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Why does anti-aliasing never seem to work in games (PC)?

OZ9000

Member
I'm currently playing Resident Evil 5 on PC and despite setting it at x8 AA in game, it still looks like shit and there are jaggies everywhere. In fact, there is ZERO difference between AA off, 2x, 4x, and 8x in RE5.

How do I force MSAA?

Using the Nvidia control panel does absolutely nothing.

This seems to be an issue in most PC titles I try. Destiny 2 also looks like shit regardless of whether you turn on FXAA or SMAA.

The only viable solution is to use 4K however my current GPU is not capable of running modern titles at 4K.

I am able to downsample RE5 4k to 1080p and it looks great, although I lose ALT+TAB functionality. I would prefer to render the game at 1080p native with good AA.
 
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Reizo Ryuu

Member
There was a rendering change a couple of years ago, and many don't work with MSAA (I also think control panel options only work with DX9).
 

winjer

Member
If you are so sensitive to shimmering and jaggies, then playing at 1080p is a bad idea. You should consider going to 1440p or 4K. This will help mitigate the issue.
The other thing to consider is that RE5 is an old game with old AA techniques. It doesn't have any temporal solutions.
Destiny is a modern game, but strangely enough, it also doesn't have TAA implemented.
 

01011001

Member
I'm currently playing Resident Evil 5 on PC and despite setting it at x8 AA in game, it still looks like shit and there are jaggies everywhere. In fact, there is ZERO difference between AA off, 2x, 4x, and 8x in RE5.

How do I force MSAA?

Using the Nvidia control panel does absolutely nothing.

This seems to be an issue in most PC titles I try. Destiny 2 also looks like shit regardless of whether you turn on FXAA or SMAA.

The only viable solution is to use 4K however my current GPU is not capable of running modern titles at 4K.

I am able to downsample RE5 4k to 1080p and it looks great, although I lose ALT+TAB functionality. I would prefer to render the game at 1080p native with good AA.

so first of all FXAA is dogshit and looks worse than no AA, so never ever use that.

secondly, modern games basically rely on good TAA, and TAA should give you a clean image, but it will be a tad soft and/or has artifacts.

the currently best solution is to have an Nvidia RTX card and either hope that a game supports DLSS or to use DLDSR 1.78x to downsample

I for example use DLDSR in Splitgate because I don't like the game's native AA, and because I can easily play the game at ridiculously high resolutions at 144fps anyways.
so now I play at ~1800p downsampled using DL to 1440p, and it looks crisp af
 
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HL3.exe

Neo Member
When multi-buffered rendering styles became the norm, let's say 15 years ago (GTA IV was one of the first big ones). Deferred rendering allows more then 4 realtime lights and shadow casters in one frame. This became a problem for traditional AA solutions like MSAA who rely on forward-rendering techniques.

That's why post-AA became a thing like FXAA and SMAA. Temporal injectors are now the norm with TAA.

But if you want to force AA solutions in older games that do not have proper solution: try downsampling, or download Reshade.
 
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Allandor

Member
MSAA does not work well when heavy post processing is applied. And Most aliasing we see today is shader-aliasing. Only downsampling/supersampling or Post-Processing AA/TAA works well with that. If you don't like the later, ... well you can only through more hardware on it and use supersampling. Which won't reduce shimmering btw, for this you need a post-AA-solution.

Btw, you can see MSAA in action in a current game in Forza games. You still see many edges (even hat 4k + MSAA). Only a slight temporal solution on top will help there.
 
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Hoddi

Member
You can enable SGSSAA in RE5 by following this guide here. It's basically the holy grail of antialiasing and doesn't need a high-end GPU in RE5. It only works in DX9 mode though.

There's otherwise little you can do about Destiny because both AA methods are crap. I ended up disabling AA and using downsampling which looks far better. The newer DLDSR should give you similar results but with better performance.
 
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01011001

Member
2070 Super

then open the Nvidia control panel, go to global 3D settings, and under DSR enable DLDSR 1.78x
this shoukd give you higher screen resolution options in-game and it uses Nvidia's deep learning to downsample and allow really good AA from lower resolutions than you'd normally need to get a good DSR result
 

OZ9000

Member
You can enable SGSSAA in RE5 by following this guide here. It's basically the holy grail of antialiasing and doesn't need a high-end GPU in RE5. It only works in DX9 mode though.

There's otherwise little you can do about Destiny because both AA methods are crap. I ended up disabling AA and using downsampling which looks far better. The newer DLDSR should give you similar results but with better performance.
Thanks.

This improves the AA dramatically. It makes the image look soft, however ZERO jaggies.

Might just inject some sharpening with Reshade to counter balance.
 

OZ9000

Member
then open the Nvidia control panel, go to global 3D settings, and under DSR enable DLDSR 1.78x
this shoukd give you higher screen resolution options in-game and it uses Nvidia's deep learning to downsample and allow really good AA from lower resolutions than you'd normally need to get a good DSR result
Honestly this is why I am looking forward to the RTX 4070 so I can get a card which can brute force 4K in every game.

I do not see any jaggies when I play games at 4K.
 

Braag

Member
You're always better off increasing the resolution to get rid of aliasing. MSAA is an old ass AA method which hits the performance hard and the higher you go (x4, x8 x16) the less of a difference you notice in image quality but the hit on performance gets crazy.
 

JimboJones

Member
so first of all FXAA is dogshit and looks worse than no AA, so never ever use that.

secondly, modern games basically rely on good TAA, and TAA should give you a clean image, but it will be a tad soft and/or has artifacts.

the currently best solution is to have an Nvidia RTX card and either hope that a game supports DLSS or to use DLDSR 1.78x to downsample

I for example use DLDSR in Splitgate because I don't like the game's native AA, and because I can easily play the game at ridiculously high resolutions at 144fps anyways.
so now I play at ~1800p downsampled using DL to 1440p, and it looks crisp af
Only problem I have with DLDSR is when I select the resolution in game it chooses that resolution at 60htz.
I can get around it by switching the desktop resolution but it's a little annoying.
 

Hoddi

Member
Thanks.

This improves the AA dramatically. It makes the image look soft, however ZERO jaggies.

Might just inject some sharpening with Reshade to counter balance.
I forgot to add that you ideally want to adjust the texture filtering LOD bias when using SGSSAA. You'll find it down the list in Nvidia Inspector.

Try setting it to -1.0 if you're using 4x SSAA (or -0.5 if 2x SSAA) and make sure that Negative LOD Bias set to Allowed.
 
One of the downsides of PC gaming.
Excuse Me Reaction GIF by Mashable
 

yamaci17

Member
Truthfully I find AA to be problematic in PC games.

In game settings sometimes do F all.
why do you feel the need of generalization? how many samples you have?

out of hundreds game i've played over 20 years, there were maybe a handful of situations where their AA did not function. does that make any sense to you?





this is a game issue, not a PC issue. as others have said, MSAA/SMAA/FXAA cannot eliminate shader aliasing. that's why TAA is invented. pre-TAA era, all games had jaggies here and there, whether they were on ps3 or pc or xbox 360. that is why TAA is seen as holy grail because it practically fixed issues like these that no other AA can solve. what is there not to understand?

destiny 2 is a game where heavy deferred rendering is used but opted out of TAA. ask their devs to implement TAA. it will look shimmery and jaggedy on all platforms except series x or ps5, which can push 4k. you can push 1251252152152152156x MSAA, you will never get rid of shader aliasing. MSAA literally cannot do anything above shader aliasing. Unless you support it with temporal elements, which takes us back to TAA
 
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Xyphie

Member
Truthfully I find AA to be problematic in PC games.

In game settings sometimes do F all.

Probably has more to do with monitors having full pixel sharpness by default compared to TVs which typically doesn't. Pretty rare that a PC game offers lesser AA options than a console version.
 
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JimboJones

Member
Truthfully I find AA to be problematic in PC games.

In game settings sometimes do F all.
And yet the only solution on consoles is either what developers implement or buying a marseille m cable which is basically like paying $100 for a fxaa reshade filter.
 

flying_sq

Member
TAA looks like complete trash to me, I just keep it off. Ever since they moved from msaa I normally just down sample now.
 

01011001

Member
Only problem I have with DLDSR is when I select the resolution in game it chooses that resolution at 60htz.
I can get around it by switching the desktop resolution but it's a little annoying.

that should not happen... weird. Never had that issue
 

OZ9000

Member
Probably has more to do with monitors having full pixel sharpness by default compared to TVs which typically doesn't. Pretty rare that a PC game offers lesser AA options than a console version.
I play all my PC games on a TV.

Granted this is probably because I am currently playing older games where AA is a disaster. Many in game options do not seem to work at all.

Halo Infinite also has really bad AA though (a modern PC title).
 
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Kuranghi

Member
SGSSAA is the way if you can get it working with the title, I was playing Dead Space 2 in 8K with that and it looked amazeballs, locked 60fps in gameplay, closeups of alpha effects in a few "cutscenes" drop the fps momentarily, must need more headroom to lock it there:


You have to click through on each image and select show full resolution then view them fullscreen to get the full effect of course. ImgBB appears to be down just now though.

I forgot to add that you ideally want to adjust the texture filtering LOD bias when using SGSSAA. You'll find it down the list in Nvidia Inspector.

Try setting it to -1.0 if you're using 4x SSAA (or -0.5 if 2x SSAA) and make sure that Negative LOD Bias set to Allowed.

This + you maybe need to apply the proper AA bits to stop it being blurry (or more artifacts and sometimes even more aliased paradoxically), that happened to me in Dead Space 1 until I found the correct bits, which took ages, as I had to eschew perfect super-sampling to avoid shadow and lighting artifacts but I fixed it somehow, not sure how but I ended up with insanely sharp, detail and no aliasing even on transparencies:

 

yamaci17

Member
I play all my PC games on a TV.

Granted this is probably because I am currently playing older games where AA is a disaster. Many in game options do not seem to work at all.

Halo Infinite also has really bad AA though (a modern PC title).
so it has good AA on console? which resolution do you play? what do you compare it against?


this video is fake then?








I rest my case.
 
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OZ9000

Member
I'm
so it has good AA on console? which resolution do you play? what do you compare it against?


this video is fake then?








I rest my case.
You seem to be triggered. I don't own any consoles. I exclusively play games on PC.

The image quality looks very good at 4K but full of edge aliasing when I play at 1080p.
 
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as others said, the move to deferred rendering introduced AA incompatibilities.

forget MSAA; it's super expensive and misses a lot of jaggies.
get another GPU and just do 4k + temporal/post-processing AA.

@1080p, FXAA looks bad, and TXAA looks like absolutely garbage.
@4k, FXX looks decent, and TXAA looks super clean.
and if you have any remaining power, downsample from a higher res.

first thing i did with my first 4k panel was play dark souls w/ an internal res of 8k. 1080p on PC was dead to me after that.
 

OZ9000

Member
as others said, the move to deferred rendering introduced AA incompatibilities.

forget MSAA; it's super expensive and misses a lot of jaggies.
get another GPU and just do 4k + temporal/post-processing AA.

@1080p, FXAA looks bad, and TXAA looks like absolutely garbage.
@4k, FXX looks decent, and TXAA looks super clean.
and if you have any remaining power, downsample from a higher res.

first thing i did with my first 4k panel was play dark souls w/ an internal res of 8k. 1080p on PC was dead to me after that.
Yup just waiting for the 4000 series so I can play 4K for all games. The resolution increase alone does wonder for AA.

I should note some games have superb implementation of AA, such as Doom 2016/Doom Eternal. Not a single jaggy in sight.

I remember Mass Effect 2 and 3 being a pain in the ass to get good AA. I tried forcing via Nvidia Inspector and using every compatibility code but it appeared to have zero effect. Unfortunately using 4K made the UI look abysmally small lol.
 
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AA was really problematic when engines started using deferred rending that was incompatible with MSAA. So 1080p was a crawlie mess and FXAA or SMAA could do very little to clean the image up. So it was either playing at much higher native resolutions or use downsampling, both needing much more GPU horsepower.

Luckily most modern engines nowadays have TAA which combined with a little sharpening works wonders to clean up the image, even at 1080p. I say most because there are notable exceptions, like the Forza engine.
 

Ev1L AuRoN

Member
Very few engines today support MSAA. Most engines have their own AA tech. TAA being the standard.
If you force MSAA via driver in most games won't do anything.
 
dont forget to play with in-game settings to make older GPUs more performant at 4k--most "ultra" and even "very high" settings can be very expensive with little comparative visual return.

shadows res, AO, volumetrics... you can usually turn those down while turning everything else up and get respectable performance at 4k on older GPUs.
 

Krathoon

Member
I for one, like the jaggies. I just increase the resolution 2x on DuckStation because I like it to still have the jagginess of old PlayStation games, but at a higher resolution.
 

flying_sq

Member
as others said, the move to deferred rendering introduced AA incompatibilities.

forget MSAA; it's super expensive and misses a lot of jaggies.
get another GPU and just do 4k + temporal/post-processing AA.

@1080p, FXAA looks bad, and TXAA looks like absolutely garbage.
@4k, FXX looks decent, and TXAA looks super clean.
and if you have any remaining power, downsample from a higher res.

first thing i did with my first 4k panel was play dark souls w/ an internal res of 8k. 1080p on PC was dead to me after that.
I normally game at 1440p, everything seemed super fuzzy in RDR2, I turned off TAA and I was shocked at how much texture detail TAA just removes.
 
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01011001

Member
I used CRU to get rid of some resolutions, seems to have fixed the issue now.

you can only enable a single resoltion in the nvidia settings. I only have DLDSR x1.78 on, which is ~1900p if you play on a 1440p monitor. no other resolution is turned on for me
 
I normally game at 1440p, everything seemed super fuzzy in RDR2, I turned off TAA and I was shocked at how much texture detail TAA just removes.
While that's true in RDR2, disabling TAA also introduce heavy shimmering, especially on foliage. The game however does need much higher strength sharpening to add the fine detail back again. I think I used both in-game (5 ticks from min) and NVCP (40%) which gave a nice balanced image with minimal aliasing good amount of detail at 1080p.
 

ACESHIGH

Member
I just get my glasses off to inject natural post AA like TAA. Works wonders and saves some rendering time from the GPU.
 
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