Which AA setting is the highest quality?

Discussion in 'nVidia Flavor' started by Flogger23m, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Recently updated my drivers for my GTX 260. As such, the AA settings for games have been reset.

    I am trying to get AA to look as good as it did on my previous drivers (182.50) in Lock On Flaming Cliffs 2.0. Of course, the Nvidia control panel no longer works, so AA must be set via a 3rd party program since a lot of PC games don't have such an option in the menu. Right now I am using Nvidia Inspector.

    While there are many more AA options, none of the 16x options seem to look as good as it did before. Looks more like 2-4x AA rather than 16x to me. Looking at my old LO FC2 .jpg screen shots, the textures are less blurry at a distance... and that is comparing it to compressed .jpg screens shots.

    So I am wondering what AA setting has the best quality out of the following:

    16xQ
    16X
    32x
    AA_MODE_METHOD_MULTISAMPLE_16x


    Just want to get similar image quality to what I used to have. Currently it is a pain spotting targets with this poor AA quality.
     
  2. ^Strike

    ^Strike Limp Gawd

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  3. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    Depends on application, but generally multi sampling (MSAA) + transparency supersampling (TrAA) give best picture quality.

    So something like 8xQ + 8xSS , but you will rarely have enough GPU power/VRAM for that

    http://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=42346
     
  4. spine

    spine 2[H]4U

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    I have to say, from personal testing in various games, that 8XQ is the best.

    8XQ is 8 colour samples and 8 Coverage samples.

    All the higher modes have only 8 colour as well and so don't improve the quality that much and I'd go further to say that, in my opinion, it actually make the image look worse.

    I find with 32X ( 8 colour + 24 coverage) the image isn't quite as nice and smooth as 8XQ.


    8XQ with 8X Full screen super sample is the absolute best though (needs nvidia inspector or nvidia SSAA tool to activate).
     
  5. Ultima99

    Ultima99 [H]ardness Supreme

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    You running 266.58 WHQL or the 267.24 Beta? (which fixes issues loading the Nvidia control panel).
     
  6. Vagrant_Zero

    Vagrant_Zero Limp Gawd

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    I must be the odd duck then because I really don't like SuperSampling. It makes everything (including my UI!) blurry. I like 32x + TRAA.
     
  7. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Then you've miss-configured it. SSAA sometimes causes blurring when the framebuffer isn't properly setup for whatever grid/shader or filter is being used. Unfortunately this has become quite common in todays games. The only fix is to figure out the correct combination of AA compatibility bits to use to make the framebuffer more compatible. And sometimes that is a difficult task. In some games though you'll get lucky and the default AA compatibility bits for that game profile will work flawlessly, if not try looking it up online.

    If you don't believe me boot up quake III and try out one of the hybrid modes (since the pure XxX SSAA modes don't work with opengl).

    If the game is already setup properly for SSAA it is a godsend. SSAA makes textures crisper/clearer/sharper, gets rid of all texture aliasing/shimmering (makes anisotropic filtering look like a joke by comparison), gets rid of shader aliasing that MSAA doesn't affect which has become extremely common in todays games, gets rid of polygon aliasing, gets rid of aliasing on shadows (usually, some games have some funky techniques for shadowing) and transparent textures, and allows you to use a lower LOD bias if you want for even better texture quality (it makes a really big difference in some games and little difference in others). The imperfections such as aliasing and texture inconsistency are so annoying to me that I will take SSAA + lower settings over MSAA + higher settings in any game any day. Personally I use 16xS (4xSSAA + 4xMSAA) whenever possible, I find it has the same IQ as 16xSSAA but I can use it with a lot more games due to the significant difference in performance and that fact that it works with opengl even on older cards. If you're trying to get good performance in a newer game though 4xMSAA is still the best balance between performance/IQ.

    @Flogger

    We're going to need a lot more info. than that. We need screenshots of image quality and your settings in nvidia inspector. Are you sure you have the correct AA compatibility bits on for the game?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  8. Vagrant_Zero

    Vagrant_Zero Limp Gawd

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    You spent a paragraph saying what I can say in 3 words; Tweak the LOD.

    That fixes the 3d blurriness, it doesn't do dick all for 2d text though. And since I play alot of MMOs when SSAA starts blurring my UI I start getting Hulk Angry.
     
  9. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Incorrect. Everything will still look extremely blurry no matter how low you set the lod bias if the compatibility bits are wrong. And vice versa, if the compatibility bits are correct everything will look clear as day even without a lod bias adjustment.

    A negative lod bias will improve texture quality either way but if the bits are wrong it will still look worse than with SSAA off.

    Back when I first discovered nhancer and started playing around with SSAA in modern games I too was wondering why SSAA made things blurry. When I started digging online I saw the same thing everywhere "it's because you need to lower your lod". Everyone talked about SSAA as if it was inherently supposed to make everything blurry because of how it works, despite the fact that if you think about that for 2 seconds it makes no f**king sense at all. I mean if you run a game at 1600 x 1200, take a screenshot and shrink the image to 800 x 600 do you think that image will look much blurrier than if you run the game at 800 x 600 and take a screenshot? Of course not. Well I tried lowering the lod bias, and it made no significant difference with high amounts of SSAA. Yet I knew it was working since if I turned off SSAA it caused massive amounts of texture shimmering. I was also wondering why some games looked sharp with SSAA while others were blurry. If SSAA is SUPPOSED to make things blurry then why would that happen? That's when I started playing with AA compatibility bits and discovered the truth. To this day the only forum I have ever seen where the average user understands the real reason why SSAA is blurry in some games was a german 3d developer forum. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TEXTURES OR TEXTURE FILTERING.

    But of course you have to see it with your own eyes in order to believe me. So list some games you play and I'll try and dig up the correct compatibility bits for them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  10. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    Can you ask them sausagemakers :) why there are no DX10/11 AA overides?
     
  11. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Sausagemakers?

    Also their are dx10/11 overrides, especially on 400/500 series cards. Override the application mode can be used with any codepath. And d3d10/10.1/11 has it's own set of AA comp. bits seperate from general. MSAA/CSAA/TRSSAA/SGSSAA are all compatible with d3d10/11 on fermi cards (400/500 series).
     
  12. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    DX10/11 are not overrides but "use aplication", or "enhance".
    SGSAA does produce blur, but NVIDIA said it has no plans to introduce LOD which would aleviate this.

    BTW how the f*** do you "play" with compatibility bits. ( and I repeat which are all DX9 ) It either exist or it doesn't for particular game. You can't invent it, if Nvidia didn't implement it.
     
  13. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Not sure about nvcp since I don't use it but with nhancer or nvidia inspector you can override with d3d10/10.1/11.

    SGSSAA does produce blur in some games just like OGSSAA in the XxX and xS modes. Any once again it has nothing to do with LOD. The xS modes have an auto lod adjustment but that doesn't help you when a game is producing a blurry picture do to the sample locations or framebuffer format not matching up with the shader (so the post-processing box filter ends up creating a blur).


    Also incorrect. Both nvidia inspector and nhancer have seperate comp. bits for d3d9 and d3d10/10.1/11 take a look:
    http://hw-lab.com/uploads/news/nvidia-inspector/nvidia-inspector-1-93-pm_x776.png

    The bits are preset but you don't have to use the nvidia profiles. You can create custom comp. bit profiles by turning the individual bits on or off and making different combinations, which a lot of people do. See: http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/4981/biteditor.jpg
     
  14. SirMaster

    SirMaster 2[H]4U

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    You can use up to 96x sampling with the nvidia 4xx or greater cards in SLi
     
  15. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    Cool stuff. But I'm pretty sure those are still Nvidia's bits, even if you combined them ;)

    Also, I see only 5 DX10/11 bits, one being Stalker:CS, and I know for a fact you can't get any real AA, full scene, supersampling or even transparency in DX10 mode for that game.

    Shogun 2 was released. Apparently without AA. Can you play with bits a bit, and make me a nice AA combo?
     
  16. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Yes but you don't have to use the nvidia AA profiles. You can make your own by turning different bits on/off. As you can see by the screenshot many of the bits aren't used in any of nvidia's preset profiles (even more so for d3d10/10.1/11).

    Actually the screenshot was taken from the d3d9 AA comp. bits profiler. So those are all d3d9 comp. bits. d3d10/10.1/11 has it's own set of bits totally seperate.

    Also I doubt it's impossible. You might have to create a custom profiler or change some in-game settings but I garauntee their is a way to get SGSSAA working with a 400/500 series card. Even games that use multiple offscreen render targets in d3d9 can have SGSSAA forced on 400/500 series cards.

    Send me a free copy of the game and I'll get right on it :p
     
  17. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    Trust me. No AA in DX10/11 xrayengine (STALKER). Even Stalker's DX9 AA is a new stuff, maybe month and a half old.

    If you're so sure AA can work, tell me a generic recipe. Because I'm done with random tryouts.

    "Send me a free copy of the game and I'll get right on it :p"

    I have a Chinese "version",k :)
     
  18. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Since I don't have the game I can't learn about/play with the graphics engine/settings. And sometimes random tryouts are what's needed. On a 400/500 series card SGSSAA should work with literally anything with the correct bits and/or in-game settings. I guarantee you their is always a way, it just might be a pain in the ass to find it.
     
  19. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    You do know that SGSAA working full screen is actually a bug turned into a feature?

    Playing HL2? What aa mode you're using there?
    Why hybrid 16xS is much heavier then explicit 4xMSAA + 2xSS.
    I can do 8xMSAA + 8xSS in HL2 easy, but 32xS (which reads as 8xMSAA+2x2SS).eats my VRAM. How's that?

    Post few game specific aa modes if you have any you think it's worth sharing.
     
  20. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    From the hundreds of articles online that have discussed it and because nvidia has directly talked about it. Example: http://nvidia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/nvidia.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2624

    Basically nvidia implemented TRSSAA as an alpha test that supersampled pixels that passed. A bug was present in one of the drivers they released for the new fermi cards that caused the alpha test to always pass and therefore apply SGSSAA to all pixels. They fixed the bug in the next release but released a tool that allowed the bug to be re-enabled since a lot of users complained that they liked it. The new fermi cards + new drivers made nhancer no long compatible and since the developer dropped off the face of the planet some other developer made a better app that did the same thing, nvidia inspector. He included the SGSSAA hack in it.

    I don't have HL2 either.

    16xS is 4xRGMSAA + 4xOGSSAA. So it makes sense that it would have a higher hit than 4xMSAA + 2xSSAA.

    You mean 8xMSAA + 8xSGSSAA? Are you sure the SGSSAA is working? All forms of SSAA should eat a lot of video ram, including SGSSAA.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  21. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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  22. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    No need. Check here (the forum is in german):
    http://translate.googleusercontent....&twu=1&usg=ALkJrhiYADe2LDg7AkgX7ldzn7FVDOL0Zg

    ^Well there you go. Only works with SGSSAA though. And it's for d3d9 so you need to be running the game with the dx9 codepath.

    That's TRSSAA not SGSSAA. That's why. You were comparing 8xMSAA + 8xTRSSAA to 32xS (2x2OGSSAA + 8xMSAA). Look for SGSSAA instead of supersampling in that same drop down box.
     
  23. Spooony

    Spooony 2[H]4U

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    AA emulates basically what you would get if your using a higher resolution LCD. The lower your native the more AA needs to be applied. The higher the native the closer it looks to the original. When you enable vsync try enabling tripple buffering as well if it cuts your frame rates in half.

    Use Nhancer to edit your nvidia profiles. There's nothing better. Its got features that's hidden in the nvidia profiles
     
  24. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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  25. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    nvidia inspector > nhancer

    Set AA to 16x (4xMSAA + 12xCSAA). Set Transparency multisampling to off/supersampling. Set Transparency Supersampling to 4xSGSSAA. Set the AA mode to override. Change the AA comp. bit to those obviously. And set negative lod bias to allow. Make sure you hit apply before closing nvidia inspector (in the upper right corner) or it won't work (this is one thing I really liked about nhancer, auto-saved your profile settings whenever you changed something)!
     
  26. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    I prefer MSAA instead of CSAA, so...:

    8xMS

    [​IMG]


    8x MS + 4x SGSSAA

    [​IMG]


    32xS [2x2 SS + 8x MS] + 4x SGSSAA (sick!) out of VRAM

    [​IMG]

    This is with 3dcenter custom compatibility bit. It alleviates blurring, but not quite.
    On the middle combo which I will be using it's hardly noticeable and much less then with usual Nvidia compatibility bit.

    But with that sick ultra hybrid combo it's quite visible.

    Oh, what does 2x2 SS in 32x S stand for? Supersampling, as in rendering at higher res, or...?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  27. Spooony

    Spooony 2[H]4U

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    Try this for fun. Users who's gpus are getting a bit outdated can do this as well its a great trick.

    Drop your resolution one below the native. The LCD upscaling the image will create sort of Aa effect. Its not as good as the real thing but it still a good trick. Just try it and have a look lol
     
  28. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    Hmm I'm not completely happy with 720p upscaled on my 24'', but...I can use it for some ultra demanding game non upscaled, therefore sacrificing image size, but without loosing image quality :D
     
  29. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    .....rendering at a low resolution and upscaling will always increase aliasing, always. It's literally the worst thing you can do as far as aliasing is concerned. The blurriness might make it less noticeable but even that I am doubtful of.

    Unless....do you know what type of filter your display uses for upscaling spoony?

    1. Increasing the number of coverage sampes per stored color sample significantly improves the accuracy of AA with a very minimal performance hit. It makes no sense to deny yourself the almost free extra quality. MSAA normally has 1 coverage sample per depth/stencil/stored color samples, CSAA is just increasing the number of coverage samples so it's not like it's a totally different form of AA, just an enhancement.

    2. SGSSAA and OGSSAA work differently. That set of AA comp. bits is for SGSSAA so it makes sense that the 3rd would be really blurry even if the sample count was low (which you can easily test, I could be wrong).

    3. Your images are all 132 x 147. It looks like you linked the thumbnails of your images not the images themselves.

    4. Yes 2x2 SS is 4xOGSSAA. As in a scale of 2x is applied to the framebuffer dimensions along both the x and y axis. The S in 32xS stands for supersampling, as in it has an SSAA component not just MSAA. 32 samples without any SSAA would just be listed as 32x (which is 8xMSAA + 24xCSAA). SGSSAA renders the scene to multiple intermediate buffers with several passes, an offset to the sample coordinates is applied at each pass and then the buffers are read by a post-processing box filter to fill the backbuffer (the framebuffer that is scanned out to the display at each refresh).

    5. Please keep in mind that whenever you use SGSSAA you should always match the number of MSAA samples used to the number of SGSSAA samples used. 8xMSAA + 4xSGSSAA will usually have lower quality than 4xMSAA + 4xSGSSAA. This is because SGSSAA gets it's sample coordinates from the MSAA samples. So if you have more MSAA samples than SGSSAA samples the SGSSAA samples will not be placed in the ideal locations. Also you cannot have more SGSSAA samples than MSAA samples for the same reason as I'm sure you've guessed. Since it uses MSAA sample coordinates you can use additional coverage samples without changing the grid pattern of SGSSAA. This is why I advised 16xAA (4xMSAA + 12xCSAA) + 4xSGSSAA.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  30. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    16xAA (4xMSAA + 12xCSAA) + 4xSGSSAA
    (Not as nice as previous + very blurry)
    http://h-2.abload.de/img/hl22011-03-2004-21-11-8z84.png

    [​IMG]


    8xMSAA + 8xSGSSAA
    Seems some one has tailored bit specially for this one - best LOD
    http://www.abload.de/img/hl22011-03-2004-34-07-ysjz.png

    [​IMG]


    16xAA (8xMSAA + 8xCSAA) + 8xSGSSAA
    http://www.abload.de/img/hl22011-03-2004-36-19-qnln.png

    [​IMG]


    32xS [2x2 SS + 8x MS] + 8x SGSSAA (monster!) system utterly trashed cos oom-VRAM
    http://www.abload.de/img/hl22011-03-2005-04-53-rrxa.png
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  31. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    #1: Far too blurry and it still has aliasing on the fence

    #2: Excellent quality with no blur. Still small amounts of aliasing present on several surfaces, especially the fence.

    #3: Also no blur but slightly less quality than #2. The fence is noticeably more aliased.

    #4: Slight blur but amazing image quality. This one actually looks the best to me. But then again it depends on how much you care about blurring. For some reason the whole scene looks slightly darker, like the HDR or gamma correction was screwed up. Several spots have major aliasing in the other 3 but not in this one.

    Take a look at the spots I pointed out here: http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n189/NaturalViolence/hl22011-03-2004-34-07-ysjz.jpg

    Both of those spots look a lot better in #4.

    Yeah well you're rendering the scene at 32 times the native resolution :p. I would be amazed if you didn't run out of vram.

    Try allowing negative lod and setting the lod bias to -1.0 for 4xSGSSAA, -1.5 for 8xSGSSAA, and -2.5 for 32xS + 8xSGSSAA. Then take the screenshots again and compare the difference.

    Also try 16xS + 4xSGSSAA with -1.0 lod bias.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011
  32. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    Yup, well that's why I generally go for MSAA if I have enough GPU power. It's more accurate and less artifact prone.
    Damn it! After fiddling with this for the last 4 hours I have come to conclusion this is a fluke. I must have accidentally selected 8xTrSS instead of SGSS. I was able to replicate this picture with 8xMS+8xTrSS.

    Same mistake as above. That's not SGSS, but TrSS. And because of this it's understandable not top notch anti-aliasing.

    I can not decide TBH. And this blur with SGSS is what I have been trying to eliminate last couple of hours. I get blur with any SGSS , and I cant get rid of it via LOD.

    I took 8xMSAA+8xSGSS, started with LOD=1 taking screenshots all the way down to uhmm -2, with 0.125 decrements. At first witj LOD=1 picture was very fuzzy, but it was getting better till around 0(zero) it pretty much stabilized, and going down further didn't sharpen my textures. Of course I had 'Negative LOD bias = Allow'.

    Also I vaguely remember reading somewhere LOD not quite working with SGSS, not sure though. Also someone asking on Alienbabeltech does it work at all.

    Well yeah. I also can not decide what to do with Antialiasing Gamma correction , Antialiasing Line Gamma, and several ingame variables connected vith gamma/brightness LOL

    I did all this :) No luck. It's either superb anti-aliasing and a bit fuzzy textures with SGSS or great textures and not top notch anti-aliasing with TrSS.



    4xMS
    http://www.abload.de/img/4xmsomnw.png

    32x + 8xTrSS
    http://h-5.abload.de/img/32xaa8xtrssckby.png

    8xMS + 8xSGSS (-1.5 LOD)
    http://h-4.abload.de/img/hl22011-03-2023-55-24-dpnh.png

    32xCSAA +8xSGSS (-1.5 LOD) (again worse then with 8xMS)
    http://www.abload.de/img/32x8xsgss3bb0.png

    16xS + 4xSGSS (-1 LOD)
    http://h-4.abload.de/img/16xs4xsgsscoar.png
     
  33. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    Actually SSAA is more accurate, it just has that blurring problem sometimes. And blurring is not considered a form of artifacting. Shader aliasing/shadow aliasing/texture shimmering are all forms of artifacting that SSAA fixes. So SSAA is also less artifacting prone than MSAA.

    Well that makes sense. I was wondering why those particular shots were not blurry while the others were.

    Can you test 16xS by itself (as in no SGSSAA)? The fact that MSAA + SGSSAA seems to produce a lot more blur than HSAA (hybridsampling) + SGSSAA would seem to indicate that the OGSSAA is better for this particular set of bits.

    LOD is totally separate, it deals with texture filtering on mipmaps. It will work regardless of the type of AA you're using. The fact that you cannot reduce the blurring with a negative lod bias proves the point I was making earlier about them being unrelated.

    Gamma correction only works with openGL anyways. And even though I don't have half life 2 I'm fairly sure it's graphics engine uses d3d9. So don't worry about it.

    #3 and #5 both look amazing. I don't mind the slight blur, it looks a lot better and doesn't impact texture quality.
     
  34. HohnyF

    HohnyF Gawd

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    No-no... I meant I prefer using MSAA instead of CSAA.

    No :rolleyes:
    That's just the consequence of using only 4xSSGAA with xS, and 8x with MSAA, and higher level of SGSSAA giving more blur.

    And yeah16xS alone gives less blur then both of the above.



    Feel free to drop by :cool:
    http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=169648&st=0&p=1211093&fromsearch=1&#entry1211093


    Sure it does :mad:
     
  35. NaturalViolence

    NaturalViolence Limp Gawd

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    What I meant was if you compare 4xOGSSAA + 8xMSAA (since that's what 32xS is) + 8xSGSSAA it yields much less blur than 8xMSAA + 8xSGSSAA. And the only difference is the introduction of OGSSAA + auto lod adjustment.

    I'de love to see a screenshot of 16xS by itself with those bits (no SGSSAA).

    Finally! Someone who knows wtf they're talking about.
     
  36. ex0du5

    ex0du5 Gawd

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    You say older screenshots had less blurry textures at a distance...this is related to texture filtering, not anti-aliasing. That is, unless you're applying Quincux (temporal) AA.

    edit: after reading the thread, I think I should retract my statement. My knowledge is pretty outdated, and it looks like the frame buffer setup may play a huge role in how AA is applied to the scene.