Forums - Gaming Discussion - Anti-Aliasing: A VGC Thread

What is your prefered AA method?

SSAA 8 53.33%
 
MSAA 3 20.00%
 
SMAA 2 13.33%
 
FXAA 0 0.00%
 
TAA 2 13.33%
 
Total:15

So I decided to make a thread about Anti-aliasing, hopefully people can learn something from it.

MSAA (Multi Sample Anti Aliasing) basically just renders geometry at a higher resolution.
SSAA (Super Sampling Aniti Aliasing) Just renders everything at a higher resolution.
FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti Aliasing) Pretty much just blurs the whole screen.
SMAA (Subpixel Morphological Anti Aliasing) Detects edges and blurs them.
TAA (Temporal Anti Aliasing) Takes information from previous frames

MSAA and SSAA:
If you are using MSAA or SSAA (or something that behaves in a similar manner) it is fantastic.
With MSAA and SSAA you are just rendering at a higher resolution and using the information to output a more accurate image.
This is kinda the one way to do it, if you want the best results.
Depending on the resolution used and how much AA you apply (4xMSAA, 16xMSAA, ect) you may or may not remove all the aliasing, but you will not harm image quality.
The image will not be blurry.
Both methods are super expensive, especially for a tablet.

FXAA:
It sucks.
It blurs everything, even the textures.
It is a post process effect that is pretty much just a blur filter.
It has next to no performance penalty.

SMAA:
It is similar to FXAA but it detects edges in the final render and blurs them.
It is a post process effect that sometimes harms textures, but is otherwise decent.
It has a limited performance penalty.

Temporal Anti-aliasing:
Essentially takes previous frames and the new frame and averages the results.
It is, perhaps, the most complex mainstream AA method.
Downsides include Blur and Ugly artifacting.
Artifacting is most prominent when the camera moves or there are fast moving objects in a scene.
Textures are harmed by this method.
It can look really good in stationary scenes, it does a really good job at removing jagged edges.


So to put the major AA methods in order of what I personally would use:
SSAA, it really is the best
MSAA, it is a good compromise if you cannot afford SSAA
SMAA, it works and does not harm the image quality too much
FXAA, it is better than having temporal artifacts
Temporal anti-aliasing, destroys the image in motion but can be really good if nothing is moving

When people say: "why doesn't Nintendo use AA".
Well this is why.
AA is complicated, if you don't have the power to do it properly, you risk image quality.
That being said, they should give people the option to enable SMAA.



Around the Network

I remember reading a great article on anti-aliasing before, I can't remember what it was though. I also personally can't tell which form of AA a game is using if I'm not told which.



Yeah, unless they use SSAA or MSAA I'd rather they not even bother, especially if the base resolution is 1080p or higher. Doom for the Switch is an example of a game that goes way too far with the anti-aliasing.



I once made a topic like this. Good to see others trying to inform those who may not understand the more technical side of things.



                                                                                                             

VGPolyglot said:
I remember reading a great article on anti-aliasing before, I can't remember what it was though. I also personally can't tell which form of AA a game is using if I'm not told which.

To be fair, there are a lot of methods.
These are just the big ones.




Around the Network

But da Ninteendo obviously hates AA xdddddddd



Whichever is available and is the best according to the settings.



    

Basil's YouTube Channel


                    

Good thread, I didn't remember all the details anymore (and I'm not sure I ever had enough information on temporal AA anyway).

Anyway, I'm OK with FXAA. As far as I've seen, it doesn't really make the image too blurry but it does eliminate the jaggies well enough. Of course I prefer better methods if I have the processing power, but I'd much rather use the extra power for more noticeable things than better AA. Whenever given the exact choice, I rarely go above 2xAA because it seems to be the biggest help and I don't care about further improvements enough to bother playing with the settings to see if I can go higher. Of course with older games, the choice is easy: I can go higher, period.



As a whole I don't like anti-aliasing because it just blurs everything too much. I'd rather take crisper visuals (even if the pixels show a lot more) any day, especially given how much it impacts performance.

Then again, I know nothing about the technical stuff, so quickly glancing at the OP maybe the anti-aliasing that bothers me is FXAA and there are better kinds.



Zkuq said:

Good thread, I didn't remember all the details anymore (and I'm not sure I ever had enough information on temporal AA anyway).

Anyway, I'm OK with FXAA. As far as I've seen, it doesn't really make the image too blurry but it does eliminate the jaggies well enough. Of course I prefer better methods if I have the processing power, but I'd much rather use the extra power for more noticeable things than better AA. Whenever given the exact choice, I rarely go above 2xAA because it seems to be the biggest help and I don't care about further improvements enough to bother playing with the settings to see if I can go higher. Of course with older games, the choice is easy: I can go higher, period.

SMAA is subjectively better than FXAA, and is only a slight bit slower.
I recommend giving it a shot.
Both methods have almost zero impact on PCs (consoles too, but they don't often get a say in the matter).

Temporal AA is cool, but is has too many downsides in the implementations I have seen.
Hopefully some day in the future we can get a smarter, more accurate method of doing it.
Developers could probably devise a method that uses it only in slower scenes, or on select portions of the screen.

Adaptive Temporal Anti-Aliasing, sounds pretty cool.