What Is Anti-Aliasing In Games? [Meaning & Types Best for Gaming]

One of the most popular in-game settings is anti-aliasing. Pro gamers will tell you that you don’t want jagged edges, and that would have led you into a pretty lengthy, sometimes even more confusing conversation on anti-aliasing.

For the newbie, this term and its definition would sound like a whole bunch of jargon, but this article will be breaking all of that down in detail, from sharing answers to questions such as: what is anti-aliasing in games? To the meaning of anti-aliasing, the types of anti-aliasing, and an anti-aliasing filter.

What Is Anti-Aliasing In Games? [It’s Real Meaning]

Anti-aliasing in gaming is a technique that is used to smooth jagged lines or textures by blending the color of the pixels with the color of an edge. You will easily notice anti-aliasing when playing games in low to medium settings as the edges of the objects are sharp and not smooth (what we refer to as jagged edges), this is a result of an anti-aliasing setting that is too low.

Anti-aliasing wasn’t a big deal for older games. There were no lightmaps, no shaders, no needs to go on some boring learning missions to understand what anti-aliasing is. But we are increasingly in demand for better games, and modern 3D games now have to rely on some form of anti-aliasing because, as you already know, we want more pleasing and realistic appearances.

Anti-Aliasing Types

There are four main types of anti-aliasing techniques:

We have the SSAA (super sampling anti-aliasing), which is the first type of anti-aliasing. The SSAA was mainly used on photorealistic images, but more of newer games aren’t using it anymore as it consumes a lot more processing power for today’s standards.

There is the MSAA (multi-sample anti-aliasing) which is one of the most popular types of anti-aliasing we find in newer games. The only downside of this one is that it doesn’t do anything other than smoothing the edges of polygons. While this reduces the demand on the processing power, when compared to the SSAA it really isn’t the most effective energy-wise and doesn’t solve the pixelated textures issue.

We also have the FXAA (fast approximate anti-aliasing) which consumes lesser power and smooth out all the edges on all parts of an image. Its downside is that it makes images blurry, and if you’re looking for a game with crisp clear graphics, it doesn’t do the job.

The fourth is the TXAA (Temporal anti-aliasing) which can only be found on newer graphics cards from companies like Nvidia and AMD. The TXAA combines different techniques to smooth out edges. While it does have some blurriness to it, it seems to consume a lot less power than other anti-aliasing techniques and is more effective in smoothing out image edges when compared to other older techniques.

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What Type Of Anti-Aliasing Do You Need?

While we have four popular types of anti-aliasing, there are only two that’s most widely used, and you should only concern yourself with one of these two. The first is the TXAA and the second is the MSAA.

If you’re using a more powerful PC, the TXAA is the best option for you. It does a really good job of smoothing out object edges, and it doesn’t demand a lot from your processor as long as you use it on a high-end PC. TXAA forces a high-resolution picture while scaling it down to fit your resolution.

If your PC isn’t as powerful, and you’re concerned about something that wouldn’t cause a performance dip, the MSAA is the best option. The MSAA beautifully smooth out edges without having a toll on your performance. You’ll sacrifice some graphics, though, as the MSAA causes a blurry effect, so your games don’t look the best, although this is still a mile better than having jagged edges.

As a side note, I will always recommend that you check your monitor resolution before deciding on any type of anti-aliasing. If you’re gaming on a 1080p 21-inch monitor, there is a chance you won’t notice aliasing, the same applies to when you game on 4k gaming monitors in fact, it’ll be very little if there ever is. But when you use 24-inch+ gaming monitors, aliasing could very noticeable.

Does Anti-Aliasing Affect Fps?

Anti-aliasing makes the graphics card do a lot more work, and when the graphics card isn’t powerful enough, or the computer on which its running isn’t powerful enough, you’d experience a large amount of loose in FPS. This will be more obvious in high-graphic games as this will almost completely mess-up your gaming experience.

Valorant, WoW, PUBG Anti-Aliasing Setting

Whether you’re playing Valorant, WoW (World of Warcraft), or PUBG, the most popular anti-aliasing setting is MSAA 2X and MSAA 4X. When playing these and any other competitive games on the average PC, MSAA looks like the sweet spot for cleanness and clarity. You should know, though, that MSAA 2X causes a 19% dip in framerate while MSAA 4X causes a 29% dip in framerate.

If you’re playing any of these games on a low-end PC, set your anti-aliasing to MSAA for the best performance and minimum impact on your processing speed and frame rate, while TXAA remains the best option if you’re gaming on a high-end PC without suffering much on processing speed and framerate.

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