The big picture: Nvidia’s November 2021 update covers several topics regarding what the company is doing with its image reconstruction technology. The main story is its improved image scaling technology, called Nvidia Image Scaling, which is being offered as an alternative to AMD’s DLSS and FSR in the hope of gaining wider support from developers.
There has been a lot of praise for Nvidia’s DLSS – a feature that, in games that support it, makes low-res images as good or better than high-res images, thereby improving performance. It works through a combination of AI, the use of information from previous images, and tensor cores from Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards. Group analyzes such as Eurogamer’s digital foundry have maintained that users should always activate it whenever it is available.
AMD’s FSR also tries to improve performance by increasing the scaling of images from lower resolutions through methods such as spatial scaling and sharpening. It doesn’t use AI or information from previous images, but works on most GPUs, be they AMD or Nvidia.
Comparisons between the two in games that support both have shown that FSR is simpler and ultimately less effective. Yet, several major games have recently chosen to support FSR before adding DLSS, or in place of DLSS. Examples include Far Cry 6, Deathloop, Resident Evil Village, and Back 4 Blood. This is likely due to the less stringent FSR requirements and AMD making it open source, so anyone can potentially implement it.
Apparently in response, Nvidia has announcement it adds more functionality to its existing image scaler. This is not DLSS, but rather a simple upconverter similar to FSR which now has an improved sharpening algorithm with a six-key filter, four directional scaling and adaptive sharpening filters. .
Nvidia Image Scaling is enabled in the Nvidia control panel under “Manage 3D settings”. Once activated, it will add five new resolutions selectable through the game’s settings menus, based on a percentage of your display’s native resolution, from 85% to 50%. Notably, the latter is not available for 1080p monitors.
Once a user selects one of these resolutions with a game in full screen mode, Nvidia Image Scaling should switch from that to the display’s native resolution. If a game doesn’t support full screen, a user can simply use Nvidia Image Scaling to change the desktop resolution.
Nvidia Image Scaling even has an in-game overlay that should show real-time results. This is done through GeForce Experience, which can also be used to configure Nvidia Image Scaling. Pressing Alt + F3 while playing a game will allow you to adjust the amount of sharpness during the game and immediately see the difference.
Nvidia even offers its own in-depth comparisons between Nvidia Image Scaling, FSR, and DLSS. The company clearly wants developers and gamers to use DLSS, which is the best in all the comparative shots. Nvidia Image Scaling, on the other hand, looks a lot like FSR when all three methods are compared in Necromunda: Hired Gun. In the other comparisons, Nvidia seems to group FSR and its Image Scaling under the name of “spatial upscaling”.
Like FSR, Nvidia makes Image Scaling open source, so it could definitely be supported on AMD and even on Intel’s upcoming graphics cards in the future.
In addition to showing off its new scaling technology, Nvidia also announced the upgrade from DLSS to DLSS 2.3, which is said to improve some of the shortcomings of DLSS. Games using DLSS are sometimes known to introduce ghosting due to the way the feature handles motion vectors in a game. The PC version of Death stranding is a good example.
Nvidia claims to solve this problem with DLSS 2.3 to reduce ghosting, point out Cyberpunk 2077 as an example. DLSS 2.3 is also expected to improve particle reconstruction, which Nvidia exhibited in Doom Eternal.