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Anti-aliasing

For people that hate pixels

Anti-aliasing (AA) aims to lower the amount of jagged and pixelated edges in the game. Aliasing occurs when continuous objects such as a line are displayed on a screen made up of a finite number of pixels. Instead of a smooth line one gets one with a stair-like patten. AA solves this by smoothing out the line by filling in the surrounding pixels. It makes it harder to notice the pixelated edges but also reduces contrast and makes the image more blurry.

Hardware
Techniques that demand or use some form of hardware for AA.

CSAA - Coverage-Sampled Anti-Aliasing - 2006 / EQAA - Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing - 2010
Variations of MSAA from Nvidia and AMD. It adds coverage samples to better detect if a primitive touch a pixel.

MSAA - Multi-Sampling Anti-Aliasing - 1999
Each pixel contain N subsample points. If a primitive touch any subsample point it will run the pixel shader. The result is then stored in each of the subsample the primitive was touching. So the z-buffer and the render target need to store N data per pixel. The final step is the resolve step that downsample all the data back to a single pixel. The simplest way is to average all subsamples in a pixel.
SSAA - Super Sampling Anti-Aliasing
The image is rendered into a frame buffer at a higher resolution then the one being displayed. The image is then down sampled to the desired display resolution.


Post-processing
Techniques that post-process the image. For people that enjoy writing shaders.

TXAA - Temporal Anti-Aliasing - 2012



FXAA - Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing- 2011

DLAA - Directionally Localized Anti Aliasing - 2011

MLAA - Morphological Anti-Aliasing - 2009

G-Buffer

Techniques used with deferred rendering and use a geometry buffer to work.

AGAA - Aggregate G-Buffer Anti-Aliasing - 2015

Reference

Research impact retrospective: MLAA from 2009 to 2017 - 2017
Anti-aliased Alpha Test: The Esoteric Alpha To Coverage - 2017
Road to Anti-Aliasing in BRE: Aliasing and Anti-Aliasing - 2016
A Temporal stable Distance to Edge Anti-Aliasing Technique for GCN architecture - 2015
Diving into Anti-Aliasing - 2014
Applying Sampling Theory To Real-Time Graphics - 2012
Anti-Aliasing Methods in CryENGINE 3 - 2011
Digital Foundry: The Future of Anti-Aliasing - 2011
Filtering Approaches for Real-Time Anti-Aliasing - 2011
So Many AA Techniques, So Little Time - 2011
Toms hardware: Anti-Aliasing Analysis - 2011
Recipe for antialiasing as a post  - 2011
Adaptive Temporal Antialiasing - 2018
Anti-Ghosting with Temporal Anti-Aliasing



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