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Anyone else dislike how soft game image quality looks nowadays?

Dec 28, 2017
7,715
#1
Temporal reprojection AA has become really commonplace with it being cheaper to use than something like MSAA (which is just unfeasible in modern AAA games due to the high performance cost and the fact that it doesn't work too well with deferred renderers although Guerilla had an interesting solution for Killzone 2 https://www.guerrilla-games.com/read/deferred-rendering-in-killzone-2).

While Temporal reprojection AA is amazing in dealing with specular aliasing, I can't help but feel it blurs a game's image quality too much giving it a softer look. I'd say the worst examples of this is FFXV, Quantam Break, Dishonored 2 and Fallout 4, but playing that Resident Evil 2 demo on PC is what really spurred this thread. I mean this is just a bit too much aye?



It gives a more cleaner and consistent image overall which is important sure, but I can't help but prefer the more basic but sharper look of something like Half-Life 2 for example despite the insane amount of shimmering.





Don't get me wrong, I still think TAA is a solid post-AA but I really don't like how soft games it makes games look. With the rise of more temporal reprojection AA solutions, I'd love if game developers starting including sharpening options. Ubisoft seems to be leading in this department doing so in Watch_Dogs 2, Far Cry 5, Wildlands, Siege, Assassin's Creed Origins and others.



What are your thoughts on this, ERA?
 
Last edited:
Oct 29, 2017
3,845
#2
As long as there is no aliasing to be seen, I would be OK with a game looking as soft as how Crysis 2 looked, but there has to be no aliasing.
 
Last edited:
Mar 5, 2018
3,196
#3
well sorta...
I'm one of the weird people who doesn't like anti aliasing. I always turn it off in PC games even if I could throw on 16x and still hit 60fps. I play fast paced action games a lot of the time and so it doesn't bother me when there is no AA, there is few games where I really need it and if I do then 4x is enough for me.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,264
#4
I'll take blur over jaggies and shimmering (hate that shit) but yeah there's got to be a better way than make everything look like some movie dream sequence. Kinda weird how much AA quality differs from game to game.

I guess maybe that problem solves itself when in the future we play everything in uber high res and just a tiny bit of image smoothing does the trick?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,596
#5
Modern post processing AA is cheaper, that's it. MSAA costs more and its cost scales up more at higher resolutions, IIRC.

It's like how reflections on floors and mirrors changed from being duplicated geometry to being SSR that can look busted at the wrong angles (and these days mirrors stopped working or only show low res reflections). Old graphics techniques worked well within the confines of that era, but with modern resolutions, polygon counts, etc., they're less feasible.
 

o k

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,862
#6
I strongly dislike sharpening as an answer to the blur of TAA because a lot of devs overdo it. The sharpening in Deus Ex for example is absolutely awful, and I even notice the sharpening in stuff like Uncharted 4 sometimes tbh. Any artifacts that are introduced by low quality motion blur or DOF are highlighted significantly by sharpening.

TAA can be done well, it just needs to be implemented and tuned carefully. FFXV is a bad example of it, seemingly, but then when you turn it off the shimmering and pixel crawl is shocking. But then you have something like Spider-Man PS4 which uses temporal AA and looks great with minimal sharpening (that I noticed).
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,518
#7
I’m not a pc gamer but yea it bothers me on PS4 pro. RDR2 in particular. Horizon ZD has fantastic IQ
 
Oct 27, 2017
9,148
#9
4k plus turn of motion blur, dof, and aa (or minimal aa). Problem solved. Games aren't movies and my eyes aren't cameras.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,159
#11
I don't like it but sharpening options can be horrendous as well.

On PC you can often inject SMAA and render at a high res and sometimes a low FXAA TAA setting at high res can be ok like in AC origins.

With Forza on PC and forward render you can have MSAA out the ass.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,789
#12
I think it's worth it for eliminating aliasing that even 16x super sampling can't get rid of.

Best of both worlds is some softening AA with enough super sampling to sharpen it back up. No aliasing and a sharp image remains!
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,679
#15
4k plus turn of motion blur, dof, and aa (or minimal aa). Problem solved. Games aren't movies and my eyes aren't cameras.
Problem with Resident Evil 2 is there's something weird going on, if you don't have TAA on the game becomes a shimmering mess even at 4k. It does not look normal at all.
 

molnizzle

Self-requested ban
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,756
#17
I’ll take a softer image without shimmer over temporal shimmering every single time. Just looking at that HL2 screenshot, I can feel the shimmer on that fence. Ugh.

TAA rules.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,184
Australia
#18
There's so many different AA implementations these days that it's hard to make a broad statement.

On console I'm pretty permissive of whatever developers go for because I sit far enough away from my screen that the artifacts aren't too noticeable. On PC though, I find some of the temporal solutions super ugly and distracting, especially the ones that blur like hell with any camera movement and only ever really look sharp when you're completely motionless.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,856
#19
Some TAA can look shit. Didn’t like Fallout 4’s implementation so I use a mod to turn it off on console. The screens of RE2 are looking too soft for my liking, but hopefully that gets dialed back by the final release.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,190
#20
Lower temporal aliasing far outweighs softer image quality for me.

4k plus turn of motion blur, dof, and aa (or minimal aa). Problem solved. Games aren't movies and my eyes aren't cameras.
Video game cameras are meant to be neither eyes nor film cameras in most cases.
 
Oct 26, 2017
8,603
#22
I've been pleased with the aa methods on console lately. I know it's soft looking, but I actually do not mind at all. Even in the lower resolution games.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,213
#23
is it true that AA will increase input lag? or maybe its not called input lag in this case, but display lag? i swear guilty gear feels way more responsive with all the post processing stuff and aa turned off
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
732
#24
i agree with OP. not necessarily for every game, but there are definitely a lot of examples where i prefer raw crunchy aliased 1440p to the AA techniques currently offered.

far cry 5 is one of them, actually, and i didn't think to try the sharpening. will see how it is! stuff like foliage looks way better to me with AA off, but the power lines are rough.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,251
#26
is it true that AA will increase input lag? or maybe its not called input lag in this case, but display lag? i swear guilty gear feels way more responsive with all the post processing stuff and aa turned off
That is the 1st I heard of that!
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,952
#27
I used to be super sensitive about this stuff. It was a main reason I made my own PC.

But lately I haven't had much of a problem switching between games on PC, streaming PC games, PS4, Switch, and 3DS.
Starlink on Switch for example has pretty terrible IQ quality on the Switch in handheld mode, but it really doesn't bother me much while playing it these days.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,536
#28
As long as the game runs at the display's native resolution I don't think it's bad at all. The benefits outweigh the negatives. RDR2 still looks sharp and detailed with pretty much no jaggies or shimmer
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,162
Glasgow, Scotland
#29
Would rather a softer but smooth image than one with shimmering artifacts that literally flash out loud at you. It's been the big benefit this generation, especially on the Pro just how ridiculously cleaner games have gotten compared to past generations (console gamer here). Something like Detroit looks so clean when I first played the demo I almost didn't expect that the cutscene was over and the gameplay had started. Sooooo much better than a shimmering mess. Shimmering jaggies has always taken me out of my immersion in that game.
 
Oct 27, 2017
72
#33
Problem with Resident Evil 2 is there's something weird going on, if you don't have TAA on the game becomes a shimmering mess even at 4k. It does not look normal at all.
That’s very normal. Many games these days are a shimmering mess at 4K if you don’t use AA. Even 8K can’t eliminate the need for AA.
 
Oct 25, 2017
467
#34
Yeah, I don’t understand why games like FFXV and RE2 look terrible with no AA or TAA in 4k. A lot of other games aren’t like this.
 
Oct 25, 2017
843
#36
Temporal reprojection AA has become really commonplace with it being cheaper to use than something like MSAA (which is just unfeasible in modern AAA games due to the high performance cost and the fact that it doesn't work too well with deferred renderers although Guerilla had an interesting solution for Killzone 2 https://www.guerrilla-games.com/read/deferred-rendering-in-killzone-2).

While Temporal reprojection AA is amazing in dealing with specular aliasing, I can't help but feel it blurs a game's image quality too much giving it a softer look. I'd say the worst examples of this is FFXV, Quantam Break, Dishonored 2 and Fallout 4, but playing that Resident Evil 2 demo on PC is what really spurred this thread. I mean this is just a bit too much aye?



It gives a more cleaner and consistent image overall which is important sure, but I can't help but prefer the more basic but sharper look of something like Half-Life 2 for example despite the insane amount of shimmering.





Don't get me wrong, I still think TAA is a solid post-AA but I really don't like how soft games it makes games look. With the rise of more temporal reprojection AA solutions, I'd love if game developers starting including sharpening options. Ubisoft seems to be leading in this department doing so in Watch_Dogs 2, Far Cry 5, Wildlands, Siege, Assassin's Creed Origins and others.



What are your thoughts on this, ERA?
Yeah.... I always thought weird the praise that the IQ of some games receive, like The Order for example .... And plenty of AA solutions are the same. Too soft for my tastes. The Half Life 2 example really is the kind of clean IQ that I like.
 
Oct 27, 2017
347
#36
I've never liked sharpness as an overriding measure of quality, and despise the way artificial sharpening looks. I prefer a softer image to a sharper one with visible sharpening artifacts any day of the week. Artifacts annoy me in general, while softness is something I get used to quickly and don't really mind as long as it's consistent. I'm generally impressed by modern AA techniques, and haven't really seen any that goes too far in terms of excessive softness. Of your examples, I have only played FFXV and was totally fine with it. Your RE2 example looks great as well.
 

Sinder

Banned
Member
Jul 24, 2018
6,854
#38
I strongly dislike sharpening as an answer to the blur of TAA because a lot of devs overdo it. The sharpening in Deus Ex for example is absolutely awful, and I even notice the sharpening in stuff like Uncharted 4 sometimes tbh. Any artifacts that are introduced by low quality motion blur or DOF are highlighted significantly by sharpening.

TAA can be done well, it just needs to be implemented and tuned carefully. FFXV is a bad example of it, seemingly, but then when you turn it off the shimmering and pixel crawl is shocking. But then you have something like Spider-Man PS4 which uses temporal AA and looks great with minimal sharpening (that I noticed).
Mankind divided looks too blurry without sharpening but too sharp with it on. Is there any way to get a good middle ground? Even on my 4k monitor just disabling AA looks awful.
 
Nov 14, 2017
928
Texas
#39
Yeah, temporal AA blur sucks. Fortunately my PC is powerful enough to play most games at 4k and use either FXAA or no AA at all and it looks nice and crisp with minimal aliasing. Some games shimmer like crazy though so it's not possible. Disappointing to hear RE2 is one of those.
 
Oct 30, 2017
10,859
#41
All I can say is jaggies are a horrendous eye sore

Walking through an environment and seeing staircasing/flickering in a bunch places is a turn off
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,953
#42
Old games lacking lots of post-process in general really make them look so damn clean. It's a great look and one I'm finding myself missing.

TAA at least has gotten a lot nicer these past few years in some select games. Certainly we're past the days of stuff like AC4: Black Flag, where everything was just outrageously fucking blurry.

But yeah, games really need an adjustable sharpening filter to get the most out of it. I was surprised a couple of days ago by how damn sharp Siege looks with TAA.
 
Oct 30, 2017
3,840
#43
Ehh I think it’s got a lot better now. Just look at dark souls remastered vs dark souls 3 or blood Bourne. Or injustice 2 vs mkx. AA is improving.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,777
#44
I almost made a thread like this one a week ago, I had the exact same sentiments as the OP. It really feels like this generation of games went a bit too hard on the AA, blur, chromatic effects, etc.
 
Oct 30, 2017
4,924
Denmark
#48
Yes. TAA and anti-TAA sharpening suuuuucks, but movies also look more realistic like movies which is also cool, I just need more of a tradeoff between the games I play. Spiderman PS4 looked so awful with all the faux movie filter effects when it was also trying to be full of levity and vibrancy.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,189
#49
I prefer the stability of good temporal AA, especially at resolutions that look good on a 4K display, but yeah they can be pretty soft at 1080p and under.

I think Spider-Man hits a really good balance of sharpness and temporal stability.