One of the most popular game settings is anti-aliasing. For newbies, this is terminology that they would not understand. This informational guide will give the meaning of anti-aliasing and their types.
I will also go into details of the best anti-aliasing modes such as Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA), Temporal Anti-aliasing (TXAA), Morphological Anti-aliasing (MLAA), Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA), and Fast approximate Anti-aliasing (FXAA).
Continue reading to learn more.
Best Anti-Aliasing - Which Technique Should You Use?
Anti-aliasing is a technology that is used to remove jaggy or staircase effects from your video games making them appear smooth. So, where do these rough edges or jaggy edges come from?
The images on your monitor are made of tiny rectangular shapes called pixels. However, real objects have rounded corners. When these square pixels try to form rounded objects, they end up with jaggy edges. This is not appealing.
There are many ways of improving this effect and that’s where the best anti-aliasing comes in. No gamer wants jagged edges while playing games. The best anti-aliasing technique will smooth the rough edges in order to have realistic and pleasing images of your games. Read in this article which 32" monitors have good anti aliasing features, or click here for a more broader review. Also, click here if you want to check out our ultrawide vs dual monitor review.
Best types of anti-aliasing techniques
- Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA)
- Temporal Anti-aliasing (TXAA)
- Morphological Anti-aliasing (MLAA)
- Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
- Fast approximate Anti-aliasing (FXAA)
Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA) is the most basic while the advanced one is Fast approximate Anti-aliasing (FXAA). They all work in the same way by making the image more pleasing to the user.
The best technique that you should use should consume less processing power of your computer and should smooth rough edges on all parts of an image.
If you have a powerful computer, I would recommend advanced technologies such as Temporal Anti-aliasing (TXAA) and Fast approximate Anti-aliasing (FXAA) that combines different techniques to offer clear images
Also, the best technique will depend on your gaming needs and the quality of your computer. If rough edges are a result of low resolution, get a monitor with a higher resolution. Smoother edges can give you less eye strain, so look in this post to find out more about it
Having a higher resolution can help alleviate this problem. At 4k, the images are so clear that you will not need anything to improve them. However, if you are not able to afford a new monitor or if a higher resolution will not fix your problem, use the anti-aliasing technique.
It will eliminate any jagged edges that occur by giving them a natural curved shape.
What Is Anti-Aliasing?
What is anti aliasing? Whenever you look closely enough at your display, you will notice tiny pixels that make up the image on the screen. The pixels are tiny rectangular lights and when they make certain images on your screen, jagged edges appear especially when playing video games.
This is where anti-aliasing comes in. This is a technology that is used to smooth jagged lines on your monitor. The problem is easily noticed in low-resolution monitors. This means that high resolutions may alleviate the problem.
However, high resolution cannot fix everything. You will need anti aliasing method to smooth out that jagged appearance. Check out which 240Hz monitors have best anti aliasing features here, or if you are on a tighter budget, look into our reviews.
What is anti-aliasing in games?
This is a method that you can use to eliminate jaggies that appear in your games. So how does anti aliasing work? It produces smoother edges by making corrections to a rough edge.
What Does Anti-Aliasing Do?
You have come to the right place if you are asking yourself this question, “what does anti aliasing do?” Like I have mentioned before, this is a technology that is used widely to give an image a cleaner look by removing rough edges.
Modern games have a few graphics settings to choose from and one of them is anti-aliasing. The settings are included so you can get the best performance for your hardware. Anti-aliasing improves the quality of your image by reducing the jaggies.
This is a technology that has come a long way. If you played games on your outdated monitor, you may have noticed your game with a distinctive blocky look which was not appealing.
These issues have been alleviated by having a higher resolution, trying to make pixels smaller, or applying anti-aliasing techniques to improve the picture.
With higher resolutions, it is hard to notice the jagged edges even when anti aliasing on or off. This is the reason why some gamers won’t notice any difference with their games when they mess with anti aliasing settings.
Is anti aliasing good?
Yes, this is an important setting that aims to improve gaming graphics. It reduces the aliasing effect on the image so you can enjoy your gameplay.
Different Types of Anti-Aliasing
Although there are different types of anti-aliasing, they all smooth out jagged lines on your monitor. Some methods are more popular and even advanced than others. Others are old such as multi-sampling anti-aliasing that uses the sampling method.
MSAA is an efficient process since it cuts down computing power needed to smooth out the rough edges of images. Towards the early ‘10s, it is not available anymore in games since more advanced methods have been developed.
Getting the best result with any of them will depend on the hardware that you have and your needs.
Here are different types of anti-aliasing at a glance
1. Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA)
2. Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA)
3. Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
4. Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
5. Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA)
All of these methods will improve picture quality. I would recommend choosing an antialiasing mode that will not consume a lot of CPU processing power. These techniques work by either blurring the rough edges of images or by the sampling method.
The sampling method works by delivering a higher no. of pixels to increase image quality.
Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA)
This is one of the most popular anti-aliasing techniques. It removes the unwanted jaggies that make gameplay less enjoyable. It uses the sampling method of increasing the sample rate.
It gives a perfect balance between performance and quality. It is worth noting that MSAA is a major improvement over SSAA (supersampling anti-aliasing) which was the oldest and primitive method of smoothing out the rough edges of an image.
How it works
It samples 2 or 3 adjacent pixels together at a very high resolution. This smooths out the edges of polygons. This is the main reason why MSAA is much faster than SSAA.
It produces one of the best image qualities. This is because it uses edge detection algorithms to detect aliasing then corrects the problem.
It is a method that is worth your time but will depend on the games that you play and your computer setup. Although there are many computer games that you play, it is not in newer games.
This is because there are advanced anti-aliasing methods that have been developed that are most effective, consume less processing power, and do not make images blurry.
Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA)
If you are looking for an advanced anti-aliasing method, go with TXAA. It is also a relatively new type of anti-aliasing that is only found in newer graphics cards from companies like AMD and Nvidia.
It combines different techniques to correct the problem of aliasing. It is very effective hence no more jaggies that tend to distract players or make gameplay less satisfying. This advanced method produces decent results all the time.
It is a very good technique since it won’t consume so much processing power of your machine and produces images that are of good quality.
How it works
Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TXAA) was introduced by Nvidia to get rid of the jagged edges of your images. It uses complex and unique technology to solve the problem of aliasing. These are the raw power of MSAA with resolve filters and a temporal filter similar used in CG films.
It uses samples both outside and inside each pixel to deliver high-quality images.
Keep in mind that it can be demanding on your hardware. To see improvements with this anti alias method, you need a high-end computer. Also, newer games are better suited to this technique.
Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
This is another technique that will remove those jagged edges from your images that occur when your anti-aliasing setting is turned off.
It is a method that uses post-processing filters to eliminate aliasing. This means that it applies to the whole scene after it has been rendered which makes it very effective.
It is more efficient than older techniques of anti-aliasing and catches edges inside textures which these old techniques miss.
How it works
This is a filtering technique. It actively looks for the jagged edges in images then fixes them. It achieves this by identifying discontinuity patterns then blends colors with these patterns to achieve anti-aliasing.
This makes it less demanding on the hardware. The hardware requirements of this method are CPU that is dual-core or better, RAM of 2GB or better, Microsoft DirectX 9c capable graphics card, and Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Keep in mind that this technique balances performance and quality, unlike TXAA technique that prioritizes quality over performance.
Choose this method if you have a computer with the above specifications or if you are worried about slowdown on your game. It does not consume a lot of processing power hence you do not require strong gaming hardware.
Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
If you are a PC gamer like me, then you may have heard about Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA) because it is one of the first methods to be developed. It is a spatial anti-aliasing method that will remove jagged edges from images in computer games.
How it works
As its name implies, anti-aliasing is achieved by super sampling the images then render them at a higher resolution. From this larger resolution, the method then downsamples the images.
The problem with this method is that it requires a huge amount of computing power and that’s the reason is not in gaming anymore. It is a great option if you have a high-end computer or a powerful PC with good specifications in order for it to work smoothly.
I would not recommend it to anyone with an old PC because it can slow down its performance.
Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA)
This is also one of the most popular anti-aliasing methods on the market right now. It was created by NVIDIA to provide a fast and easy way of adding anti-aliasing to your games.
Gamers love this technique because it removes jaggies with no performance impact. Also, it is the simplest and easiest thing to use and integrate.
It is a clever hack than MSAA because it ignores line edges and polygons and analyzes the pixels on the monitor. It is very fast, it takes about 1.3 milliseconds per frame to reduce aliasing.
If you have this technique in your game, enable it immediately because it is good. It is less demanding on your PC hence no need to turn it off when playing your games.
It is a great option for gamers who do not have a high-end PC because it does not consume a lot of processing power of your machine.
How it works
It does not run calculations on the colors and geometry of a game; instead, it blurs the rough edges. This makes the image a bit blurry and this is not preferred by many gamers. Keep in mind that it smooths out all the edges of the images of a game.
Which one is best for you?
Aliasing is without a doubt a nightmare. It can distract from your game and gives the worst experience because of the jaggies created. So what is the best method to solve this problem?
I know it can be a little bit confusing because there are many methods to choose from. The best method will depend on your needs, types of games you play, and the specifications of your computer.
MSAA is best suited for midrange gaming computers. Also, choose MSAA if you are looking for a perfect balance between performance and quality. Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA) produces one of the best image qualities and is much faster than SSAA.
FXAA is perfect for low-end PCs because it is less demanding on your PC. It is simple and easy to integrate and images that have been anti-aliased look good.
If you have an old PC, do not choose Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA). It consumes a lot of processing power making it suitable for powerful computers only.
TXAA is an advanced anti-aliasing method that is found in new graphics cards. I would recommend it to anyone looking for the best anti-aliasing method since it is very effective.
This means that it produces very good results and is less demanding on your computer. MLAA is also less demanding on hardware and balances performance and quality.
1. Is Fxaa better than MSAA?
Yes. FXAA stands for Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing, and it's an even more devious hack than MSAA, as it ignores polygons and line edges in favor of analyzing individual pixels on the screen. It is a pixel shader program that runs each frame in a matter of milliseconds or less, as documented in this PDF.
2. Which anti-aliasing technique is more expensive?
Super Sampling AA is computationally expensive, but provides the highest quality possible. The performance penalty increases as sample size increases (2x, 4x, 8x, 16x), but so does the quality penalty.
3. What anti-aliasing should I use Valorant?
You have the option of MSAA 2X or MSAA 4X, and that's it. The good news is that MSAA, or Multiple-Sample Anti-Aliasing, appears to be completely transparent. That is critical in a competitive game such as Valorant. The disadvantage is that MSAA is slightly more computationally intensive than a post-processing filter such as FXAA.
4. Should I Enable 4x MSAA?
You can improve your gaming performance by activating the Force 4x MSAA setting in Android Developer Options. It forces your phone's OpenGL 2.0 games and apps to use 4x multisample anti-aliasing. However, enabling this setting will cause your smartphone's battery to drain more quickly.
5. Is MSAA 2x good?
MSAA will perform optimally on newer games if you have a mid-range or higher GPU. FXAA - This technique requires shader units and a small amount of memory bandwidth. FXAA is essentially 'free' on a GPU in the mid-range or higher. FXAA literally blurs all the edges, whereas MSAA looks good but is quite taxing.