Improving visual fidelity using the FXAA Injector OR now with ENB+SMAA instead.

Discussion in 'Performance Support' started by ARCHIVED-Visceral, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Improving visual fidelity in Vanguard using a Post Process FXAA Injector (ENBSMAA is posted a few posts down!)

    For those of you unaware of what a Post FXAA injector does, it essentially adds color/anti-aliasing and texture sharping effects to just about any game, independent of those games settings. It's *very* popular with the Skyrim mod crowd and I thought I'd try my hand at it with Vanguard now that I've re-subbed in anticipation of the upcoming updates/f2p announcement(s). FXAA allows you to independently set things like level of anti-aliasing, color saturation and sharpening.
    The settings I used in these screenshots are what I arrived at as my happy place for the moment. You might not like as much saturation, sharpening, bloom, etc. The beauty of the tool is that it allows you to tweak those to you hearts content, you can even alt+tab and tweak and re-tab back into the game to see your results. Even if you are perfectly happy with the default color scheme (and trust me, after seeing this game with better color saturation I'm not sure that's possible), I'd highly recommend at least use the texture sharpening, it does an amazing job. It should be perfectly safe to use with Vanguard as well, the only thing going on is how your video card is rendering a scene, so no hanky-panky.

    Here is the FXAA installer I use as a base line for tweaking things in Vanguard. I selected pre-set 4 and played around with things until I got the effect I wanted. I activated AA and maxed it out and it *does* make a difference with little performance hit. I also recommend turning post sharpening up all the way or close to it for sharper textures. You can use any of the 1-4 presets and tweak from there. Download the program from Nexus file and run the installer. When it asks you where to install the files make sure you change the default install location to your /Vanguard/Bin folder.
    I've added presets for Vanguard here. For the paranoid, I've included them in their folder state and not a .exe file. Just unrar the files, select the preset folder you want and put the files in your Vanguard/Bin folder.
    Vanguard/Bin/files (NOT the entire folder, just the files in that folder)
    They include the following:
    Preset 1: Fxaa with AA, Sharpening and HIGH color saturation (As appears in the below screenshots)
    Preset 2: FXAA with AA, Sharpening and medium color saturation.
    Preset 3: Fxaa with AA & Sharp only
    Preset 4: Fxaa with only AA activated (No color changes)
    Preset 5: Fxaa with only Sharpening activated (No color changes)
    Preset 6: SMAA (Sub pixel anti-aliasing, if you use this you cannot use the above FXAA injectors)
    All credit to somedude for the FXAA injector and violator for the tool itself, and presets these were derived from. I just tweaked a little and re-packaged, hopefully some people will find it usefull. For SMAA, credit goes to mrhaandi for that injector.
    If you prefer to get them from other sources, without the presets above, you can get them from the links below.
    Post Process FXAA Injector
    (Preset desciptions taken from the above link)
    Preset 1: Medium sharpening, medium bloom, technicolor, medium saturation.
    Preset 2: No sharpening, medium bloom, technicolor, medium saturation.
    Preset 3: Medium saturation only.
    Preset 4: Medium sharpening, medium bloom, technicolor, warm sepia, high saturation.
    Once the files are installed, you can boot up your game and see how it changes things. The FXAA tool will be installed in your /Vanguard/Bin folder as well, you can alt_tab out of the game to play with the sliders and then alt+tab back to see changes.

    Hitting the "Pause" key while in game toggles the effects on/off! Use this to see the differences between vanilla and your tweaked settings!!

    Here are some random shots I took from around Telon using this. The in-game screenshot function of Vanguard does *not* capture post-process effects, so you'll have to use Fraps like I did to capture the effects should you want to post screen-shots. So I basically turned effects OFF by using the pause key, took a screen shot, hit pause ON by hitting the pause key and took another screen shot to show off what's going on.
    I have noticed the it slightly decreases the DOF effect in the forground, but upping the effect can improve that. Distant DOF appears to be largely unaffected. I hope this helps some of you enjoy this great game some more, if you end up using it, please post some screen shots and the settings you used!

    *This shot is bright. It's at dawn/sunset with a torch, making it a little over the top. The purple sky is the sun setting/rising.





    For those who desire neither sharpening or bright color balance but simple want better Anti-Aliasing, I recommend SMAA, another new form of post process anti-alising that works even better than FXAA. Alas, the two are not compatible at the moment so it's an either or situation. I find the AA in FXAA to be perfectly fine though and there is a new version on the horizion that will be even better. Here's the link to SMAA anti-aliasing. Install it to your /Vanguard/Bin directory like the other one. I believe PAUSE turns it on/off as well so you can guage the difference.
    Want to uninstall FXAA? Delete the following:
    injFX_Shaders folder
  2. kudos for posting this, as im sure some people will love it.. but to me all the after pics look like they were ripped out of a coloring book.
  3. It's easily adjustable, that's the thing. It doesn't have to look anything like that and you still get AA and texture sharpening if you wish. The color saturation is pretty high up there, but it's more for effect for this. You can certainly tone it down or totally off. And no problem, a LOT of people hate high color saturation like this, it's a common complaint.
    The easiest way to tone down the brightness is to use the Technicolor slider and slide it UP. It these screenshots it's turned down to 1. Off is even brighter, and it gets less "bright" as you go up. A less "intense" setting to start with would be preset 1.
  4. I also have to agree, the before pictures look much better. I did by your suggestion try using the SMAA thing, but it does not work and Vanguard would no longer load, it gave an error. So I promptly deleted SMAA.
  5. You can alter the game settings for color via the /setfog command:

    /setfog 200000, 400000, 120, 120, 240

    Where /setfog start = 200000, End= 400000, Red= 120, Green= 120, Blue= 240

    Adjust the colors as desirded.. setting the fog in the distance creates a clearer view of the game. ;)
  6. Ultima@Telon wrote:
    With smaa, make sure you're not running any kind of overlay like steam, fraps, after burner, etc. That's the cause of the non loading.
  7. Thanks for posting this. I'm loving it so far (though I havent spent time tweaking the settings to get it just right). I made a short demo vid to show my guildies what this does. As per usual, 1080p fullscreen for best results.
  8. You can download the FXAA Injector from it's source and authors (and not people taking credit for it) here:
    Another benefit to using the source is that you can keep up to date with versions.
  9. Baratan wrote:
    that sounded slightly accusational
  10. toodledoo wrote:
    It *does* doesn't it?
    Since I'm not sure he was referring to me to the Nexus link, I'll be civil about it.

    First, I take zero credit for FXAA or the tool linked here. Had you downloaded the color profile I included and read the README you would have seen everyone credited, including Timothy Lottes, the person behind the actual code of FXAA (the link to assembla is for the tool itself, also credited).

    Second, as for using an "outdated" version of FXAA, this was done on purpose. The current color profiles included do not work with the latest FXAA injector, the values are off and you do not get the desired effect. I'm *sure* you can get the desired effect if you wish to start over, but honestly, the only new thing added is an HQ sharpening function I didn't use.

    So, the main thing here is that it included some color profiles I tweaked myself and the standard profiles that come with it, for you to do as you wish. The point was to make sure people knew the FXAA injector does in fact work with Vanguard.
  11. ENB+SMAA for Vanguard: Better bring a torch! version.

    Based on the GTA ENB series by Boris Vorontsov:
    Based on SMAA:
    Based on SMAA Injector:

    First, this is not a simple gamma correction mod. The ENB series can change color settings and darkness/light settings independently of each other for a variety of effects. It does so automatically so a day will be appear as normal as you like it and nights will be much darker, without you having to adjust any settings in game while playing. Most importantly, the amount of darkness/light is easily changed via a .txt file so you can tinker with it.
    After the game loads, you *must* hit shift+f12 to activate the effect. You can toggle this on/off at your lesiure.
    ENB Pro-Cons vs. FXAA

    Initial game loading time +20 seconds or so. Annoying, but can't be helped. Only happens when initially loading the game.
    No Texture Sharpening.
    Settings must be adjusted via text file and cannot be changed "on the fly" like FXAA.

    Works with SMAA, a superior form of AA to that used in FXAA.

    Color settings for day and night are independent from each other. This allows for normal days and darker nights based on light calculations, not entirely on gamma. Night time in Vanguard is horrible, it's way too bright. ENB allows you to change this so nights and shadows are actually dark without making days dark as well. Things like moonrise, time of night, etc have an effect on how dark it is. Shadows in the daytime are calculated by what is casting them: Heavy tree foliage results in darker shadows under a canopy, just like in real life. Of course the game takes these things into account to begin with, but it does so in a manner which makes darkness trivial and almost useless. You will *need* a torch when using this, there are areas, especially forests, etc that will be *dark* without one. It doesn't change how mobs aggro, that's not based on light levels.
    Unrar into your Vanguard/bin directory. When it loads, you'll see the "ENB series for GTA San Andreas" message in the uppper lefthand corner. It will then take about 20 seconds to load. At character select, hit shift+f12.

    Settings that work for ENB with Vanguard.

    There are *many* settings in the GTA version of ENB that do *not* work with anything other than GTA. Likewise, the latest versions of ENB for Skyrim are almost entirely made for that game and do nothing when attempting to use them with Vanguard.

    Settings that work in enbseries.ini

    Color Correction

    It might not seem like much, but each category has a large number of sub-settings that can be used to give you varied effects.

    Sub-Settings of interest:


    This is how dark our nights will be, and, to a lessor extent, some shadows. A setting of 32 is pretty dark, you'll need a torch. This can be made less dark by lowering this value.

    This is the amount of "color" you want the game to display during daytime hours. It's how bright colors are, etc. A setting of 6 is bright, you can decrease/increase to your own desire.

    The amount of "color" displayed during nigh time hours. Keeping this value less than ColorSaturationDay helps define a larger difference between night and daytime hours (colors appear more washed out at night), but it's a personal preference thing ultimately.

    All of these values are of interesting depending on how much bloom you want during day/night hours. Best best bet is to play around with them until you reach the desired effect. Personally, I like less bloom during day and slightly more during night for a more "dreamtime" kind of look.

    Anticipated comments/complaints:

    "It's too dark! I can't see anything!"
    Yes, it is dark. It's supposed to be a more accurate representation of lighting in a world where outside established safe places, it's going to be dark at night or in heavy shadows. Also, this is easily changed to your liking as per instructions above.

    "Your saturation is horrible! It looks like a cartoon!"

    Saturation levels are easily changed with colorsaturationday and night. Those are just my prefered levels, you can set it as low (vanilla) or high as you want, separate from darkness levels.

    "I hate you! You kill puppies when you change the way the developers wanted Vanguard to look!"
    Ahh well, I prefer to play the game in my own manner, not the way someone else prefers me to play it. Choice is good.

    Also, don't forget you *always* have a torch equipped by just using ctrl+k. You can might it even brighter by using ctrl+k and a normal equipped torch.
    Lighting will wax/wane when the moon is up/down or under heavy tree cover. An example is Veskals Exchange. At night with no moon it can be very dark indeed as the structures there give off some, but not a lot, of light. When the moon comes up, there's more light to be had.


    Before, standard color and darkness levels, with Torch.
    After, higher color sat and adjusted darkness levels, with Torch

    Before, standard color and darkness levels, with Torch.
    After, higher color sat and adjusted darkness levels, with Torch.

    Before, standard color and darkness levels, with Torch.
    After, higher color sat and adjusted darkness levels, with Torch.

    Before, standard color and darkness levels, no Torch.
    After, higher color sat and adjusted darkness levels, noTorch.
  12. i really like the time and effort your putting into this :). before i give this a go i would really like to know how much of an inpact it has on raiding performance for example.
  13. Alimora@Telon wrote:
    I'm not a raider myself and don't have characters in that range to test it out. However, you can toggle the effect on/off with shift+f12 in-game, so testing it out is just a matter of seeing how well it works in a raid by toggling it on/off and checking fps for each state.
  14. Good post.
    I've started using this stuff for basically every game that does not already have these features. It is worth it if only for the AA in games that do not already give that option. Forcing AA through my video card drivers barely ever works the way I would like it to.
    I like bumping up the color and saturation in some games sometimes, but sometimes I spend more time fiddling with the colors than I do playing the games :p
  15. I am having the same issue with the FXAA Injector, I made sure that steam was shut down but still not letting me load. Not sure what else could be running as an overlay, and it is strange cause the first night I installed it I was able to get in the game fine and really enjoyed the color change.
    I was ready to start taking screen shots and making some vids for Vanguard Forever showing off the new wonderful colors and effects, but looks like I might have to stick to the regular setup. Does the ENB+SMAA you posted in your last reply suffer from the same loading issues?
    I got it to work finally! Seems I had to go under my video card itself and change some settings, forcing AA and other stuff. Now lets see if I can continue to log in to the game and use FXAA. One quick thing though, what setting causes the fonts in game to looks hazzy, fuzzy and hard to read? I love the colors popping and slightly darker environs, but all the words in game are now harder to read.
  16. Updated Update***
    Back to not letting me load the game. Very strange that it will let me in once or twice after installing but after that it just causes the launcher to generate an error report and reverts back to the push play to begin state of the launcher. It is a great tool and I would love to use it, but I think the designers of these types of programs would have to either come up with a version made specifically for Vanguard or work on the concept more to eliminate anything that will block the game from running. Like the issue with Overlays (still not sure what that means lol) with the SMAA and my guess to my problem with FXAA causing the game to not load.
    If some of you who are using FXAA or one of the others mentioned and not having issues care to send me a message on how you got yours setup I would appreciate it. I would love to use it to help promote the game with some videos and streaming sessions through Vanguard Forever.
  17. Quert@Telon wrote:
    The hazy text is caused by forcing AA on the video card level. Don't use traditional AA if possible, either use the FXAA version or if using ENB, use the SMAA version. Better quality and lower performance hit in both cases as well.
    Edit: As for it not loading, I'm not sure. Anything that has overlays (stuff that sits on top of your screen and displays FPS, a steam window, lets you take snap shots, etc) is known to cause some people to have issues. You just need to think what you have running as the same time as the game.
  18. pasted the files in bin, but nothing happened. do i need to change anything else?
  19. Alimora@Telon wrote:
    For the fxaa version, PAUSE toggles it on/off. For the ENB version, it's shift+f12
    Both should be mentioned in the readme file(s)
  20. yes i used fxaa version, pasted in my bin folder, and booted vg. nothing happends when i push pause though. am i suppose to enable AA in vg?

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