Effects of Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering on Ghost Recon
By Whiteknight77
Published : 25 April 2004
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Related Links : GR Graphic Settings


Better Graphics verses Performance

The screenshots taken for this report were taken on my current PC featuring:

  • AMD Athlon XP 2400+ OCed to 2600+
  • 512MB PC3200 DDR
  • Leadtek WinFast A380 GF FX 5950 Ultra

They were taken with game settings all at high unless otherwise noted and with vsynch disabled.

Antialiasing

Antialiasing (AA) is a technique for diminishing jaggies - stairstep-like lines that should be smooth. Jaggies occur because the output device ,in this case the monitor, doesn't have a high enough resolution to represent a smooth line.

Antialiasing reduces the prominence of jaggies by surrounding the stairsteps with intermediate shades of gray (for gray-scaling devices) or color (for color devices). Although this reduces the jagged appearance of the lines, it also makes them fuzzier. Another method for reducing jaggies is called smoothing, in which a printer changes the size and horizontal alignment of dots to make curves smoother. Antialiasing is sometimes called oversampling.

Anisotropic Filtering

Anisotropic Filtering (AF) is used to address a specific kind of texture artifact that is visible when a 3D surface is sloped relative to the view camera. It improves the image by sharpening the detail seen at a distance from where you are in the game world.


No AA/AF

As you can see by this screenshot complete with framerates (all screenshots will include the FPS at the time it was taken), while looking pretty good, with AA and AF off, the railing is pretty jagged and the floor goes out of focus 1/3rd of the way up the picture. However, I do have decent framerates and a fairly decent look to the game.

ANTI ALIAS OBSERVATIONS

2x AA

In this image, the railings start to look smoother and less jagged when AA is enabled and at 2x, the hit on framerates is pretty evident.

2xQunicunx 4xAA

2xquincunx (a nVidia setting) provides for similar sampling to 4x (as seen here) but makes everything a bit more fuzzy looking. I can't recommend using 2xquincunx for anything. Notice that the framerates are the same.

4x AA

Click here to see the image and framerate with Anti Aliasing at 4x.

6xAA 8xAA

At both 6x and 8x, jaggies are well diminished compared to not having AA enabled, but the Performance hits is huge compared to no AA. One thing I did notice is that splash screen text and in-game text started looking blurry and had artifacts around them as evidenced in these 2 pics.

Anisotropic Filtering Observations

2xAF

As you can see with AF enabled, the area of sharpness that is visible (check out under the bridge) increases compared to no AF. While there is a Performance hit, it isn't as large as having AA enabled (at least on my rig, others may have more or less depending on your rigs configuration).

4xAF 8xAF

Increasing the AF setting to 4x and 8x increased the distance of sharpness, the entire walkway in the shopping center is now in focus compared to screenshot with no AA/AF (top of report). Notice the small Performance hit that AF imparts even at 8xAF, it isn't as large as the ones when AA is enabled.

Combining AA and AF

The following screens are with AA and AF enabled at different settings combined. Follow the Performance hits when they are increased.

2xAA/2xAF

4xAA/2xAF

8xAA/2xAF

4xAA/4xAF

6xAA/4xAF

2xAA/8xAF

4xAA/8xAF

8xAA/8xAF

 

2xQuincunx/2xAF

6xAA/2xAF

2xAA/4xAF

2xQuincunx/4xAF

8xAA/4xAF

2xQuincunx/8xAF

6xAA/8xAF

 

As you can see, framerates take a really big hit once you get up to 6x and 8x. I found I still get pretty good Performance and detail at 4xAA and 4xAF. Your performance will vary from what I have.

Low level of Detail High Level of Detail

I also am including random screens from different maps to show differences in detail (these screens were taken with AA and AF disabled).

Low level of detail one | two | three | four

High level of detail one | two | three | four

As you can see, changing settings can drastically change the way the game is viewed. Ghost Recon is still playable at low settings and something to drool over at high settings. How well you can view the game world all depends on what hardware you have installed. Lesser rigs can get large boost in performance by lowering in-game settings along with lowering video card settings.

By Whiteknight77


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