How Did This GTA 5 Mod Make Los Santos So Beautiful?

The creator of the GTA 5 mod The Pinnacle of V explains how he transformed Los Santos into a photorealistic dream.

By now, you have no doubt seen what Josh Romito’s GTA 5 mod The Pinnacle of V can do to Los Santos and rural San Andreas.

In case you haven’t seen the mod before, check out the gallery below to see the most stunning graphics in a GTA game ever (maybe the most stunning graphics in a video game ever).

To see more screenshots or to download this GTA 5 mod right now, click here.

I reached out to the man behind this GTA 5 mod, Josh Romito, to find out what he did to make San Andreas so beautiful. He explained that The Pinnacle of V’s first release was all the way back in July and had working on the project for months in the lead up to the initial release with help from the community and other developers.

They were able to create the final product seen above by shader injecting, courtesy of ReShade Framework and ENB by Boris Vorontsov. Using techniques such as tone-mapping, filmic curve’s, a custom made colour LUT to override the games original colour pallet, vibrance, HDR and more, from ReShade, Romito was able to obtain the final colour grade and image tone. The ENB provided by Vorontsov offers the enhanced reflections as well as different lighting strengths and techniques to vary sky, star and cloud intensity while enhancing the MSAA and vehicle deformation.

Surprisingly, the shader injecting is only a minor part of what makes this GTA 5 mod so aesthetically stunning. The large changes are from the edits to the game’s weather system and visual files. Totally reworking lighting system and colour balance for every time of day while removing the post-FX (chromatic aberration, vignetting, lens flare artifacts, etc.) is the core of this GTA 5 mod. This allowed Romito and friends to increase puddle size and rain amounts, add new and different ground mist effects, increase the distance that reflections spawn, increase shadow intensity, allow for more objects and particle effects to create shadows. Wheel effects such as tire tracks in the dirt, grass and gravel were also heavily altered along with plant density, wind reaction from plants.

In our correspondence, Romito admitted that he was barely skimming the surface of visual tweaks. Take, for example, the textures in the new  Water, plants, roads, clouds, blood, fire, vehicle brands, broken overlays, police lights, flash lights, distance light, corona and so many more were all originally cut and crafted textures with custom made normal and spec maps. Plus, Romito’s GTA 5 mod mixes all the visual tweaks with added destruction, increased population, revamped vehicle spawning, an overhauled weapons system (complete with audio), realistic vehicle speeds and handling, enhanced explosion, more random events.

I do not fault Romito for only scratching the surface as trying to explain the sheer scale, the amount of effort and attention this project required to some cold-calling video game blogger just doesn’t seem worth it. But there is one thing that’s crystal clear to me. This isn’t just a GTA 5 mod. It’s an entirely new experience altogether.

As he said, “It’s…The Pinnacle of V.”

From all of us at GameAddik, we want to congratulate Josh Romito and all the devs that contributed to The Pinnacle of V. Their work has totally revamped GTA 5 and their viral success is well deserved.

Worried that all this effort would go to waste, I also asked Romito if he was apprehensive about modding GTA 5 ever since the story of private investigators hired by Take Two showed up at modders’ homes. “Not at all,” he said. “My mod was never intended for use online, and as far as I know, it simply can’t be used that way at all. There are features that come with OpenIV–the software required to install the mod–that prevents players from going online with modified rpf files. I never had intentions of creating something for online use, so for me, there was not a worry in my mind!”

Thank goodness. Success and peace of mind rarely go hand in hand, but we’re happy that Josh Romito can enjoy the fruits of his labour without worry. Well done, Josh.

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