|QUOTE (GTA-King @ Saturday, Feb 9 2013, 17:34)|
| Well yeah. But for this particular photo, I thought you guys were saying it was built from the ground up using nothing but photoshop... which would make it a fake. But that's not the case. |
Well, when people say screens are "photoshopped," they aren't implying that they are faked by amateurs, they're referring to the idea that the developers themselves are touching up images (which is the primary purpose of Photoshop, by the way; making images out of scratch from it is a not an intended use of the software, at least not originally) to make the graphics look better, for advertising purposes.
It's probably true that they use Photoshop or similar software to touch up images to a certain degree, such as adjusting lighting and hue levels, or adding artistic depth of field, to best fit the desired 'mood' of the given screenshot. However, I doubt they use it to, for instance, recreate an entire area in higher fidelity than is possible. Quite simply, stuff like that isn't a result of post-processing but rather differences between the shader engine as it is during development and as it is at release. Some things they may have to sacrifice during the optimization process, or they can simply tune things up to a higher level because they don't have to worry about running the game at a high framerate when taking a screenshot. This is especially obvious when you notice that many of their attempts to 'touch up' images are quite obvious and surprisingly amateurish, so I doubt their guys have the skills to completely recreate the graphics for us.
Probably the biggest thing, however, is that with a screenshot, they can painstakingly choose the best lighting and positioning set-up to get the best out of the graphics. Anyone who's played R*'s games know that there's times when the graphics look almost real, and times when they're not so good, which can change primarily because of the time of day and weather conditions. Usually we end up averaging out those times to judge the graphics as a whole. However, R* can ensure that each and every screenshot looks great, and they end up looking disproportionately good. They can move the sun in impossible positions to achieve breathtaking sights, and adjust the lighting levels ingame in ways that we'd have to constantly adjust if we want it at the same fidelity. Things like that.
So there's several reasons why screenshots might end up looking better than the final game that have nothing to do with post-processing touching up.