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
mZuzek said:
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.

SSAA, and MSAA shouldn't really blur the image at all if implemented properly (without bugs.) They work by rendering the entire image or specific assets at higher internal resolutions and then using an average of the colors provided by the extra pixels to output to the screen as a single pixel, which makes the pixel transitions look smoother than they would otherwise. SSAA does this to the whole image, while MSAA does it only to those parts which require it the most. 

Post-processing AA effects are a different category really -- they only blur the image in different ways so that hard-edges and shimmering aren't noticeable, but often with a loss of sharpness. Which is probably what you are noticing. 

Console games used to use MSAA (in the seventh generation), but because of the way game engines are designed these days, and because it might be worth it to just render the game at a higher resolution this has gone out of favor. Now console games mostly use crappy FXAA, temporal AA, or SMAA. 

Personally, since they are post-processing effects, I think they should ALWAYS be optional. 



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mZuzek said:
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.

That depends on the solution. MSAA and SMAA are good at keeping blurring at bay (though the former is terrible for foliage and the latter isn't as effective at curbing other geometrical jaggies as FXAA nor TAA/TXAA are). Really, in this age of higher resolutions/Resolution Scale, I much prefer SS.



                                                                                                             

sc94597 said:
mZuzek said:
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.

SSAA, and MSAA shouldn't really blur the image at all if implemented properly (without bugs.) They work by rendering the entire image or specific assets at higher internal resolutions and then using an average of the colors provided by the extra pixels to output to the screen as a single pixel, which makes the pixel transitions look smoother than they would otherwise. SSAA does this to the whole image, while MSAA does it only to those parts which require it the most. 

Post-processing AA effects are a different category really -- they only blur the image in different ways so that hard-edges and shimmering aren't noticeable, but often with a loss of sharpness. Which is probably what you are noticing. 

Console games used to use MSAA (in the seventh generation), but because of the way game engines are designed these days, and because it might be worth it to just render the game at a higher resolution this has gone out of favor. Now console games mostly use crappy FXAA, temporal AA, or SMAA. 

Personally, since they are post-processing effects, I think they should ALWAYS be optional. 

MSAA won't work on on things like foliage unless it is real geometry.




Thanks for making me and that other guy a thread...I guess...Not that I needed someone to explain to me what the different types of AA are or explain that they require resources...but thanks.

Nintendo doesn't use AA to the degree other companies do because they don't prioritize it. That's all. Every developer needs to decide how to best allocate their resources and Nintendo doesn't value AS. For me, as someone who is really sensitive to aliasing, it bugs me.



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Normchacho said:
Thanks for making me and that other guy a thread...I guess...Not that I needed someone to explain to me what the different types of AA are or explain that they require resources...but thanks.

Nintendo doesn't use AA to the degree other companies do because they don't prioritize it. That's all. Every developer needs to decide how to best allocate their resources and Nintendo doesn't value AS. For me, as someone who is really sensitive to aliasing, it bugs me.

Nintendo should try to offer their consumers a choice.
SMAA and FXAA are fast enough to not really drag down performance.
Given that they don't seem to want to give users the option I can see the reason they don't use FXAA, not sure about SMAA though.
Maybe we will see change in the future.

Temporal AA can be great, but can also destroy image quality.
For a company that does not like offer choice, I can see why some teams in Nintendo decide not to use it.




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The explanations are obviously extremely simplified... And there are far more Anti-Aliasing modes than what was presented in that explanation, Some AA methods are hybrids of several other approaches. (I.E. A mix of both MSAA and FXAA)

Hopefully some users find value in your post going forward.



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At least, this post gets the basics right, thanks !



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SGSSAA was my preferred choice when I used to game at 1080p, it is hands down the best AA solution I've ever used.



caffeinade said:
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.

I'm not sure I have much choice usually, so there's not much 'giving a shot' to do. I'll try to keep it in mind, though, in case I do get the choice some time.

Adaptive temporal AA crossed my mind as well... It sounds neat and not very difficult, but I'm not sure about performance. It sounds like a really simple idea so if it really isn't common, I'm going to assume low performance is the culprit.



I don't believe there's any excuse for a game releasing these days not to use at least some form of AA, unless of course its using 2D pixel art. Even relatively low cost post-process and temporal solutions look better than the nasty crawling jaggies that results from no AA at all.

Last edited by curl-6 - on 05 December 2017

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