Go Ex­treme With An­tialias­ing

Maximum PC - - R&D - –PHIL IWA­NIUK

YOU’LL NEED THIS

GE­DOSATO The Rolls-Royce of down­sam­pling tools. Avail­able from http://blog.

meta­clas­sofnil.com.

NVIDIA IN­SPEC­TOR If you side with Team Green in your

PCIe slot, this un­of­fi­cial app is bristling with tweaks: www.gu­ru3d. com/files-de­tails/nvidia-in­spec­tor

down­load.html. FOR­GET FAIR MI­CRO­TRANS­AC­TION MOD­ELS and the magic for­mula for a suc­cess­ful es­ports game— these are but flash-in-the-pan chal­lenges the games in­dus­try faces cur­rently. For a much longer time, 3D de­sign­ers were stumped by a far more pro­saic prob­lem: how to draw curved and di­ag­o­nal lines with­out them ap­pear­ing like a blocky stair­case of pix­els.

Aliased polyg­o­nal edges—or jag­gies, as you say in to­day’s par­lance, with your low-slung jeans and dan­ger­ous new ideas—were a sim­ple fact of 3D graph­ics for over a decade. It was only in the mid-2000s that an­tialias­ing (AA) be­came so­phis­ti­cated enough to smooth out those lines un­til they ap­peared re­al­is­tic, and it still takes a lot of com­pu­ta­tional power to do so.

In this smoother-edged age, though, new prob­lems have emerged. What if the an­tialias­ing op­tions baked into your game aren’t suf­fi­cient? And what about play­ing old games, which of­fer only per­func­tory an­tialias­ing—is that the end of the line for your cru­sade against the jag­gies?

Well, no. There are lots of other op­tions. Here’s how to go be­yond the graph­ics menu’s lim­i­ta­tions, and an­tialias those edges so much that even Tom Jones would deem them smooth. four times, is the best ap­proach. If all works as planned, your game will sud­denly rec­og­nize these new res­o­lu­tions, and of­fer them in the dis­play op­tions menu. We rec­om­mend those sizes in par­tic­u­lar be­cause ren­der­ing im­ages at enor­mous res­o­lu­tions, then squish­ing them back down to size, takes a lot of your GPU’s re­sources, and you’ll want a few set­tings to switch be­tween later on when you’re tweak­ing for op­ti­mal per­for­mance. The laws of di­min­ish­ing re­turns def­i­nitely ap­ply here, too, so you may find that 2x down­sam­pling pro­duces a suf­fi­ciently smooth im­age. 3 TURN OFF AA IN-GAME Now, with Ge­DoSaTo still run­ning in the back­ground, se­lect one of the higher res­o­lu­tions that have just mag­i­cally ap­peared in your game’s graph­ics op­tions menu or launcher. Next, re­move any AA ef­fects in the game [ Im­age B], and ob­serve whether down­sam­pling alone has smoothed out the jag­gies. There’s no point send­ing two fire trucks out to the same fire, after all. Un­less it’s a big fire. (We’re not to­tally clear on how the fire brigade works.) If you’re get­ting great an­tialias­ing but a low frame rate, try a smaller res­o­lu­tion. If you’re get­ting the op­po­site, en­large the res­o­lu­tion that Ge­DoSaTo cre­ates. 4 LAYER AA WITH NVIDIA IN­SPEC­TOR Here’s an­other ap­proach to your ex­treme AA so­lu­tion: layer dif­fer­ent tech­niques. Like down­sam­pling, it’s a re­source-heavy pur­suit, but what

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