Cause of visual blurriness
In some 3D games, people may notice a certain degree of blurriness in the textures of the environments and character models. This effect can be caused by one of four problems:
- The game may be older and thus have been originally built for less powerful gaming systems, using lower-resolution textures.
- The texture quality setting in the game may not be set to the optimal level.
- The texture filtering setting may not be set to the optimal level.
- The game may apply a certain shader effect (such as Bloom, Depth of Field or Distant Blur.)
Fortunately, PC gaming applications allow higher control over graphical settings than their console counterpart, and there are various ways to improve visual quality even beyond the games' default settings.
While it is usually not possible to increase texture quality beyond a certain level for older games, you may find high-definition texture packs on the internet made by community members that will drastically improve texture quality for those games.
Many recent games make use of special rendering effects to improve image quality and enhance the gaming experience. However, in some cases special effects may be overused which not only decrease visual sharpness but may also reduces the framerate. Here is a list of shader effects that affect sharpness:
- 'Bloom' is an option that increases luminosity in certain areas of the environment (usually near light sources or over lighter textures). This gives the illusion of enhanced and higher quality lighting effects, however it may also apply a 'blurry' or 'dream-like' filter over the game screen (especially during daytime) thus obscuring finer details in the environment.
- 'Depth of Field' (also called 'Distant Blur') is another shader effect that artificially blurs objects in the distance, giving the impression of depth. While this does improve the quality of the scenery, it also greatly reduces visual sharpness.
- 'Motion Blur' is self-explanatory. Another shader effect added for realism, it can make the game appear blurry especially during high action scenes (such as in first-person shooter games.)
By disabling some or all of these shader effects in the Graphics Terms menu of your game, image sharpness will be drastically improved and details in the environment will pop out while also giving the benefit of improving the game's framerate.
 Anisotropy Filtering
Another reliable way to improve visual sharpness is by toggling the 'Anisotropic Filtering' option in the game's Graphics Terms. This setting works by improving the sharpness of distant textures. However, in some cases (and this is especially true for 3D games with a top-down view), Anisotropic Filtering may also help improve all ground and unit textures, making the game appear more detailed especially at higher screen resolutions.
Available levels of anisotropy range from 2x to 16x (for maximum crispness of textures.)
The Anisotropic Filtering option is usually available in 3D games; however, some games do not include the ability to modify advanced Graphics Terms. To remedy this, Anisotropic Filtering may be forced using the appropriate graphics control panel of your videocard (the NVIDIA Control Panel for NVIDIA / GeForce videocards, and the AMD Catalyst Control Center for ATI / Radeon videocards.
 Forcing Anisotropic Filtering via NVIDIA Control Panel
1. Open the NVIDIA Control Panel found in in Windows' Control Panel.
2. Proceed to the 3D Settings / Manage 3D Settings tab on the left side bar.
3. Select the game under 'Program to customize'. Alternatively, manually select the executable using the 'Add' button.
4. Change the 'Anisotropic Filtering' option to the desired level of sharpness.
5. Apply the changes.
 Forcing Anisotropic Filtering via AMD Catalyst
1. Open the AMD Catalyst Control Panel found in Windows' Control Panel.
2. Proceed to the Image Quality / Anisotropic Filtering tab.
3. Uncheck the 'Use application settings' box.
4. Set the option to the desired level of sharpness.
5. Apply the changes.
 FXAA Injector Adds Sharpness
The FXAA Post Process Injector, initially designed for Skyrim but compatible with DirectX 9 games. Adds various post-processing effects to the game. Available at:
- FXAA Post Process Injector utility on Skyrim Nexus
- It should be kept in mind that, there is a minor risk of triggering certain anti-cheat systems such as GameGuard. Planetside 2 also does not allow this. Punkbuster and VAC do not ban or kick for this.
 FXAA Injector Tool
The Assembla Team have made a FXAA Injector tool that allows users to modify FXAA settings from a GUI rather than text-based coding.
The tool, alongside with the FXAA Injector shaders can be downloaded here.