Are you interested in being a professional gamer? If you are, there are several things that you need to understand. Not only strategies to win games, but you also need to know terms applied in the gaming world. It is important for you to know the terms of gaming because they are related to your performance and comfort while you are playing games. There are a lot of gaming terms, including VSync, tessellation, ambient occlusion, and anti-aliasing.
In this article, we will talk more about anti-aliasing. Have you ever heard this gaming term before? If you are not familiar with it yet, here is everything you need to know about anti-aliasing.
What is Anti-Aliasing?
When you are playing games or using apps, you surely want the pictures in your monitor to be clearly seen. If you play close attention, your monitor displays images from a collection of square pixels. Therefore, these square pixels will form a jagged effect when forming a diagonal or curved object. This is what is often called the Staircase Effect. This Staircase Effect is what the anti-aliasing technology will handle. Nowadays, there are several types of anti-aliasing used and each type has its own pros and cons.
Aliasing itself is rough lines that happen due to low resolution images, resulting in less dense pixels and causing fewer fine lines. So, anti-aliasing is the technology that will overcome this problem. After knowing the definition of anti-aliasing, now you should know the types of anti-aliasing.
Common Anti-Aliasing Types
There are several anti-aliasing types that commonly applied by most users. Each have their own characteristics which offer different benefits.
1. Multi Sample Anti-Aliasing
Multi Sample Anti-Aliasing or MSAA is an anti-aliasing technique that is widely used on apps. The benefit of Multi Sample Anti-Aliasing is that the texture is quite great without too large a performance load. The anti-aliasing techniques that are similar to MSAA are CSAA, which is developed by NVIDIA, and EQAA, which is developed by AMD. Both produce image quality that is similar to MSAA, but with better efficiency.
Basically, MSAA works by taking samples from 2 or more pixels that are aligned to create a more detailed image. If you are a gamer, you will find options for 2x, 4x, and 8x MSAA. These numbers show how many samples that will be used to enhance the quality of the graphics or images. The higher the MSAA used, the greater the effect on your graphics card performance.
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2. Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing
NVIDIA is the creator of Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing or FXAA. FXAA has different ways of working from MSAA. It works by smoothing the 2-dimensional texture that appears on the screen without processing the original 3-dimensional shape of the object. This makes FXAA the most suitable anti-aliasing technique for lower-end PCs. However, the disadvantage of Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing is that the images are not as detailed as MSAA and SSAA.
3. Super Sample Anti-Aliasing
Super Sample Anti-Aliasing or SSAA has a different technique compared to other anti-aliasing techniques. If you ever heard about NVIDIA’s DSR or Dynamic Super Sampling, SSAA does the similar thing. In a nutshell, SSAA will render graphics on games or apps you use with a higher resolution, then compressed back to the size of your monitor’s resolution. This will make the graphics quality become clearer and more detailed.
But the disadvantage of SSAA is its great effect on your graphics card performance due to rendering at higher resolution.
4. Morphological Anti-Aliasing
Basically, Morphological Anti-Aliasing or MLAA has the similar principle with FXAA. It removes jagged effects from object’s textures. Although both do not really affect the performance of the graphics card as with FXAA, MLAA makes images become blurred. You can find Morphological Anti-Aliasing on AMD Radeon Settings, which is the built-in feature of the AMD Radeon graphics card driver.
SMAA is an enhanced Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing. In the previous types of anti-aliasing, it can be concluded that the disadvantage of FXAA and MLAA is blurred textures. Therefore, SMAA is created in order to reduce jagged effects on objects’ textures without making images become blurred.
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6. Temporal Anti-Aliasing
Though SMAA is the enhancement of MLAA and FXAA, this type of anti-aliasing is not able yet to overcome problems with fast moving object textures. Therefore, Temporal Anti-Aliasing or TXAA is present. TXAA is a technique to smooth textures of objects that are moving fast, such as an airplane or race car. Temporal Anti-Aliasing works by giving an addition to the movement of an object and blurs the path of the object’s movement.
Because of this blur effect, TXAA is frequently combined with MSAA or other anti-aliasing types in order to create a clear, unified image. However, you have to know that the disadvantage of Temporal Anti-Aliasing is it has greater effects on your graphics card performance compared to MSAA, SMAA, and FXAA. This is why you are suggested to use TXAA only when necessary.
7. Spatial Anti-Aliasing
Spatial anti-aliasing uses a method of rendering an image or graphic at the highest resolution and then converting it to the resolution you are using. This is what will cause the image or frame displayed in the game to be an image or frame that is at a higher resolution than the resolution you are using. This anti-aliasing type only affects the lines around the object. It usually has setting options like MSAA, SSAA, and FSAA or Full Screen Anti-Aliasing.
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8. Post Processing Anti-Aliasing
This type of anti-aliasing uses a method of smoothing the edges of the image after it is rendered or processed. It smooths all the pixels in the game, including shaders. Moreover, Post Processing Anti-Aliasing also has some settings, just like FXAA, TXAA, SMAA, and MLAA.
Among so many types of anti-aliasing, spatial anti-aliasing and post processing anti-aliasing are the ones that are mostly used in games. Most games do not have the setting that allows you to choose the type of anti-aliasing you want to use. If you want to change it, you can rely on your VGA driver to set up the type of anti-aliasing you prefer to use. That is the definition of anti-aliasing and its types you should know. So, are you ready to be a true, professional gamer?