View Full Version : Tip of the day: Turning on Anti-Aliased OpenGL

08 August 2006, 05:17 PM
Hi all,

Todays tip comes with a pre-flight check list:

1. You must have an ATI video card (I haven't worked out how to do this with nVidia cards yet, sorry Ryan! ;) )

2. These instructions are for the Mac but WILL translate to PC.

Okay, so the aim of todays tip is to get EI previews to go from looking like the top row of the image below, to looking like those on the bottom row.

It is really easy and involves no restarting or anything technical. Let's get started.

If your ATI card is a card upgrade, skip the first two steps.

1. Go to the ATI website > drivers section, and download the file called "ATI Displays 4.5.7". These are the drivers for your card.

2. Install the drivers (no restart required).

3. Go to System Preferences and click on ATI Displays

4. Click on 3D

5. Press 'Add' and select EIAS Animator from within the EIAS 6.x folder.

6. Select 'Best Quality' from the Preset drop-down menu. Move a camera in Animator for this to take effect (no need to restart it, all changes made to the OpenGL settings are LIVE).

The obvious question is: How much does this slowdown OpenGL performance?
The answer: Not much, if at all. I've tried this out on three card types (128 meg 9200, 128 meg 9600, 256 meg X800XT) and there was no noticeable slowdown except for when i was running video capture software in the background and even then there was only about a 5% difference In some cases, previews were faster, no kidding.

Just so you know my tests were serious, I tested projects that ranged in size from 180k polys to 3 million polys. The 180k poly animation preview ran at 102fps on both settings (X800XT).

Is there a catch? Yes. Isn't there always! Saving previews to disk overrides the override settings for some bizarre reason and will ignore this trick. I don't think saving previews to disk was given the overhaul that general OpenGL was given in version 6 so I assume that this is to blame, anyway, doing a diffuse render is MUCH (up to 5x) faster then saving previews to disk (go figure).

Download a Photoshop file of a scene I'm currently working on; see before and after these settings are applied.

Well, that was a long winded tip! Hope some of you enjoy the 'upgade' :)
If you don't, just delete EIAS Animator from the ATI preferences and you're done!

I personally, will not be going back,

PS. I generally have a maximum of 2 Animator view ports open at any one time (using alt-1 through 6 to change between the ortho views).

08 August 2006, 01:05 AM
Thanks Ian.
From the image posted above I wonder why two of the 'pine-tree' sculptures look obviously quite different with anti-aliasing off and on.

I'm tempted to try this tip on my PowerPC Mac mini, just to see if it will work. But with only 32MB on the card...

08 August 2006, 07:30 AM
No harm in trying, if the card supports overriding, don't expect miracles on a 32 meg card though! :)...

The sculptures (they are supposed to be water droplets apparently ;) are of a rather spasmodic form, that's why I choose them.


08 August 2006, 10:34 AM
An additional note

Don't customise the ATI settings, the card works best with AA turned to highest (multisample mode). Standard AA is lower quality and slower (old tech, slower tech).

In a different project I'm working on, opengl previews are about twice as fast with the override on, go figure.

Anyone got this working on nVidia PC cards?

08 August 2006, 11:26 AM
Anyone got this working on nVidia PC cards?
No separate drivers available for my nVidia card on OSX. It's all build into the OS with no controls available in the preferences panel. My previous ATI card did give some controls in the preferences, but nVidia seems to have a different philosophy.

11 November 2006, 01:53 PM
Would this work in a 17" MacBook Pro with the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600?

Thanks for the tip,

11 November 2006, 04:05 PM
Hey guys I think I stepped through the equivalent settings on my quadrofx 1100 card.
I think that the previews looked better, but I couldn't tell the differences when I went back to
default settings.
But there are a lot of settings on the card, aside from the settings in the image you

I'll keep tinkering....

Mike Fitz (

11 November 2006, 01:56 PM
Yo Terry,

I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't.

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