At this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC), Epic Games showed off a new pair of demo videos that show just how capable its Unreal Engine has become thanks to advanced ray tracing technologies.

The first video, seen above, is titled Rebirth and showcases just how photorealistic scenes can be when developed with the gaming engine's technology. The demo, designed by the studio Quixel, highlights how realistic the lighting technology inside Unreal Engine 4 has become.

The demo was created by just three artists who developed it all using a standard version of Unreal and real-world scans from Quixel's Megascans Icelandic collection. The result is a stunning showcase of textures and details that rival reality, as seen in the gallery of screenshots above, captured from the 4K stream.

The second demo is a teaser for an upcoming movie titled Troll. Still in the works, the movie is a collaboration between Deep Forest Films and Goodbye Kansas Studios. The short glimpse we get of it once again highlights just how realistic the animated lighting is in the scene, with the face of a woman being dynamically illuminated by little fire fairies of sorts.

As for what this means in the world of photography, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Aside from the inevitable point in time when we can no longer tell a rendering from an actual image — if it's not already here — the ability to replicate precise lighting situations could open up the door to new software and technology that could not only help to simulate lighting setups in the digital world before testing them out in the real world, but also open up the door to adding realistic lighting to scenes and portraits in post-production.

Keep in mind that unless you're viewing the videos in Google Chrome or Mozilla Forefox on a 4K monitor, you won't be able to see them in their 4K glory. Even in 1080 though, the videos look incredible.