After testing AMD’s new Radeon Image Sharpening function, we have gone again for much more testing. The first article is certainly price a learn in case you missed it, as we had been primarily inquisitive about seeing how Radeon Image Sharpening (RIS) seemed in comparison with a local presentation, and the way efficient it was at post-processing an upscaled picture to look near-native. The huge focus of the check was how RIS in comparison with Nvidia’s DLSS, and whether or not the 2 applied sciences may successfully do the identical factor, though they’re totally different in how they work.
The conclusion we got here to was that RIS is superior to DLSS when it comes to picture high quality and really efficient at put up processing say, a sport rendered at 1800p to look very near its native 4K presentation. With a negligible efficiency affect on Navi GPUs, it makes for a reasonably compelling function.
But we did not cowl each angle attainable in that article. Namely, Radeon Image Sharpening shouldn’t be the one option to put up course of sharpen a sport. Reshade is a extremely popular instrument that can be utilized for all types of put up processing together with sharpening by way of a number of methods. Nvidia has their very own sharpening possibility included with their Freestyle sport customization instruments as properly.
Nvidia Freestyle is marketed fairly in another way to Radeon Image Sharpening and in contrast to AMD, Nvidia doesn’t recommend that sharpening might be used with decision downsampling for efficiency advantages. Mostly as a result of they’ve DLSS for that. But we’ll take a look at the way it stacks up on this article.
The different huge new improvement is that AMD’s Content Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) filter utilized in RIS has been ported to Reshade. This has been attainable as a result of CAS is included in AMD’s open supply FidelityFX toolkit, and evidently porting that to a Reshade impact was fairly straightforward. So now, we are able to see how CAS works on different GPUs, and whether or not AMD proscribing RIS to their new Navi GPUs really is smart.
For this new check, we wish to examine Radeon Image Sharpening and AMD’s CAS algorithm with a number of different sharpening choices which are accessible immediately together with Nvidia Freestyle and two well-liked filters accessible in Reshade: lumasharpen and adaptivesharpen.
In addition to the picture high quality pictures provided right here you possibly can take a look at Hardware Unboxed’s video (embedded under) utilizing YouTube’s 4K high quality for the very best illustration of the sport’s graphics. For all screenshots, you possibly can click on on them to see a bigger 4K model of the identical picture.
We’ll get began with Metro Exodus as a result of it supplies a very good mixture of 3D components, textures and textual content. What’s instantly obvious wanting carefully at these photos is that every sharpening filter has a definite model and every manipulates the picture differently. In some respects the tip result’s comparable for all filters, and in others there are variations.
Reshade’s lumasharpen in its default configuration is probably the most refined of all of the filters. It barely sharpens the picture, clears it up a bit, and doesn’t introduce many artifacts. If Metro Exodus used a sharper temporal anti-aliasing methodology, the sport with lumasharpen might be how I’d anticipate it to look.
Radeon Image Sharpening is a transparent enchancment on lumasharpen. In some methods, RIS is simply as refined as lumasharpen, for instance within the fibers on the sweater on the appropriate. Both look comparable. Then for the ‘New Game’ texture, RIS is a slight enchancment with out the introduction of a lot haloing or artifacts. But then for the map within the higher nook, mainly that whole texture is clearer with RIS in comparison with lumasharpen and it’s in areas like that had been AMD’s algorithm has a transparent edge.
Then we get to Reshade’s adaptive sharpen, which in its default configuration is far sharper than Radeon Image Sharpening. However it additionally has many extra artifacts. Take the proceed textual content on the CRT display screen. This is meant to be a bit blurry as you would possibly anticipate from this kind of show within the sport’s world. But adaptivesharpen doesn’t know, and tries to sharpen it, which simply leaves this bizarre blocky artifacting. This crops up throughout the picture with a variety of oversharpening, plus you get haloing.
Nvidia Freestyle to me seems to be most just like Reshade’s adaptive sharpen. Setting Freestyle to 50% sharpening, and lots of the identical points crop up as with adaptive sharpen. The textual content particularly seems to be oversharpened with slight haloing current. Meanwhile, the map is sharp however not as sharp as Radeon Image Sharpening.
Now, Freestyle does have a sharpening power slider, so I tuned that all the way down to 25% however it’s simply inferior to RIS. It’s mainly a much less sharp, toned down model of 50% that truly loses it’s “sharpness” edge total to RIS, whereas nonetheless wanting a bit overprocessed in some areas.
At least on this sport, working at a local 4K decision, in our opinion Radeon Image Sharpening has the very best presentation: sharper than lumasharpen with comparable artifact dealing with. This is simply my opinion although, you possibly can have a look at the photographs your self and are available to your individual conclusion about which seems to be finest.
We additionally needed to see how every of those filters would deal with decision downsampling, and for that we’ve got The Division 2 working at 4K with a 75% decision scale. This sport solely requires a refined put up processing sharpen, so lumasharpen is rather well suited right here. Adaptive sharpen is as soon as once more too sharp in my view, whereas the battle between Radeon Image Sharpening and Freestyle is attention-grabbing.
In some areas, RIS is superior. For instance right here it handles the ‘United States’ textual content on the crashed airplane higher and with fewer artifacts. But Freestyle handles some distant nice objects higher with a smoother presentation that’s much less jagged. RIS handles the UI components higher. So we guess as anticipated no filter is basically the right answer.
Next up we’ve got Resident Evil 2, the blurriest sport of the bunch, and one that you may’t use Freestyle in, extra on that in a second. Again, a lot the identical points that we’ve already mentioned: adaptive sharpen is just too sharp, lumasharpen is a bit comfortable, Radeon Image Sharpening sits proper within the center. We did mess around with the next setting for lumasharpen, and whereas this improved element to carry out nearer to RIS, it additionally didn’t deal with the grain on this sport in addition to RIS. Not that that is overly seen on this footage because of compression.
Finally we additionally needed to point out some examples from Hitman 2. In this sport there may be a variety of glow and bloom components, which Reshade’s adaptive sharpen doesn’t deal with practically in addition to RIS or lumasharpen. RIS is sharper total, however as we enhance lumasharpen to a degree round that of RIS, it isn’t pretty much as good at rejecting these components. So we predict RIS total remains to be the very best filter right here.
Testing with Resident Evil 2 utilizing the Graphics Priority preset at 4K on a Radeon RX 5700 XT, you possibly can see that RIS has barely any efficiency affect: no distinction to common body charges and a negligible drop for 1% lows.
Reshade’s Lumasharpen filter had a minor efficiency hit of round two p.c. The sharpest filter, Adaptive sharpen does see a bigger efficiency loss. Average body charges dropped round 5 fps or a 9 p.c discount, with an analogous drop to 1% lows. Not nice for a filter I personally didn’t like that a lot.
What about Nvidia Freestyle? We can’t use Resident Evil 2 for a efficiency comparability since it isn’t supported by Freestyle, so let’s change over to The Division 2. Here, we see an analogous story for the Reshade filters on the RTX 2070: Lumasharpen is a few 3% drop, whereas Adaptive sharpen is round that 10% mark. Freestyle can be efficiency intensive, dropping the body price by Four fps or so, which is a 12 p.c discount.
Radeon Image Sharpening in The Division 2 as soon as once more exhibits a negligible efficiency distinction at 4K, throughout the margin of error. The RX 5700 XT does an OK job dealing with Reshade’s adaptive sharpen right here with a 7% efficiency drop however there is not any motive why you’d favor that over RIS which is mainly free.
The subsequent query is in regards to the Reshade port of Radeon Image Sharpening, in any other case referred to as Content Adaptive Sharpening or CAS. This works as simply as every other Reshade filter after you obtain and set up it, and in my testing I discovered a setting between 0.5 and 1.Zero to be consultant of the power AMD is utilizing for his or her filter. It’s attention-grabbing that with Reshade you possibly can alter the power, whereas with RIS there is no such thing as a adjustability of any kind. However I used to be happy to find that it appears this Reshade port of CAS is actually the identical as RIS from a visible perspective.
AMD wasn’t mendacity after they mentioned RIS makes use of Navi optimizations to attain mainly no efficiency hit on their newest GPUs. Testing Reshade CAS with a Vega 64 card, and the efficiency drop sits between lumasharpen and adaptive sharpen. It was a few 3% drop in Resident Evil 2, and a smaller 2% drop in The Division 2. Not outrageous, however a drop is a drop.
Similar story for utilizing Reshade CAS on a GeForce RTX 2070, due to course you should utilize Reshade filters with any GPU. About a 4% efficiency drop utilizing the impact in Resident Evil 2, and the identical in The Division 2.
In phrases of picture high quality, of all of the filters I checked out and performed round with, to me Radeon Image Sharpening or CAS delivered the very best presentation. Lumasharpen’s default settings are a bit weak, and turning them up introduces artifacts which are higher managed by RIS.
Meanwhile, each Nvidia Freestyle and Reshade adaptive sharpening are too sturdy, and tweaking these filters doesn’t present the identical stability of sharpness and artifact discount as CAS.
This is only a subjective evaluation although, so you possibly can undergo and see which method you like. For many individuals every part would possibly look fairly comparable, during which case it actually doesn’t matter which filter you utilize for sharpening.
What’s not subjective is the efficiency half. It’s clear that Radeon Image Sharpening on Navi GPUs comes at basically no expense. Lumasharpen was additionally gentle on efficiency, whereas surprisingly Nvidia Freestyle and Reshade’s adaptive sharpen had a comparatively small however constant efficiency loss.
Beyond picture high quality and efficiency comparisons, every sharpening method has its personal vary of constraints and usefulness points. This is vital to contemplating within the total image…
Radeon Image Sharpening has been made unique to AMD Navi GPUs and solely works in DirectX 9, 12 and Vulkan titles. Based on what we noticed with the port of CAS to Reshade, there is no such thing as a motive why this restriction ought to exist. The filter ought to work in DirectX 11 video games, and it additionally works simply nice on older GPUs like Vega. We consider RIS needs to be accessible to all AMD GPU house owners in all video games. I hope this turns into a actuality.
For now, we’ve got tips like utilizing the Reshade port. But that is far much less usable than Radeon Image Sharpening, which is a straightforward driver toggle that simply works. Reshade requires set up per sport, for us lovers it’s a reasonably simple course of, however for informal customers it’s not so simple as hitting a button. You additionally should hope that Reshade performs properly with the sport in query, simply throughout my testing I had problem getting it to work with Hitman 2, for instance, the place there have been no points with RIS.
Thus the profit to Reshade is compatibility with a wider vary of GPUs and video games proper now, and the power to switch the quantity of sharpening being utilized.
Nvidia Freestyle has a separate set of points. It works with Nvidia GPUs and when it does work, it really works properly. But there’s a whitelist of video games that it really works with, so titles like Hitman 2 and Resident Evil 2 aren’t supported, for instance. Nvidia must open this as much as work with all video games and never lock it down to what’s admittedly an honest, however clearly not complete record. Nvidia does have the sting of Freestyle working with DX11 video games, however it additionally comes with a efficiency hit for under modest visible high quality in comparison with CAS.
After testing Freestyle, it’s clear why Nvidia went down the trail of DLSS for decision downsampling. Nvidia’s Freestyle sharpening filter shouldn’t be free when it comes to efficiency, so DLSS finally ends up being higher from a efficiency vs picture high quality perspective. Meanwhile, RIS on Navi is actually free and higher high quality.
However, whereas this entire ecosystem is a little bit of a multitude proper now, I believe there’s a good future for this type of expertise. If we are able to get AMD and Nvidia providing a driver-level CAS function in all video games on all GPUs with a minimal efficiency affect – which appears to be attainable – it should open up the doorways to usable decision downsampling, sharper post-process anti-aliasing, and only a higher gaming expertise total.