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.

Should anti-aliasing be ON and OFF?

It depends on the effect you want to achieve. You can turn ON anti-aliasing in games if you’re trying to get the best video quality. This is ideal for single-player games. However, if you’re in a competitive or online multiplayer game, it would be best to turn anti-aliasing OFF for better responsiveness and no lags.

Anti-aliasing VS no anti-aliasing – Is anti-aliasing worth it?

It depends on the resolution of the device you’re gaming with and how demanding the game is. Anti-aliasing in games is left largely to the gamer. If you’re gaming with a 32-inch 1080p monitor or larger, anti-aliasing in games is necessary because the bigger your resolution, the smoother you’ll need your edges to be.

Also, if your PC’s GPU isn’t powerful enough to run the game smoothly, turning ON anti-aliasing in games would strain it, causing the game to lag. Many old games do not need anti-aliasing to run smoothly, but it has become important for newer ones.

If you want a better video quality on your high-resolution screen while gaming, taking note of the power of your GPU, then turning ON anti-aliasing would be worth it. If you use a smaller resolution, there isn’t any need to turn ON anti-aliasing as the pixels would be stretched out over a small area, so a more responsive game is all you need.

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.

Best anti-aliasing setting for World of Warcraft

The best anti-aliasing setting for World of Warcraft depends on how high-end or low-end your gaming PC is. However, Blizzard, the makers of WOW, have created options that create smooth gameplay for users regardless of the strength of their PC. The different anti-aliasing options are based on how smoothly pixels can be rendered without affecting too much of your performance.

Older graphics cards that only support DirectX 9 have the FXXAA Low, FXAA High, and SSAA 2x anti-aliasing options. MSAA 2x, 4x, 8x, CMAA, and SSAA 2x + CMAA, are only available to DirectX 11 cards. The lower versions also work on DirectX 11 as well.

The best anti-aliasing setting in World of Warcraft to choose from depends on your video card and the level of performance you want to achieve. Here is a basic overview of the anti-aliasing options:

  • FXAA Low (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing): This low-cost anti-aliasing method searches the entire image for edges and tries to smooth out jagged edges. It causes a slightly blurred effect because it also smoothens the textures’ edges.
  • FXAA High: This is similar to the FXAA Low, but it does a better job for a slightly larger strain on performance. However, the image isn’t as blurred as in Low.
  • CMAA (Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing): It works similarly to FXAA, only that it doesn’t blur the image nearly as much and smoothens only the geometric edges in the image and not the entire picture.
  • MSAA 2x (Multisample Anti-Aliasing):  This option is the traditional anti-aliasing method that has been present for a long time. It renders part of the image at a higher resolution and then reduces it back to normal size, removing the jagged edges on geometry. It is quite memory-demanding but produces a very smooth image with clean geometrical edges. However, unlike the three previous options, it does not affect transparent textures like the foliage.
  • MSAA 4x: Similar to MSAA 2x, it renders the image to an even higher resolution, resulting in even smoother edges.
  • MSAA 8x: This is the highest quality point for the MSAA. The visual difference between 4x and 8x is very slight, which is a smaller improvement when compared to the 2x > 4x.
  • SSAA 2x (Super Sample Anti-Aliasing): This option renders the image’s resolution to double its normal, then reduces it to normal size producing a very smooth image with an increase in texture quality. Although it is quite memory demanding, the output’s quality justifies it.
  • SSAA 2x + CMAA: This is similar to SSAA 2x, but with an added option of CMAA to help clean up the ore geometric edges.

Best anti-aliasing setting for Warzone

A casual gamer can increase their anti-aliasing software to high, depending on their system’s strength. On the other hand, a competitive gamer in Warzone should either disable it or set it to Low to stabilize the fps and frame time and ease the load off the system’s resources.

How to make Genshin Impact run smoother on pc?

To improve your experience while playing Genshin Impact, you can make a few tweaks to your PC to ensure the game runs smoothly. But first, ensure you have the basics covered before we go into the specific bits and pieces.

You will need a good internet connection speed with high bandwidth, all your Windows updates installed, and ensure you don’t have any internet-demanding applications open. Using a wired internet connection like an Ethernet is better than a wireless one as wireless connections are more susceptible to interference and are less consistent.

When those have been covered, you can go to the following in-depth settings:

  • Setting Genshin Impact’s priority to high
    When you’ve opened Genshin Impact, go to your computer’s Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del, selecting Task Manager, or pressing the Windows logo + R to open a dialog box. Type taskmgr in the box and press Enter.

In the Details tab, find the Genshin Impact executable. It should read as as’GenshinImpact.exe’. Right-click it and choose Set priority – High, then click Change priority. This dedicates most of your system’s resources to Genshin Impact.

  • Disabling fullscreen optimization

Some games are affected by the Windows 10 fullscreen optimization feature, which was designed to improve your PC’s performance while gaming. To disable fullscreen optimization:

Look for the Genshin Impact shortcut on your desktop and right-click on it. A list should show; select Properties. Next, open the Compatibility tab and check the Disable fullscreen optimization box. Next, click Change DPI settings, click Apply, and then OK.

  • Update your graphics card driver

To do this, go to the website of your GPU or video card maker, find the driver version that is compatible with your Windows version, and download it. Once you’ve downloaded it, open the file and follow the instructions to install it.

You can also update it automatically by installing Driver Easy. Driver Easy will automatically scan your system and find the correct drivers for the ones that aren’t up to date. After installing Driver Easy, run the software and click Scan Now. After scanning your system for drivers, you can manually install them.

The Windows 10 Game Mode is a feature that optimizes system resources whenever a game is run. It is supposed to make gameplay better, but some of its features sometimes make games lag and even lower FPS.

To disable Game Mode, press Windows + I to open Settings. Click on Gaming, and in the window that opens, select the Game bar from the left pane and toggle OFF the Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar. Next, select Captures. In the Background recording and turn OFF Record in the background while I’m playing a game. In the same left pane, toggle Game Mode ON or OFF.

Read also: Dell S2716DG calibration settings

Where to find Windows 10 anti-aliasing settings

Windows has an anti-aliasing feature to make fonts look smoother called “Font Smoothing.” It reduces the jagged edges around texts, making them look smoother. Press the Windows key and type “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows,” then press Enter. In the Visual Effects tab are some customizable features with checkboxes. Look for “Smooth edges of screen fonts” and uncheck the box. Then clicking Apply, and then OK.