Archive for January, 2014
The SweetFX Border effect places a border around the image. This can be used to place black borders at the top and bottom of the image to produce a letterbox appearance similar to that seen in 2.35:1 aspect ratio movies when viewed on a 16:9 aspect ratio HDTV.
Border does not change the resolution of the game. It merely “chops off” a portion of the image and fills it with a specified border color, so any vital game information display within the border area will be covered up by the border itself.
SweetFX Bloom does not add a soft, illuminating glow around light sources as its name might suggest. This is simply an overall “whitening” effect.
Monochrome converts an image into black and white. The Monochrome_conversion_values setting provides fine-tuning of the highlights that will produce different brightness levels once converted to black and white.
Enable monochrome with #define USE_MONOCHROME 1 and experience the image without color. Monochrome is best used with other effects, such as vignette, since it appears rather bland on its own.
Monochrome is not simply a black and white conversion effect. Adjusting Monochrome_conversion_values will create slightly different resulting images that emphasize or reduce highlights, so monochrome can adjust the brightness levels as well, which can reduce the need for a separate brightness adjustment effect.
SweetFX Technicolor attempts to recreate a pseudo-Technicolor effect by modifying the colors of the image enough to emulate the three-strip film process used by movie studios to produce color movies during the 1930s through 1950s.
After researching the history of Technicolor and the processing procedures, the actual SweetFX colors, when applied to video game post-processing, do not seem to resemble true Technicolor, and the Technicolor effect tends to fade and manipulate colors in a way that seem less realistic. Had movie audiences seen the results of SweetFX Technicolor, they probably would have preferred black and white films.
After experimentation and trial and error, it is uncertain whether the SweetFX Technicolor effect is rooted in a true Technicolor process or if the name was assigned arbitrarily. Regardless, the Technicolor effect is an interesting, useful addition that adds special coloring effects to the image, and it can be used as a base for further processing.
From a dark, gritty, dystopian world of muted color palettes to overexposed highlights, SweetFX Technicolor provides a range of effects that give games an altered appearance to best reflect their moods.
📅 January 20, 2014
Some video games render their graphics in a way that produces a cel-shaded, cartoon effect noted for its thick, black borders and flat-style surfaces. This effect is possible with SweetFX using the cartoon effect, and it can give games somewhat of a Borderlands 2 style.
That effect is splitscreen, and it divides the image into unprocessed and processed output for comparison. This effect is introduced first because it can be a useful debugging tool later on.
There is no single, comprehensive repository of SweetFX documentation with screenshots available (at least not found yet), so as these articles attempt to describe and show the various effects and settings, keep in mind that much of this information was researched through hours of trial and error and tedious experimentation with only the provided SweetFX files available for reference. Therefore, some settings might be incomplete or lacking in detail. Despite the theory behind how these effects operate, some results are obtained from guesswork and by examining the code files to make even more guesses.
📅 July 16, 2014
The SweetFX Shader Suite is a vendor-neutral program that provides post-processing effects to Windows DirectX 9, 10, and 11 games. Are the default game colors a little on the bland side? Need to sharpen the image? Wish for improved anti-aliasing using SMAA? SweetFX will provide those features — and more — to improve the visual quality of those dark and gritty pixels. Best of all, SweetFX introduces almost no performance lag, so if a game runs fluidly at 60fps before SweetFX, it will also run close to or at 60fps after SweetFX effects are applied — including SMAA anti-aliasing.
A sufficient number of individually customizable effects are provided by default, but if additional effects are desired, anyone is free to create his own using the proprietary high-level shader language (HLSL).
Despite the benefits and popularity of SweetFX, detailed documentation is sparse and without screenshots that demonstrate the effects. So, SweetFX learning is still a trial and error process in the dark. A few articles provided here will help show what SweetFX can do and how to configure the various effects. This is not a tutorial about how to make SweetFX operate in Linux, so we will be using Windows games on a Windows machine to ensure proper DirectX functionality.
Oh, no! It’s the monitor with the missing DVI EDID (Extended Display Indentification Data) again!
After testing new kernels, installing the latest Linux distributions, updating video drivers, reconfiguring video settings, testing different video hardware, testing different motherboards, and then swapping it all back again, the problematic monitor would only display in 1024×768 or 640×480 when connected through its DVI port.
This problem was encountered and resolved before as described in this article. The monitor simply does not send its EDID information when connected via its DVI port. The VGA and HDMI ports function properly, but not the DVI port. This behavior is consistent in every Linux distribution tried as well as Windows XP and Windows 7.
However, once the problem was identified, it was easily remedied in Linux, but not in Windows.
⌚ January 6, 2014
Comments on web sites are annoying. Poor grammar. Misspelled words. Profanity. ALL CAPS. no caps. Incorrect punctuation. Insults. Flame wars. Nitpicking over minor issues that have nothing to do with the original topic. It goes on and on.
Given the rudeness, meanness, and banality of opinions on the Internet, it seems that the Internet is dominated by people with small minds and big mouths while hiding behind a keyboard. Even though the intelligence level of comments often reflects the target audience of the web site, comments worth reading are still scarce. The result? Unnecessary clutter on a web page and an exposure to increased negativity.
So, it begs the question: Are comments necessary? Wouldn’t it be more peaceful and less visually distracting to simply eliminate this needless text from view and spare ourselves from the idiocy?
If your answer is “Yes, help me! Please!” then you might be interested in trying two Firefox plugins that help prevent comments from appearing in web pages. They are CommentBlocker and Comment Snob. Both are free, and they do a fairly decent task of sparing our eyes from textual refuse while creating a more clutter-free web page. Tested with Firefox 26.0 running on Linux Mint 16.
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