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Animal Crossing: New Horizons locations rendered in photorealistic quality

(Image credit: Weibo)

You don't have to imagine what it would be like to really live in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (opens in new tab) anymore, as someone 3D-rendered several of the game's familiar locations and structures for photorealistic quality.

You can check out a compilation including Nook's Cranny, the museum, the airport, and a house over on Chinese social media site Weibo (opens in new tab), where the animator first shared their work. Seeing as how the system I'm using to share this story doesn't support Weibo's embed format, here are a few grabs from Reddit.

Nook's Cranny in Real Life from r/AnimalCrossing
Mabel and Sable would love this from r/AnimalCrossing
The Museum in Real Life from r/AnimalCrossing

As you can see, it's hard to differentiate these animations from real life. The visuals here put the Unreal 5 engine tech demo to shame. That said, although it's certainly possible to 3D render animations of this quality, it sounds like there may have been some video editing tricks in this case. Reddit user and "professional video editor" WobbityJenkins (opens in new tab) theorized that what we're seeing is actually a composite mixing real-life images with computer renders.

"AKA, only pieces of this were rendered in a 3D program like Blender or Cinema 4D, and then certain assets were used to basically simulate the motion of camera zoom and parallax," wrote the Redditor. "Plus if you look again, you can see that the water doesn't react to the further upside down surfboard. A 3D program's water simulation would have the water reacting differently," they continue.

Either way, it's bloody gorgeous and I want to live there forever.

Here's all the Animal Crossing: New Horizons fish and bugs (opens in new tab) you can catch now that June's here.

Jordan Gerblick
Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.