Knowledgeable gamers will be familiar with terms like MSAA, FXAA, and TAA for anti-aliasing. If you are not familiar with these terms and you want a powerful gaming setup, then we have the info you need here. We are comparing two types of anti-aliasing techniques in this article – TAA vs FXAA.
The image on the computer screen is made up of millions of smaller bits known as pixels. These work together to make a unified image, but they have a shortcoming. Pixels cannot display anything round; however, since they work together as a larger unit, they can create the appearance of roundness. Round objects on your screen are actually made up of individual pixels in the form of a staircase structure.
This method of displaying rounded objects through blocks is going to cause jagged or rough-looking images, and those jagged edges create an effect known as aliasing.
To smooth them out, you can use a very high-definition display or you could use a process known as anti-aliasing. The high-definition monitors are really expensive and can require expensive hardware to back them up. That’s not something everyone can afford. Anti-aliasing is a more economical option, and FXAA and TAA anti-aliasing techniques are some of the more common ones.
We are talking about these two methods in particular because of how efficient and functional they are. Be aware that anti-aliasing will use the video memory on your graphics card and can interfere with a game’s performance. That’s why you want to choose the right kind of anti-aliasing technique for your setup and preferences.
The Primary Difference – TAA vs FXAA
These two methods fall into the anti-aliasing category known as post processing. That means that they take effect after the object has been fully rendered by the computer. This requires fewer resources from the computer and is more efficient than other methods. TAA stands for Temporal Anti-Aliasing, while FXAA means Fast Anti-Aliasing.
What FXAA does is evaluate each pixel and determine where the jagged parts are. Then, it fixes them before they even reach onto your screen. The way TAA works is by comparing frames to find the jagged portions and then sidestep some of the potential technical issues that could occur. TAA tends to use more of your computer’s resources, and you will probably need a faster computer to take full advantage of it and get a good experience with it, particularly while playing a game.
FXAA ON vs FXAA OFF
There are some advantages to the method FXAA works. Remember, it applies its anti-aliasing measures after the scene has been rendered by the video card instead of trying to create smooth lines from polygons on the screen.
This type of anti-aliasing works from one pixel to the next and can handle the kind of jaggies that other methods would miss. On top of that, the process works in one pass, which means it doesn’t require a lot of memory usage. That opens up more space for other operations and works well for the lower end graphics cards that have limited RAM to work with.
There are some disadvantages of using FXAA, though. If you have lots of blurring in your HUD or text, the filter may not be enough to handle that level of aliasing. There may be some effect on the sharpness of the image because of how much smoothing this technique produces.
In addition, the FXAA method won’t catch crawling errors or artifacts that were from previous scenes since it does not do a comparison from one screen to the next, says PCGamer. So, some of these mistakes may appear in the final image. TAA does a good job of correcting for errors by comparing each image to the one that preceded it. FXAA may also have trouble noticing all the jaggies that are present in more complex shapes since it isn’t examining the true model.
FXAA works very quickly and does not require much from your graphics card, comparatively speaking (more info). It actually comes included by default in many games these days since it is so efficient and so resource light. You can use the control software on your graphics card to access it or you may be able to change the settings for FXAA in-game as well.
TAA ON vs TAA OFF
TAA works by examining the preceding frames in the framebuffer and then activates anti-aliasing effects to the current frame sot get rid of jagged edges. This is a key difference between TAA vs FXAA. It definitely has a leg up on FXAA in some ways, but it is also going to use a large percentage of the memory in the graphics card. This is a resource intensive method because of its need to store previous frames.
TAA will take several samples from each pixel and then use that data to create a new version of every pixel that is anti-aliased. In order to do this, it has to track pixels for every object across several frames. Then, it tries to determine how that object changes from frame to frame. That gives it the details it needs to blend frames and provide anti-aliasing. Because of the way TAA works, crawling is handled with techniques such as anti-ghosting.
TAA requotes greater processing power than FXAA but will use fewer resources than most other types of anti-aliasing techniques. If you have TAA activated, you shouldn’t see nearly as many artifacts as you would with FXAA due to the way TAA utilizes information from several frames at once.
If you are working with a lower end GPU, though, TAA is probably going to cause a performance dip. You may also notice a bit of blurriness with those rigs. To compensate, you will probably have to turn down the graphics settings for optimal performance.
TAA vs FXAA: Which is Better
FXAA is probably going to be the best option for most people, says NVIDIA. It doesn’t ask as much of your GPU, so it will work better for the vast majority of machines. The difference in visual fidelity of these two techniques will be almost imperceptible to most people. If you want a high framerate for your FPS or in games like PUBG or Fortnite where speed is crucial, then using FXAA makes a lot of sense. If the visuals are more important to you (and they very well could be in games like Red Dead Redemption 2), then TAA may be more to your liking. Unless you have a robust graphics card, though, we would still recommend using FXAA even for games where visual fidelity really matters.
You will find that the majority of today’s games will support both FXAA and TAA. Our advice is to look at each of your game’s and graphics card’s settings and optimize them for the anti-aliasing method you are using. Look for where your graphics may be suffering or your performance may take a hit. Also look out for ghosting and artifacts when you are testing out your anti-aliasing technique’s performance.
There is a new rendering method that is like TAA call DLSS 2.0 that Nvidia is preparing, but that utilizes AI and a fairly low output to make very clear images. It does not require a lot of processing power, and it is likely the best option for those with an RTX card.