~ Audition Graphics Quality Reference Guide ~
Okay so this is a quick reference guide to point at when talking about graphics quality on Audition. This is not a guide on how to get good graphics, which will be briefly discussed at the end, but actually on the terminology of the graphics quality and the differences the various settings make. I hope this will be useful to screenshotters and players alike.
The way that 3D graphics is done on computers is pixel by pixel (dot by dot.) This makes edges look jagged, which is also known as a staircase effect. Anti-aliasing blends colours together to give the appearance of smooth edges. Figure 1 below shows the difference that anti-aliasing makes.
NOTE: FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing) is not proper anti-aliasing and will lead to a slightly blurred image, which can make text look especially blurry. Turn this OFF for quality. It's a good alternative to AA if you don't want jaggies but can't afford the performance hit that comes with AA.
Figure 1. Left: anti-aliasing disabled, right: anti-aliasing enabled (16x CSAA)
The edge of the legs are smoother.
2 Anisotropic Filtering
When surfaces are at an oblique angle to the camera (a relatively large 3D area only covers a small portion of the 2D screen) they will appear blurred. Anisotropic filtering gets rid of this effect as shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2. Left: No anisotropic filtering. Notice that the edges of the sock texture are blurred.
Right: anisotropic filtering (8x) enabled. The textures say sharp at all angles.
3 Texture filtering quality
Texture filtering is a method of how the 2D textures (skin, clothes, etc.) get mapped onto the 3D shapes. Low quality filtering gives better performance but leads to blurry textures. High quality filtering may incur an FPS drop but the textures will retain more detail. Figure 3(a) and 3(b) below show the difference.
Figure 3(a). Left: Simple texture filtering (performance.) Right: high quality texture filtering (quality.)
Figure 3(b). Same as above. Notice the detail in the strands of hair and in the necklace.
Due to the nature of the graphics rendering in Audition, textures often come out slightly blurred. A simple sharpen filter can bring crispness back into the screenshot. This is usually done as a post-production effect in Photoshop, GIMP, etc. Figures 4(a) and 4(b) below show the effect of sharpening (exaggerated for illustration.) It is important to note that you must be working with a high quality screenshot to get good results. The in-game screenshot function produces low quality screenshots and sharpening the image will actually make it look worse. Ensure you have FRAPS or BandiCam and take screenshots in .PNG format.
Note for image editors: Always sharpen last, AFTER resizing. Sharpening can make an image look crisp again after sizing an image down.
Figure 4(a). The effects of sharpening the image. (Exaggerated to show the effect better.)
Left: normal high quality screenshot. Right: Sharpened.
Notice the improved quality of the detailed areas such as the hair and clothes,
and how the image seems to be more in focus.
Figure 4(b). Close up of Figure 4(a). Details such as the necklace and strands of hair
and ruffles on the shirt are restored to being clean and crisp.
5 How to enable graphics quality settings
Depending on your video card/chip and driver, it will be a different process. For Intel, you're limited to whatever settings are made available to you in the Intel Graphics Option panel (right click on Desktop, choose Graphics Options.) For NVIDIA, you can use the NVIDIA Control Panel which is installed with the latest drivers. For ATI/AMD, use Catalyst Control Centre (CCC) or ATI Tray Tools.
Please check out Hengbok's awesome guide for more information: http://forums.redbana.com/showthread.php?t=5165
For highest quality pictures, all of these settings combined will give you the best result. Remember, for quality, always use the PNG file format. Figure 5 shows a comparison of low quality and highest quality screenshots to give you an idea of what difference a little love and care can make.
Figure 5. The difference between a low-quality jpg screenshot (left)
and a high graphics quality, sharpened, lossless png screenshot (right.)