What Is Anti-Aliasing (Everything Explained)

If you are a gamer, you probably have encountered the term ‘anti-aliasing’ before.

It is associated with the visual quality of the graphics of a game. When the pixels at the edge of an object seem blocky, they’re called ‘jaggies.’

They take away from the viewing pleasure and sometimes make it challenging to recognize small things in the game. 

But luckily for us gamers, there are ways to get about these pixelated edges and improve the visuals. This process is called Anti-Aliasing.

This article will explain to you what anti-aliasing is in detail and how to perform it.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to purchase a new monitor, then check out our recommended guides on the best BenQ monitors and best monitors for coding. It’ll surely help you to choose the right monitor for yourself fast.

What Is Anti-Aliasing (Everything Explained)

What Is Anti-Aliasing:

Gamers must understand how to perform anti-aliasing. But before we get into those steps, let us look at ‘aliasing’ or ‘jaggies’.

Every object you see on your screen comprises small, single-colored blocks called pixels. Pixels are responsible for forming images and making them true to the color they’re supposed to be. 

If an object has horizontal or vertical edges, the pixels can easily align since they are blocks themselves and have straight edges.

But when the things have curves, which they usually do, the pixels need to be appropriately aligned within the object’s boundary. 

You might have seen distortion on the edges of an object where you can make out the pixels. These distortions are called ‘jaggies’.

They look like staircases at the edges, and the technical term is ‘Aliasing’. Jaggies make the boundaries of the objects very unclear and blur.

Suppose you use higher resolution while gaming; there are lesser chances that you’ll see jaggies. There are in-game windows available on most PCs for you to adjust the resolution.

But using high resolution might not be viable for you if your PC does not support them. Higher resolution also consumes more power and Not every monitor can run 4K.

Anti-aliasing is the practice of removing these jaggies. Your PC might also allow you to enable anti-aliasing when you first launch the game. Some GPUs have anti-aliasing settings in their GPU control panel. 

If you cannot increase your screen’s resolution, you do not have to worry. There are other anti-aliasing methods to help you better the gaming visuals. 

Also, check out our article on how to set up Nvidia surroundings and Enable GSync On FreeSync Monitors.

Types Of Anti-Aliasing:

There are two types of anti-aliasing, they are –

  • Spatial anti-aliasing
  • Post-process anti-aliasing

1. Spatial Anti-Aliasing

Spatial Anti-Aliasing is associated with display resolution. Let us take a look at what exactly Display resolution is. 

The standard pixel resolution for a monitor is 1920 x 1080 (1900 pixels on the horizontal axis and 1080 pixels on the vertical axis), but you can easily find monitors with even higher resolution.

Spatial Anti-Aliasing

The display resolution is the number of pixels used on your monitor to form an image or object. If your monitor has a higher resolution, it can use more pixels to make it look clear and decrease distortion.

More number of pixels also means you can have more vivid colored objects. 

In spatial anti-aliasing, an image having a low resolution is rendered at a higher resolution. The new high-resolution image has more pixels and is then shrunk down to the size of the original image.

Each pixel has a unique and vivid color to enhance the visual. And hence, the low-resolution images become high-resolution ones with color accuracy.

Types Of Spatial Anti-Aliasing:

  • Supersampling Anti-aliasing (SSAA)

It is also called full-scene anti-aliasing. This technique uses the method described above. SSAA softens the images to give them a more realistic look.

It is best used for images with curves instead of those with many horizontal or vertical edges. 

  • Multisample Anti-aliasing (MSAA)

This is a GPU-based technique. When the GPU renders an image on Display, it first draws the polygon and fills in the texture.

In MSAA anti-aliasing, only the polygon edges are smoothed, not the surface. This can prove to be effective for especially PC gamers, although it might still give you pixelated textures. 

2. Post-Process Anti-Aliasing

To lessen the appearance of jaggies, in post-process anti-aliasing, the pixels are blurred in proportion to their contrast.

If two pixels are the same color, they’re part of the same polygon. But if the GPU detects a color difference, it blurs its edges slightly after rendering. 

The blurring method is effective since the color contrast between pixels is neutralized, hence you do not see any pixelated edges.

Post-Process Anti-Aliasing

But sometimes you might see the edges are too blurry. This can be problematic if the game requires serious attention to detail. Nonetheless, post-process anti-aliasing is very effective and consumes less power than spatial anti-aliasing.

Types Of Post-Process Anti-Aliasing:

  • Temporal Anti-aliasing (TXAA)

TXAA is a complex method and is used to maintain very smooth motion while moving in a virtual ecosystem.

This is a ‘film style technique’ and needs more computing power than other types of post-process anti-aliasing. 

  • MLAA and FXAA

MLAA (morphological anti-aliasing) and FXAA (fast approximate anti-aliasing) are the most widely used methods of post-process anti-aliasing.

These use the method of blurring the edges of the pixel according to color contrast. As stated, this might cause excessive blurriness sometimes.

Yet, this technique consumes significantly less power and is very viable. 

  • Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Anti-aliasing (SMAA)

SMAA can use spatial anti-aliasing and post-process anti-aliasing simultaneously.

It blurs the edges of the pixels to smooth the appearance but at the same time, it sharpens the image by supersampling it. 

Conclusion

Anti-Aliasing is a critical technique all gamers need to be aware of so they can enjoy playing in the highest quality possible.

This article talks about what anti-aliasing is and its different types. If you have high-tier gaming software, you can use SSAA, TXAA, and MSAA anti-aliasing.

The recommended anti-aliasing techniques for most medium-tier gaming hardware are SMAA and MSAA. For low-tier hardware, you can go for CSAA or SMAA.

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