I saw a year or two ago that had really beautiful bounce light, the guy made a huge effort to present his shader professionally - I couldn't find it. The one I linked was a bit of an alternative, but yeah the overpronounced shadowing where none should be is what I'm seeing in The Witcher clip above as well, though nowhere near this much (it's up to the individual to dial in the settings of the shader!). Plus this guy seems to do some lame color work as well, but the bounce lighting is still shown and visible, I hope.

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17:25 Jul-07-2021

It all works in screen space, so the results will never really look that great. I have some reshade stuff for testing, but I don't really use any during my own gameplay. I'm fine with whatever the vanilla games offer, for the most part, and I'm usually not willing to deal with the performance penalty of running extra shaders at high resolutions, unless the game runs very well to begin with (like Skyrim).

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13:35 Jul-06-2021

Ah! Yeah, I've seen this video before. Stuff like this always amazes me! :3

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