PP causing softer image?

OK, so in playing around today I ended up turning PP off for Skyrim VR temporarily - no other changes made, and I noticed immediately that the rendered scene was sharper (but, of course, unfortunately suffered from water issues and a few other problems due to not having PP turned on). Started playing around a bit and it’s definitely not a placebo effect; all other settings being exactly the same when I turn on Parallel Projections for Skyrim VR, which it really needs, the overall picture clarity worsens. It’s almost as if I’m running at a lower resolution. Turn PP off again and the clarity returns.

I’m running the .271beta. Not sure I had this problem prior to now (then again, I don’t generally turn PP on in Skyrim, so I can’t be sure.)

Is this normal? And is there anything I can do to fix it?

Yes it is normal, PP does affect the rendered resolution.

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Well, bummer. Thanks acegamer, at least now I won’t spend half a day trying to fix it :joy:

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I think if you change the steamvr supersampling setting from auto to manual, you can prevent/adjust this this as desired. PP-On requests a larger resolution from steamvr than PP-Off, so if it’s set on auto then steamvr will adjust the supersampling down to compensate and give you a similar framerate.

Try it with supersampling on auto and PP-Off like you probably did, and then note what value steamvr has automatically moved the slider to. Now change the setting from auto to manual and make sure it’s at that same value, and launch the game with PP-On. You should now have the same clarity as you saw with PP-Off, but of course your framerate will be lower due to rendering more pixels.

I think the nature of PP also does introduce a little blurriness by definition, as you’re essentially stretching/squashing the original image in order to get in to the right aspect.

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I have it turned off as the only issue I have without it is with the loading scenes as far as I remember and I don’t care about that.

PP eats a lot of performance, so unless it’s game breaking I leave it off at all cost.

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Reshade may help with games it is compatible.

@ Heliosurge Does ReShade now work with HMDs? That would be good news. Last I heard it did not work and Crossire had absolutely no interest whatsoever in making it do so. But it’s probably been about a year since I bothered to check.

@kblax: I think it’s just the stretching and resizing issue. I never let Steam control the SS automatically; I figure out how far I can push each title and then set it manually. I’m very sensitive to blurry games; I really like things nice and crisp. (Obviously I don’t use TAA, I have an ENB that has both functional FXAA and Sharpening and with judicious use of those I have a Skyrim VR that’s both crisp and yet does not shimmer. A major PITA to get working right, I’ll tell you that!)

@DrWilken Without PP Skyrim VR has focal-plane issues with water; occasionally with lighting sources and shadows, and also occasionally with distant textures like glaciers in mountains, but all of these depend on the scene and angle of approach. It’s not terrible like some games, but if you are sensitive to these things like I am your focus will immediately be drawn to them. Every time I turn around and see water that is something like 5% higher in the river-bed than it should be, for example, it will just make my eyes and brain go “wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.” I sure wish I was one of the people who didn’t notice though, that would be fantastic. I guess some people can even play Dirt Rally 2.0 without PP on and that game has problems 3x worse than Skyrim.

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@g-coder Thanks for the tip! I have already played with that in Skyrim VR a bit. It definitely works, but the performance hit is more than I’m used to with ReShade. Most likely this is down to the resolutions we are pushing to the HMDs, and there probably isn’t anything to do about that issue. Unfortunately I tried to install about 6 other shaders and only a single other one actually compiled under this version (another sharpening method). That’s too bad, as this would be a great too for adding FXAA or MSAA to plus sharpening to something like Skyrim VR that has massive problems in terms of fidelity with the trinary options of ‘do you want unbelievable amounts of blur or unbelievable amounts of shimmer or do you want to spend an unbelievable amount of time installing and tweaking ENBs and mods known to reduce shimmer?’

If ReShade was up and working properly I could have probably fixed everything wrong with Skyrim VR in about 10 minutes. As it is I’m sure I have at least 30 hours of work just into getting it to look both non-blurry and non-shimmery.

Someone here is bound to have a connection with Crosire at some level; maybe there should be a sticky on this forum about ReShade and other post-processing techniques for those trying to tweak for the absolute best experience?

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OK, a bit more testing and I can verify that many shaders do work with the alpha release of ReShade for VR. Not all of them work by any means, but quite a few do, including a number of sharpening and AA filters. That’s great news. Taking a quick look at SMAA and a couple different sharpening techniques, for example, it looks like I’ll be able to very easily get rid of the ENB that I’m currently using in Skyrim VR (assuming the performance of the version of ReShade is actually better than the ENB, which it should be, as ENBs traditionally have much higher impact on performance that ReShade.) Skyrim VR with SMAA looked absolutely fantastic BTW. (FYI, for those still fiddling with Skyrim VR, use Imaginator to adjust saturation, color etc., as that’s an in-game mod that has zero performance impact.)

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This thread has definitely gotten off topic and migrated to “Skyrim VR and ReShade” but anyway, I tested the performance of the alpha .2 version of ReShadeVR today and surprisingly it’s performance was way, way worse than the ENB I had been using. On the other hand, the ENB only has FXAA, and with the ReShade I can enable MSAA. The results of my testing are therefore inconclusive as to total quality unfortunately. I had to drop from a Steam SS settings from 146ish all the way down to around 132ish to use the ReShade rather than the ENB, but the ReShade has better AA and sharpening than the ENB, so it’s basically a tie in the end, with neither option currently offering a superior final result.

EDIT: Did a more scientific test today. Unfortunately the ReShade Alpha currently has MUCH worse performance than the ENB I’m using. On a given scene it’s a penalty of around a 10fps penalty over vanilla Skyrim, or about an additional 5fps over Skyrim with the ENB I’m using. And that’s with the fastest AA and Sharpening Filters I could find (FXAA and Lumasharpen). So at least for now it looks like the ENB solutions remain better, at least for Skyrim VR.

If you have Steam VR Resolution scale set to AUTO it might be scaling down the resolution to “match” your system’s performance. Having PP enabled requires more rendered pixels so since that will be put more of a load on GPU, Steam VR will scale down the resolution if on AUTO as I said. I found it easier to just keep the resolution Fixed to 1 in Steam VR and then change all the setting in Pitools or Experience with Pimax Headset. Took me a little while to get use to that for me coming from a Vive but now I don’t really use the setting’s in Steam VR at all.

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Thanks Yoshimatsu. I’ve double-checked just to be sure I haven’t accidentally left that setting turned on, or that a Steam update didn’t turn that setting on again, and it is still off. I do generally use the PiTool quality at 1 and then set the resolution manually in Steam VR because Steam VR has much finer granularity; so I can raise and lower the resolution in very small increments rather than large amounts.

In an ideal world either PiTool itself or Steam VR, or the games themselves, would have a real-time auto resolution adjuster that worked properly, but so far I haven’t encountered any that do. The most obvious issue being that the ones I’ve tried (like in Skyrim VR) attempt to achieve the refresh rate of the HMD and don’t take into consideration any form of motion smoothing. If I could tell PiTool, Steam VR, or a game to “maintain the highest resolution on any scene that maintains 45fps” that would be fantastic, but I can’t.

In the end this is not a huge issues; it’s really only apparent if you change PP and then look at the game with a critical eye again. It’s noticeable, but once you’ve played the title for a short time you get used to the slight softer image (or, if you are lucky the game will have a built-in sharpness slider, but most the vast majority don’t.)

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Oh I don’t think you mentioned that you were using smart smoothing too. Smart smoothing tends to make the image less clear too but I assume you have an Nvidia GPU so at least it works lol. I have a RX 6700 XT and unfortunately Pimax’s Smart Smoothing is basically broken for me at the moment. I’ve actually been working with Pimax support to resolve it, since it seems on AMD GPUs their form of Smart Smoothing completely destroys image quality because motion smoothing (or whatever SteamVR calls it) on my Vive worked fine. Anyways they are pretty good with responding and seem eager to try to get issues fixed in updates so if you actually think you do have an issue maybe start a ticket there too if you haven’t.

I got my 5K Super a few months ago and I’ve have great image quality and all my games (I play Skytim and Fallout 4 VR too). I’ve had to avoid using Smart Smoothing (because it’s broken for me lol) and try to maintain at least 90FPS in all my games but fortunately my GPU is able to do that. A couple games I do have to lower res to 0.75 in PiTools when PP is enable if I want higher FOV but that’s what I have to do since SS is broken for me. Still looks pretty clear though. I haven’t tried FS2020 in VR yet though, going to try it soon.

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