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Old Apr 10, 2008, 07:08 PM   #1
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ATI Technologies AA and AF - Should you really care about them?

Rage3D discusses Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering and how they can improve the visual quality of your everyday gaming.

Article: AA and AF - Should you really care about them?
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Old Apr 10, 2008, 09:47 PM   #2
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I care about AF... and environment.

Nice article BTW. Awooooo...
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Old Apr 11, 2008, 05:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pr()ZaC View Post
I care about AF... and environment.

Nice article BTW. Awooooo...
Same with me, I don't see AA important since high resolution does the job pretty well.
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Old Apr 11, 2008, 11:52 PM   #4
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Same with me, I don't see AA important since high resolution does the job pretty well.
i would have to agree with you.
whenever i play at 1600x1200, i rarely ever notice jaggies..unless of course its an rts or slow paced game. even so, its still not impeding.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 12:12 AM   #5
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I would disagree on the description of supersampling. supersampling in a nutshell is sampling each pixel with multiple samples whereby the samples themselves comprise of more information than the individual pixel. the VSA100 used rotated grid supersampling whereby an image was rendered 2 or 4x in with different rotational offsets and then the final image was combined in the t-buffer, not rendering an image larger 2x1 or 2x2 like the R100 and the NV10. but the very first AA used in games was edge AA, which could be enabled on voodoo2 (and probably later 3d cards) with proper software support, although it used up a lot of cpu for negligible benefit.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 12:46 AM   #6
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I've never really noticed AF much TBH.

But AA is vital to me, even at high resolutions.

I don't know how people can say they don't notice aliasing at high resolutions...jaggies are still horrible @ 2560x1600 for me...
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 01:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by seeker010 View Post
but the very first AA used in games was edge AA, which could be enabled on voodoo2 (and probably later 3d cards) with proper software support, although it used up a lot of cpu for negligible benefit.
Hey there.

That's strange I don't recall ever seeing line-edge based AA on Voodoo 2 boards. AFAIK that was a "hidden" feature that began with Voodoo 3 hardware, and while I suppose it's entirely possible that I missed it in the code someplace - I've been ALL OVER in the 3Dfx Glide and Unix O.S. interface source code for V2 when I was building it on unsupported systems and optimizing it for my own uses. Please don't take this as arguementative - it's pretty cool to finally see someone else comment about line-based edge AA

Anyway, on Voodoo3 boards it made a HUGE impact on quality - looked better than any traditional methods I've seen yet. Unfortunately it only affected lines and not curved surfaces. It also had virtually zero performance impact on V3...

BTW, line-edge based AA on RV250 (Radeon 7500) was quite good as well and was also a "hidden" feature before the drivers went 'Catalyst'

Edit: I found this article interesting, but it was a tad incomplete as far as AA on ATI cards. Don't think I saw anything in the article about Adaptive AA or Temporal AA either. It would have been nice to show and explain to people the actual depth of control over AA that ATI allows the user! However I did like the fact that it was mentioned (even only once) that AA on ATI brings more edge definition to moving objects. I would prefer that would have been more emphasized TBH, because in my view ATI is all about definition.

I've compared an HD3870 to an 8800GTS(G80/640) on the same exact setup in my specs - among multiple titles (GL/D3D) - and can say without a shadow of a doubt that the texture definition on the 38xx series is beyond GODLIKE. Flame me if you desire, but I don't care. Maybe it's due to people buying crippled LCDs and no longer investing in nice monitors that they just do not or cannot see? I suppose it could be personal preference, as sharpness does appeal to me :P

All my testing was on a CRT which technically can produce near unlimited (billions) of colours...
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 02:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalSin View Post
Hey there.

That's strange I don't recall ever seeing line-edge based AA on Voodoo 2 boards. AFAIK that was a "hidden" feature that began with Voodoo 3 hardware, and while I suppose it's entirely possible that I missed it in the code someplace - I've been ALL OVER in the 3Dfx Glide and Unix O.S. interface source code for V2 when I was building it on unsupported systems and optimizing it for my own uses. Please don't take this as arguementative - it's pretty cool to finally see someone else comment about line-based edge AA

Anyway, on Voodoo3 boards it made a HUGE impact on quality - looked better than any traditional methods I've seen yet. Unfortunately it only affected lines and not curved surfaces. It also had virtually zero performance impact on V3...
Well it's there in the windows drivers as a registry hack. I know for the v2 you lose 10-20% performance (and this was with an athlon, so I'd imagine for older systems you lost more; I didn't find out about this until much later in case anyone was asking why I was testing this with a k7...) for no noticeable image improvement, and the performance loss scaled with cpu clockspeed. maybe they made it better for the voodoo3; I stopped testing edge AA after that point; when I actually used a v3 for gaming, I didn't even know about AA.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 05:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -n7- View Post
I've never really noticed AF much TBH.

But AA is vital to me, even at high resolutions.

I don't know how people can say they don't notice aliasing at high resolutions...jaggies are still horrible @ 2560x1600 for me...
Well you notice a lack of AF in some games easily in others not as much.
Same with AA basically. I game at a high res and I usually still have 2xAA or 4xAA if my machine can handle it.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 08:31 AM   #10
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I game at 1920x1200 and use AA/AF and look for hacks to allow AA if a game doesn't offer it.
To me aliasing is like finding Waldo. Once you've seen him, you're drawn right to him everytime you look. Those who claim AA isn't needed clearly have different tastes then I.

Can I play without it? Yes if forced to by a dev who has decided to remove an option I always enable.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 08:34 AM   #11
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As long as I can run 4xaa and 8xaf I'm happy.

I dont really notice any difference if AA is set any higher, depending on the screen of course..for instance 4xaa on my 20" 1680x1050 looks as good as 8xaa on my 22" 1680x1050 IMO, and in the future screens will have even smaller pixel pitch (I assume) so high levels of AA will be even less necessary.

Also I cant really tell the difference between 8xaf and 16xaf either, except in the far distance on a few select games, so for the sake of a few fps with no real IQ loss I usually just run 8xaf.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 08:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker010 View Post
I would disagree on the description of supersampling. supersampling in a nutshell is sampling each pixel with multiple samples whereby the samples themselves comprise of more information than the individual pixel. the VSA100 used rotated grid supersampling whereby an image was rendered 2 or 4x in with different rotational offsets and then the final image was combined in the t-buffer, not rendering an image larger 2x1 or 2x2 like the R100 and the NV10. but the very first AA used in games was edge AA, which could be enabled on voodoo2 (and probably later 3d cards) with proper software support, although it used up a lot of cpu for negligible benefit.
Edge-AA required developer support, AFAIR, and was somewhat quirky to work with. It was ignored 99% of the time and that's why it wasn't included here. Sorry for the ommission.

What you're describing and what 3DFx did is a supersampling TECHNIQUE, which is something you could also do through OGL with the accumulation buffer(which the T-buffer was derived from). Basic supersampling, and what was described, is what the NV10(5) and R100 did. Particular supersampling techniques aren't to be discarded though (what the Parhelia did, for example), but were somewhat outside of the scope of the article.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 09:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker010 View Post
Well it's there in the windows drivers as a registry hack. I know for the v2 you lose 10-20% performance (and this was with an athlon, so I'd imagine for older systems you lost more
Why would the CPU affect the AA rendering hit?
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 09:31 AM   #14
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This was an informative thread, back in the day:

http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache...ient=firefox-a

So, walking down the history lane things get even more unclear WRT who did what for the first time
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 09:51 AM   #15
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My earliest recollection of any type of edge AA was with the original Tombraider.......I believe, hehe.

Personally embrace AA and AF -- both of them.....because they do so much to improve immersion. Artifacting is so distracting and a clean screen while moving with enough smooth performance is gaming Nirvana to me.

When 3dfx started to hype Anti-aliasing in the summer of 99..........was like, "What's this? You mean I can improve my existing resolution and don't have to spend extra monies on a very expensive monitor? " Gaming was going to get so much better from an immersion point-of-view and it has.

Totally amazed at the IQ one can achieve today. Of course things can always be better by tackling the tougher aliasings or having enough performance in the most cutting-edge of titles..........but over-all -- incredible.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 11:27 AM   #16
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I disagree that AA isn't important at high resolutions.

I've played BF2 multi player for a long time @16x12 and I noticed a tremendous difference between Adaptive AA & regular AA. Choppers & tanks looked much better from distance.

But I agree that in some games is difficult to spot it.

Last title I've played is Crysis (No AA/AF) and in some parts of the game the terrain looked pretty ugly without AF.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 11:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgoth Bauglir View Post
Edge-AA required developer support, AFAIR, and was somewhat quirky to work with. It was ignored 99% of the time and that's why it wasn't included here. Sorry for the ommission.

What you're describing and what 3DFx did is a supersampling TECHNIQUE, which is something you could also do through OGL with the accumulation buffer(which the T-buffer was derived from). Basic supersampling, and what was described, is what the NV10(5) and R100 did. Particular supersampling techniques aren't to be discarded though (what the Parhelia did, for example), but were somewhat outside of the scope of the article.
r100 and nv10's supersampling is just another technique of supersampling as well. supersampling is by definition sampling from a source with more information than your output. you can output a higher resolution, or you can output multiple images. the net effect is having more information for each pixel value. so yes, this means that multisampling is also a subset of supersampling, where not all pixels are sampled from a higher information source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtabs View Post
Why would the CPU affect the AA rendering hit?
because edge aa isn't fsaa. it needs code to detect edges upstream of the graphics unit.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 12:11 PM   #18
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At 1680x1080. Anything less than 16xCSAA is unacceptable to me. If I cant get that I hope to aim for 8xQ from in game menus if CSAA isnt supported. I like the description and depth and covering of the modes ((thought it pretty much met my expectations)). I kinda wish you guys hadn't decided to seperate the AA/AF performance comparisons because without an AA/performance comparison you really don't a complete picture.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 12:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker010 View Post
r100 and nv10's supersampling is just another technique of supersampling as well. supersampling is by definition sampling from a source with more information than your output. you can output a higher resolution, or you can output multiple images. the net effect is having more information for each pixel value. so yes, this means that multisampling is also a subset of supersampling, where not all pixels are sampled from a higher information source.



because edge aa isn't fsaa. it needs code to detect edges upstream of the graphics unit.
I did not contradict you as there's nothing to contradict-but the argument is semantic at best, wouldn't you agree?
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 01:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgoth Bauglir View Post
I did not contradict you as there's nothing to contradict-but the argument is semantic at best, wouldn't you agree?
yes. but let's keep arguing, it helps my post count.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 02:50 PM   #21
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Which AA has the least performance hit? I have tried the box, wide, narrow and end up going back to in game AA because it seems like it offers better performance. Does any of the ATI AA's offer better visuals with less of a performance hit?
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 06:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -n7- View Post
I've never really noticed AF much TBH.

But AA is vital to me, even at high resolutions.

I don't know how people can say they don't notice aliasing at high resolutions...jaggies are still horrible @ 2560x1600 for me...
Disagree. AA is needed much less at 25X16 than say 16X10. Depends on the game of course, but more pixels = less need of AA.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 07:04 PM   #23
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AF is vital to me, anything less than 16xAF with High Quality image settings and I wont be able to play the game. as far as AA goes, as long as I am playing at 1680x1050 with atleast 2xAA im happy.
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Old Apr 12, 2008, 11:56 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -n7- View Post
I've never really noticed AF much TBH.

But AA is vital to me, even at high resolutions.

I don't know how people can say they don't notice aliasing at high resolutions...jaggies are still horrible @ 2560x1600 for me...
I agree 100% - over and out!
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Old Apr 13, 2008, 03:03 AM   #25
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The amount of edge aliasing you notice will depend greatly on resolution, screen size, and pixel density of the monitor. If you have ever played on an 37 inch HDTV with 1080P. Edge Aliasing looks 10 times worse than it does on a 24 inch dell running 1920x1200.

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Old Apr 13, 2008, 04:14 AM   #26
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exactly my point earlier, 4xaa on my 20" looks as good as 8xaa on my 22" with same resolution, in the future screens will have smaller pixel pitch meaning high levels of AA wont be required..
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Old Apr 13, 2008, 04:15 AM   #27
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From the article:

Quote:
Using an ordered grid is the worst case scenario in terms of effective quality, as it has a number of sensitive angles at which the quality of AA is reduced (some actually seemed to receive no AA at all).
Could anyone please enlighten med of an angle that wouldn't be antialiased?
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Old Apr 13, 2008, 10:10 AM   #28
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0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees.
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Old Apr 13, 2008, 10:41 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galmok View Post
From the article:



Could anyone please enlighten med of an angle that wouldn't be antialiased?
Generally, horizontal/near horizontal and vertical/near vertical will get the least AA benefits with an OG(pretty much what bigtabs said). Check these out:

http://www.3dcenter.org/artikel/ati_...e/index2_e.php

http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/6572/23-here take a look at the airplane's tail on the 5950(OG) compared to the others(RG)

http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/2515/21-compare how the lamp and the edge of the wooden plank look on 3dfx(RG) and on the others(OG)
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Old Apr 13, 2008, 05:49 PM   #30
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I cannot agree with 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees not getting any benefit of AA.

Sure, the edge may be sharp, but that certainly wouldn't be an error in any way. Antialiasing doesn't mean soft edges. I would want sharp edges if possible.

But, shard edges are only the result if the polygon edge is directly between 2 SSAA OG pixels. IF the edge is halfway between two pixels, the resulting pixel gets half of each colour.

111111111111
111111111111
111111111111
111111333333
333333333333
333333333333

Would end up

111111
111222
333333

Both left and right half is antialiased. N

Considering the pixel center is in the center of the 2x2 blocks, the result is a perfect average. The problem is of course that SSAA doesn't blurr as much as the other techniques. On the other hand, you can, if you want, produce an image like this with OG SSAA:

101010
010101
101010

Can you do that with RG SSAA? This is good for showing small details like fonts.
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