Can you explain the changes in SU5 that lead to color banding and fringes for many user on SDR monitors and are they fixable?

Halloween weather preset before and after SU5, Ultra settings:

Before

After

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Had to BUMP the thread, because the last Q&A failed to mention changes in graphics, although there was a massive discussion, even to the extent of an alleged intentional downgrade, after SU5 hit.

There are still threads dealing with the color banding issues, and although some are tagged [Bug logged], there seems to be no explicit mentioning of potential fixes for SU6.

Here’s what I see a lot, and what is to bee seen in screenshots all over these forums and even in promotional screenshots from developers. These “purplish” fringes on the cloud edges are accompanied by purple color banding in the sky in all daylight conditions, and in dark areas there is a noticeable purple (red?)/green segmentation of the screen.

For those wishing to delve deeper into the discussion:

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For me it’s the atmosphere. Seeing the sky slowly transition from ground to space only involves white and blue (during the day)

However with the hideous color banding, the sky changes from white, to green, to purple, to green again, etc

ugh it just looks so bad. I miss the sky from pre Su5.

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yeah the banding get’s quite annoying at some point, i was looking past it at first but it becomes more and more noticeable once you know about it.

i’ve tried my monitor in 8-bit and 10-bit mode just to check if that made a difference but nah.
Would love to see this addressed

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Obviously they made changes to the rendering engine to adapt for XBox. Here’s what is discussed on the MS SDK Q&A platform. I’m not an expert, but what I am seeing in the images provided there may well explain that extra compression introduced in the colour palette for SU5 that is being used to render is now introducing the artefacts we are seeing.

Now it’s about raising awareness on dev’s side, if there isn’t already. I will amend my Zendesk report accordingly, but it would be beneficial if there’s some more traction to this discussion - and votes, of course!

(link provided by @dlebedev in Rendering engine artifacts)

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I have an SDR monitor, yet I don’t experience the said color banding.

How does the world map sun reflection look for you?

Color Banding Issue

after SU5 looks way more realistic to my eyes, than before. Sunlight is not yellow irl

Looks like “after SU5” according to your Before/After SU5 comparison, definitely rasterized with a pinkish aura:

Would you like to share a screenshot of the sun reflection on your world map like the one above? It would be intersting, as there are indeed many screenshots that don’t show much of the mentioned effect and thus indicate that it might be configuration dependant.

It’s not so much about the absolute colors (that’s subject to personal preference for sure) but the dynamic range, which seems to have suffered and thus leading to rasterization and banding

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Also more visible near sunset / rise:

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ah, ok…I didn’t see it under that perspective…it wasn’t of course a criticism from me, more a personnal “look” or preference as you mentionned.

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I’m running an LG C1 OLED with HDR10 enabled (RGB 10 pbc / full dynamic range set in NVCP) - can confirm I am still seeing colour banding in clouds / the sky.

This is an excellent example of the overexposure introduced with SU5.

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I wonder how much of a performance improvement this reduced dynamic range provided. Was it worth ruining the best parts of the sim?

I can’t imagine it would have a noticeable effect, and I also can’t think why it should be necessary for XBox. Are Radeon graphics cards that different? Maybe someone with a Radeon card (and ideally an AMD processor) could chime in and report if the issues are noticeable there.

Maybe for those reading this thread for the first time, some explanation as to what we are talking about here, is due:

SU5 introduced some strange artefacts which I first thought were limited to SDR monitors, but recently some reports of HDR monitor owners suggest it is independent of the dynamic range. Here’s what we’re talking about:

Color banding in the atmosphere, as demonstrated on the MSFS homepage:

Fringes (mostly within the purple[blue]) or green spectrum) on cloud edges, most noticeable in the early/late hours of day:

Banding and fringes

I’d like the developers to elaborate on the changes to the render engine of the sim as this conversation here indicates that the issue is caused by changes to the render engine and/or the color palette.

Here’s how textures were displayed in ver 1.17.3.0 (pre-SU5)

And here’s the same textures in 1.18.12. (Beta SU5)

Notice the color banding especially noticeable in the blue and green color gradients, and I believe that’s what’s causing the issue and ruining not only the “golden hour” in the sim.

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After looking at these two images, the main thing I notice is that the ‘grey’ which is mostly between hue 200 and 220 in the ‘pre compression change’ image shifts down in hue to somewhere around hue 150 in the image that shows more banding. I’m not sure what this means. Was the shadow color changed? Was it made more yellow? Is it the result of the obvious brightening that happened?

The linked conversation gives no indication if it’s the changes in the render engine/color palette showing or simply a different lighting situation in the “after” shot, so I have no idea.

I’m not talking about ‘a lighting situation’, I’m talking about a change to the overall lighting engine.

Things were definitely made brighter and I’ve examined some of my own screenshots and there is definitely more yellow than there used to be so if the overall shadow color was changed to be yellow instead of blue then that might explain the increased banding.

The ‘black to grey’ gradient in those images is not black at any point. Its blue to blue in the ‘pre SU5’ image and blue to yellow-ish in the after.

To me its seems that before SU5 the highlight and shadow colors were both correctly blue for daytime lighting but for some reason, more yellow was added to the shadow post SU5.

There are definitely changes that make gradients less smooth – as if an alpha channel had become lower definition – fewer colors - fewer bits to describe each color… but I think also the shadow color may have been changed which exacerbates the issue in the clouds and on textures.

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All technicalities aside, The Earth to Space color transition is broken. Blue transitions to purple, green and, then back to blue.

I’m wondering if this post needs to be on some sort of thread specifically for “November Q&A”, and this entire thing needs to be in the comments. I could be wrong.