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Nvidia's DLSS Technology Analyzed: It All Starts With Upscaling

Star Wars Reflections: A Special Case

The Star Wars Reflections demo is even more complex because it combines Nvidia's DLSS and ray tracing technologies in real time. We spent hours scrutinizing screen captures to compare them with no definitive conclusions. There was only one observation we made over and over: the reflection effects are never really identical between the various render modes. Take Captain Phasma's helmet as an example. The lighting in her visor looks different across all three screenshots.

Of course, we learn more from analyzing the render pipeline. Specifying QHD with DLSS enabled results in a base resolution of 1708x964, four pixels taller than the Infiltrator demo, or 728 pixels without the black bands.

Unfortunately, Nvidia's tool doesn't run stably at 4K so we can't say much about that setting.

One detail we didn't see from the other two demos is the addition of DLAA, which is applied to the frame at its base resolution, just before upscaling occurs. Final Fantasy also applies an AA filter prior to upscaling, but we cannot confirm that it's the same type of anti-aliasing.

In the Reflections demo, we have to wonder if DLAA is invoking the Turing architecture's Tensor cores to substitute in a higher-quality ground truth image prior to upscaling?

Capturing the DLAA step

Capturing the DLAA step, again

Bonus: The Ray Tracing Step

As we stepped through the render, we were able to isolate where ray tracing was happening. Two frames apply ray tracing at two different angles, while a third seems to denoise the result. Note also that ray tracing is also calculated prior to upscaling.

Ray tracing, step one

Ray tracing, step two

Ray tracing, step three


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