What is Anti-Aliasing and Why Is it Important for Gaming?

If you are a gamer, you might have come across the term anti-aliasing in games and the option to turn anti aliasing on or off. Are you curious about what anti-aliasing iswhat does anti aliasing do, and how it can enhance your gaming experience? In today’s post, we give you a crash course on Anti-Aliasing

If you know anything about computers and digital images, you must be aware that every image in a game is made up of pixels, which are square-shaped. However, not all objects in the game are rectangular or straight. Due to the nature of the picked, round and inclined have jagged edges, which affects the game’s visual quality.

Anti-aliasing technology is used to smooth out jagged textures and lines through a process of blending colors on the edge of the object. Typically, the jagged lines are more apparent when you play games on a low setting because Anti-Aliasing is either turned off or on low.

Let’s discuss the topic further:

How Does Anti-Aliasing Improve Gaming Experience?

As we mentioned earlier, the digital images in games are composed of square-shaped pixels that cause jagged edges in non-rectangular objects. The issue of jagged edges also occurs in high-resolution images that are made up of millions of tiny pixels because pixels are still rectangular. As a result, the jagged edge issue known as aliasing is guaranteed to happen.

Anti-Aliasing, as the name implies, is a combination of techniques that help in reducing aliasing to make objects appear smoother. There are different types of Anti-Aliasing techniques that use various methods for dealing with the jagged edges. 

What Are The Different Anti-Aliasing Types?

Thanks to technological advancement, different Anti-Aliasing types have been developed that different yield levels of results. Some techniques are more commonly used today for modern gaming, which others are being phased out because they are outdated. Let us take a look at the different anti-aliasing techniques that are popular and typically used these days.

  • SSAA or FSAA: The first Anti-Aliasing technique developed was SSAA, which stands for supersampling anti-aliasing. It is commonly used in photorealistic images and requires a lot of processing power, which is why it is not typically used in games.
  • MSAA: In many modern games, you will encounter MSAA or Multisample anti-aliasing, which uses less processing power than SSAA (but not the least amount, though). It works well for smoothing out polygon edges but is not effective for pixelated textures.
  • FXAA: The Anti-Aliasing logarithm of Fast approximate anti-aliasing or FXAA has 5 to 10% performance cost, which is low compared to the other types. It has the ability to smooth out edges of parts of objects, which, on the downside, can cause the image to appear blurry. FXAA is not the best choice for sharp graphics.
  • TXAA: Temporal anti-aliasing is the ideal choice for newer graphic cards because it utilizes several techniques to make the edges smoother. Although it does a better job than FXAA nonetheless, it is not perfect! You will observe that images are still slightly blurred, and TXAA also consumes more processing power than others. 
  • Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA): Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) is a type of anti-aliasing that consumes lesser processing power than other anti-aliasing. Similar to FXAA, this post-possessing technique removes “jaggies” from images by blurring the image and blending pixels. However, you cannot fully rely on this method as it is not the best when it comes to blending and mixing up images’ background and foreground sometimes result in blurred text. 

Which Anti-Aliasing Technique Should You Use?

The methods that depend on post-processing, such as SMAA, FXAA, and MLAA, are a reliable option for mid and low-end builds because they reduce aliasing without consuming too much GPU processing power. However, the image quality is blurring most of the time and not as crisp clear as generated by multisampling and supersampling methods.

Although MSAA and SSAA produce cleaner and crisper image quality; however, they consume a significant amount of processing power, resulting in a noticeable FPS drop. Due to the FPS drop, the gameplay experience becomes less enjoyable on weaker PCs.

Final words

All-in-all, the anti-aliasing technique that you should select mainly depends on your GPU and personal preference. If you want the best gaming performance, then we would recommend you to select FXAA. If performance is not your preference and your top priority is the graphics’ quality, then SSAA would be an excellent choice for you.

If you are new and unsure, we recommend you to try all anti-aliasing methods to find the one that best fits your needs.

 Do you have any anti-aliasing-related suggestions? Please share it with us in the comments.

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Kylo is a tech geek who loves technology and spends time writing about it. He is also an avid gamer, completing his studies in Information technology. He is a co-founder of Reviewsed.