Anti-Aliasing in Games: How to Remove Jagged Edges in Gaming Imagery?

Modern-day games are highly immersive compared to olden-day games. Images were basic in the old games of the late 90s. Old computer monitors were nothing compared to today’s resolution and intensity standards. Processors were not built to handle motion and image processing like today’s machines. 

You would have noticed irregularities of images while playing a game. Sometimes smooth curves of objects appear step-like or jagged. This is called aliasing. Aliasing occurs because your device doesn’t have resolution specifications to handle the graphics of the game. To eliminate aliasing during gaming you need to know what is anti-aliasing in games

What Is Anti Aliasing in Games?

Anti-aliasing also referred to as dithering or oversampling is a set of techniques to reduce these effects and provide a higher-quality image. These techniques have been enhancing 3D gaming presentation quality for a long time.

Aliasing doesn’t just occur in PC gaming. You will also notice it when you use low-resolution images in Photoshop. The jagged, step-like outline around the edges of a smooth image you find is called aliasing as well. Anti-aliasing is often implemented by graphics cards and computer games to run games smoother. There are different methods of anti-aliasing to get rid of jagged edges. The type of technique depends on the application you use it for. This technique is also used in digital photography and digital audio.

Why is Anti-Aliasing Important for Gaming?

People are increasingly buying large displays and prefer gaming on large screens to make gaming more immersive. The upgrade to resolution for large displays has made pixels almost invisible on these screens. But even with a 1080p monitor, there are a few inches on the screen where you might see an individual pixel. This means that the graphics processors have gotten better with the resolution of the images and anti-aliasing has become less important. Many older games can be run smoothly without the use of any anti-aliasing at all with the help of a powerful graphics processor.

But newer game titles need anti-aliasing. For gamers who use larger screens, anti-aliasing is important. As the screen gets larger and the resolution stays the same size causing your pixels to become more noticeable, you need anti-aliasing. A 21-inch monitor isn’t going to need much fixing but a 40-inch monitor will need anti-aliasing.

What is Anti-Aliasing?

Types of Anti Aliasing

 Although the end result is the same with the various anti-aliasing types, which one you pick is largely down to your system’s hardware. The oldest form of anti-aliasing is called supersampling. Under this method the pixels on a display were divided into separate samples, each consisting of four pixels. These samples were analyzed to determine an average color. The average of any set could be taken to help smooth out an image, but it didn’t allow you to make corrections to lines or edges. This old method placed a significant strain on the GPU.

  • MSAA (Multi-Sampling Anti Aliasing)

Several new techniques have emerged since supersampling. One of the widely used techniques is called multi-sampling anti-aliasing.  MSAA is a popular anti-aliasing method among PC gamers. This method only smooths out the edges of polygons but not textures. It is effective but you might still get pixelated textures. This method requires less processing power as it only soothes out polygons as mentioned. You can often find MSAA in games indicated as 2xMSAA, 4xMSAA, and 8XMSAA, the latter requires more processor power.

  • FXAA ((Fast Approximate Anti Aliasing)

This is a performance-based approach to anti-aliasing. FXAA is perfect for low-end PC users. It smooths out the edges of an image and requires only very little processing power. However, its low-powered approach can result in blurry images during your gaming session.

  • TXAA (Temporal Anti Aliasing)

TXAA is a modern approach that combines several different techniques to smooth the jagged edges. However, this may be available only to modern GPUs. This method uses slightly more processing power compared to FXAA. This can only be operated on newer graphics cards and there still can be a slight blurriness even while using it.

  • CSAA (Coverage Sampling Anti Aliasing)

CSAA was developed by Nvidia and is only available on their newer graphic cards. It almost gives similar results to MSAA. However, less graphic power is spent while using CSAA.

what is anti aliasing in games

Your options for anti-aliasing depend on what GPU you are running. Tech giants, AMD and NVidia have developed their own type of anti-aliasing called CFAA and CSAA respectively. CSAA samples fewer colors within any given area but reduces color accuracy. However, this method places less strain on your GPU. AMD’s CFAA filter employs an edge detection algorithm to achieve better line filtering without loss to color but uses high processing power.

If you have a low-end computer FXAA is the best option as it requires less processing power to smooth out the edges for you. MSAA gives gamers, with a mid-level PC, a variety of options (2X, 4X, 8X) and does not demand heavy processor usage.  Resolution is also a factor when it comes to anti-aliasing and which type of method you can use. As mentioned earlier, you probably won’t notice any aliasing if you are playing on a 1080p 21-inch monitor but, larger 1080p monitors could have noticeable pixels on the screen.

We hope now you know what is anti aliasing in games.

More to read:

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