Video games have many kinds of post-processing effects.
Likewise, post-processing in a game is the process of applying filters and special effects to a game. You might have heard this term while playing video games, but it doesn’t mean anything.
In this post, I will analyze and illustrate the most common post-processing techniques, which are often activated from the video configurations panel of the drivers and games.
What is post-processing effect in games?
Post-processing effects in video games are all the applied filters and special effects related to magic, water, wind, particles, or other special elements that we see in video games.
“Special effects” broadly includes all of the techniques used in the audiovisual industry to create the illusion of action and simulate objects, characters, environments, or phenomena.
Post-processing effects are elements visible on the screen and comprise textures, lights, and particles.
Defenders may have rounded, oval, or flat shields, and defensive actions may have round, angular, or straight shapes. Attackers may have short, long, or straight spears, and dynamic, offensive, or other actions can have either straight or round shapes.
What is post-processing quality?
Besides all the elements mentioned, color plays a vital role in the post-processing quality of a game. A good color can enhance the overall experience of a game, especially in chaotic situations such as those of MOBA games where many visual effect elements are on-screen simultaneously.
Why are post-processing effects used?
When you apply post-processing effects to games, they add character and emotion to images.
They are used to make the players immersed and engaged.
Animated games and video games look much better and are made to feel and look more realistic.
Sometimes, when we want to do something in a photo, we’ll go ahead and apply an effect to
Types of post-processing effects
From anti-aliasing to anisotropic filtering, let’s discover the post-processing technologies behind modern games.
Special Anti-Aliasing (AA)
Post-processing is probably the best-known technique to get better-looking visuals on high-end gaming consoles.
Jaggies or alias effects can be eliminated when viewing various polygons, especially at low resolutions.
Let’s now analyze the different types of AAs:
Super Sampling Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
Super sampling is the first type of AA developed. It’s a method of AA that lets you get the best results in graphic rendering.
You’re right; the price is high compared to the quality of the picture. On many screens, the color is calculated on most of the pixels on the screen, including several internal points called sub-pixels.
It’s known as Full-screen Anti-Aliasing (FSAA) and is a great performance optimization tool that reduces screen tearing, removes jagged edges on moving objects and makes your graphics card run more efficiently.
Multi Sampling Anti-Aliasing (MSAA)
Unlike Super Sampling, this process samples only the edges of polygons.
Using this method you dramatically reduce the amount of workload needed to get good results while still maintaining the highest quality.
But, this generates too many errors where there are transparent polygons, leaving the alias unchanged (there is also a specific type of AA called Transparency).
In any case, Multistep is currently the most used AA process.
Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing (FXAA)
This type of ABA, only recently developed, is different than all the others.
Instead of numerous calculations and a greater workload on the graphics card, a simple and very slight blur effect is processed over the whole image.
This smoothes the shape, and gives it more detail. It will improve the appearance of the edges of the polygon.
Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
The algorithm is also similar to multi-sampling. The only difference is that MLAA works according to three main criteria: search for points of discontinuity between pixels in a given image, identification of polygonal patterns, and merging adjacent colors.
The difference is that you have to use an edge detector to identify the edges of the shapes. Then, once these have been detected, you have to find out which ones are polygons and which aren’t. Next, you have to eliminate the jagged edges of the polygons by previously identifying the shapes to which the filter will then be applied.
Subpixel Reconstruction Anti-Aliasing (SRAA)
The SLAA is the answer to the MLAA, and is Nvidia’s version of the AMD’s sub-pixel shading algorithm.
Thanks to the better management of geometric limits independent of the complexity of the image, superior results would be obtained.
Image scaling means that you can zoom in or out to fit the native resolution of the panel, or you can make images as large or small as you need them to be.
Post-processing is one of the more primitive post-processing processes and is usually used when rendering images or videos at a lower than native resolution. It can be performed according to various methodologies, some better than others; this depends entirely on the chip integrated into the monitor, which is called the scaler.
In any case, scaling carried out to increase the size of the image often has a very negative impact on its final quality.
It is strongly discouraged unless you have a good quality display or monitor, or a TV with an excellent scaler.
Always try to display games or videos at the native resolution of your monitor to get the sharpest, most detailed images possible.
Anisotropic Filtering (AF)
The anisotropic filter is used for several years and is still popular in games today.
The process improves the quality of the textures placed on surfaces with different angles, and helps reduce aliasing and maintain aspect ratio correct textures based on the subject’s perspective.
The difference is that elliptical and non-circular calculations are more effective.
It’s always helpful to use an anisotropic filter rather than a linear, bilinear, or even trilinear in order not to run into horrendous textures that could ruin the entire scene.
Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO)
Screen Space Ambient Occlusion is used to reduce or increase the realism of model reflections by reducing or increasing the amount of illumination on their surfaces.
When you trace rays in every direction of the surface to be illuminated, you create a 3D image that represents the amount of light that comes into each area of the room.
Those who are surrounded by various objects will not change and thus will be even more in shadow.
SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) is a very heavy effect to calculate, which has a decisive influence on the performance of the game.
When using an HDR camera, images have to be created in a certain way that results in the best outcome. When editing the best outcome, HDR is used.
It’s an advanced technique which improves your photos by increasing the range between minimum and maximum exposure values in a certain range and takes different exposure levels as a reference, combining them into one picture.
It works better than normal HDR photography by bringing out details in brightness and color, while preserving their original look and feel.
The “Bloom” effect reproduces the graphic artifact that’s typical of real photography. It aims to reproduce the effect in which light is reflected onto darker surfaces it impacts.
This creates a blur effect around the object, giving it more realism and “familiarity” to the human eye, but without any sharp lines or clear edges.
Unfortunately, this technique is not really adopted by the latest generation games because it’s implemented somewhat too obviously, although it’s still worth trying.
How to add post-processing to unity
First thing you need to do to enable post-processing on a camera is to add a post-process layer. Then, choose the layer you want to apply post-processing to.
If you select the GameObject, which is what will trigger the post-process layer.