This Time-Lapse Was Captured Entirely Inside the Video Game World of GTA V

As graphics continue to improve and virtual worlds become more detailed, it makes sense that some people are branching out to photograph (or at least capture via screenshot) these video game worlds. Case in point: the above time-lapse was created from photos, not of any state you’ll ever step a physical foot in, but of the fictional Grand Theft Auto V state of San Andreas.

The video was put together by the folks behind YouTube’s The Despicable Channel, and it says as much about their dedication as it does about the developers at Rockstar.

They spent an entire day working to put it together and what emerged shows just how incredible the attention to detail in this world is. Yes, it’s obviously computer generated, but the tiny details the developers built in helps the time-lapse not to seem strange, but perfectly normal.


Notice, for example, that all of the cars don’t always stop at the same spot at a stoplight, but sometimes further forward and further back. Or how the wind moves the trees and electrical cables. Or how the clouds in the sky reflect off the surface of the buildings. Considering this was shot on an XBox 360 (basically 8-year-old graphics hardware) it’s downright impressive.

Obviously virtual worlds can’t replace real life (though some people might disagree…) but it’ll be interesting to see how these experiments evolve. Eventually we might have fine art photography from inside a game. Then again, at that point, who owns the photo? Is it the photographer? Or the people who created the world you’re photographing?

  • Eugene Chok

    hahah yea i was about to say hyperlapse next please lol

  • Mitesh Ghanekar

    do that on a pc with 512 mb ram and a 7800 gtx in it and then come back

  • dstotz

    Those are realistic too, although its hard to tell from the low resolution stills in the first video you linked, but i was referring specifically to the effects brought out by the timelapse video, and comparing it to the seeming shortcut taken by only having the clouds move from right to left. It’s a good illustration of the need to put you money where it counts when doing computer graphics. I make no claim to be a video game officionado.

  • Rob Elliott

    you understand the Camera is a tool right… Photography as science uses a camera to capture photons. As an art it is about producing an image of beauty through light colour and composition.

    The person in this case uses the same compositional skills as they would in the real world. You seem to feel that Virtual Photography is some how not valid as art simply because someone else created a city in a computer rather then out of stone.

  • harumph

    What I said was that this isn’t photography. Whether or not it’s art is an entirely different discussion–one that I touched on a couple posts ago. (Shorter version: I’m open to the idea, but it’s an extremely hard sell.)

    If the art of photography is, by your own definition, “producing an image of beauty through light, colour and composition,” then you would have to include nearly all the other visual arts under that definition as well. This brings us back to my initial point, which was that if computer graphics can be defined as photography, then you would also have to include painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. under that definition as well. And now the word photography is meaningless, because everything I can create with light, color and composition is a photograph. And in the case of a video game screengrab, I didn’t even create it…I just paused it.

  • harumph

    Huh? So since you can’t run Crysis on your old computer, that means it doesn’t exist?

  • Mitesh Ghanekar

    im saying that similar config pcs cant do jackshit

  • harumph

    Similarly configured pcs can’t do what? I honestly don’t understand what point you’re trying to make. All Cinekpol is saying is that Crysis looks better than GTA V.

  • Mitesh Ghanekar

    are you slightly retarded? hes trying to say that pcs are better

  • harumph

    This isn’t a debate over hardware. He simply said that Crysis looks more realistic than GTA. And anyway, GTA V is going to be available on PC too, so whatever argument you’re attempting to make is moot. You can’t play Crysis 3 on your mom’s laptop? Boo hoo. Nobody cares. That doesn’t have anything to do with anything.

  • Mitesh Ghanekar

    wow ur stupid

  • david dunger

    I am a photographer, some of the very best photos ever sold were of extremely mundane things. things that in our modern world seem insignificant. to us, like fruit on a window sill and yet, captured while bathed in sunlight, it was amazing.
    But this is something else entirely. It is artistic in that the person has framed the shot, as you do normally, chosen the time of day (tick), subject (tick), and chosen to do what i have seen people do at subways – time lapse (tick). The use of time lapse is awesome too. It does so much to highlight and parallel the in and out of game, real life, things we take for granted. well done you for that, whoever you are. It deserves its own genre for a start. I have been a gamer for years and the in-game game dynamics are spectacular.

    It is a new tool to create works of art. I understand he didn’t create the landscapes, but neither do I or you in the real world. By all of the trash talk in here it seems as people have lost focus of what art is. The director of photography in a CG film is still that. It includes a viewpoint (camera) and all of the elements are controllable, lighting, angle, exposure, effect, focus, etc. Even post production, cropping, photoshop, colour enhancement, etc are all in the control of this role in film making and in CG too.

    This artist has chosen all of these aspects. I think the work is moving. While there might be hundreds of them on youtube, big deal! there might be 1000’s of songs in the charts but not all of them are good. keep up the good work.

    Anyone who puts this incredible work down in any way doesn’t have an artistic bone in their body and/or is defending their own pitiful body of work. Sorry to you too. Dave.
    p.s. feel free to PM me.

  • Cato

    What’s the name of the track on this progression?

  • Phoenix_Paul

    Apparently few of you are able to recognize sarcasm. I blame that on video games keeping you tied to your screens preventing you from exploring real conversation and seeing the wonders of the real world.
    I find it disturbing that the idea of taking a screenshot of something inside a computer game that was created by someone else, then calling it a photograph and going so far as to label it fine art, is being accepted by anyone! And you certainly can’t compare this with the acceptance of abstract art, which actually is a legitimate artform created by actual artists.
    My point is a computer screenshot of a virtual environment, created by someone else, should, no way, be legitimized by calling it fine art, just because the user has some finesse with moving around in the game to reach places that have a pleasing composition. Calling this fine art is like calling a painting created by an elephant, fine art! Feel free to call it interesting but please don’t accept it as fine art!

  • Jax Personal Trainer

    It’s about the form. I have played games running the far cry 3 engine. This is different in the fact that right now there is no open world sandbox game that comes close to the world we live in today. From going on a jog to running a marathon. To trading live stocks. Name one game that comes close to what’s in gta v that happens in our world on an every day basis.

  • db053772

    i like gta because you can drive cars, listen to popular music, and just chill. i dont want to play a LUSH BEAUTFUL MMORPG, Mech games, or anything like that. i get the guys intent, but graphics arent everything to people like me, the hard core casual