Reasons for using ReShade, attempt to use its shaders instead of some MSFS2020 effects

Dear participants of the MSFS2020 forum,
my name is Alexander Vengrus. I’m very glad to speak at your forum for the first time. Let me share with you my ideas about using ReShade for the MSFS2020.

  1. Make the simulator colors more realistic. The Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a great simulator with realistic physics and amazing graphics! But its color scheme seems too saturated. Some MSFS2020 users have come to conclusion that the simulator needs color correction. In turn, I would like more cinematic, analog shades of color for the simulator.

  2. Attempt to use ReShade shaders instead of some MSFS2020 effects. MSFS2020 has amazing effects, but some of them can create artifacts like “graininess” and “noise” in the image. This topic has been discussed many times by this forum and other authors. The authors agreed on one thing: to solve the problem, it is necessary to disable a number of MSFS2020 post-effects in the “UserCfg.opt” file. (First of all, the “FilmGrain” effect as the main source of graininess.) In turn, I would like to suggest not to disable, but to replace some MSFS2020 post-effects with ReShade shaders. In particular, I tried to use “CAS” shader instead of the default “Sharpen”. The “CAS” shader can give less image noise than the default “Sharpen” effect of the MSFS2020, in my opinion. (But this is just an assumption that requires careful and lengthy verification because MSFS2020 has high quality algorithms.) I also tried to use “Pantomorphic” shader instead of the default “Lens correction”. Default lens effect of MSFS2020 produces a slight blurring of the image and perspective distortion. This is not an artifact and looks good because these effects are typical of real optics. The “Pantomorphic” shader can create similar effects. So I tried to simulate the lens effect through “Pantomorphic” shader for better results. After long test flights, I liked the Pantomorphic lens effect a little more than default lens effect of MSFS2020.

  3. Make the graphical environment of the simulator more heterogeneous due to ReShade. What for? Take X-Plane for example. As you know, its fog and lighting system make the image and colors a little unclear. You can change a lot of this through the “DataRef” editor. However, all these changes will be implemented by means of the simulator graphics engine itself. Consequently, the drawbacks and artifacts of the graphics engine will remain and will be quite noticeable. However, if you use ReShade, you bring completely different image processing algorithms to the simulator. This can create a masking effect. Simulator graphics engine artifacts will become less noticeable as the graphics environment becomes more heterogeneous. In my opinion, this may be the additional meaning of using ReShade for flight simulators of any generation.
    At the same time, I was very interested in the features of the new visual effects editor that was recently added to the MSFS2020. Perhaps it will allow you to create the same things that the ReShade does? This would eliminate the use of an overlay and avoid potential problems associated with it.

I made a video to compare the above mentioned graphics changes with the default graphics of MSFS2020.

The settings, add-ons and shaders that I used are listed in the video and its description.

The video demonstrates:
a) Cinematic, analog shades of color for the simulator.
b) “CAS” shader in three variants of settings. (The default “Sharpen” of MSFS2020 is off during this time.)
c) MSFS2020 “Lens ccorection” vs lens effect modeled through “Pantomorphic” shader.
d) Using “MXAO” shader for a more non-linear image. (Not to replace the ambient occlusion effect as I’m not sure that it is necessary for the simulator.)

(Timecodes in description of the video.)

Unfortunately, I’m not showing a comparison for “CAS” and the default MSFS2020 sharp on the video. It takes a long time to create such a video because you need to edit “UserCfg.opt” many times, which means you must restart the simulator many times.

I would be grateful if you could express your opinion about the ideas.


I’m curious – how do you intend to adjust the too-saturated non-photogrammetry colors without affecting the not-too-saturated photogrammetry colors?

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Of course, ReShade changes the graphics in general. There is no way to selectively change graphics of individual objects or surfaces. (Except for selective replacement of some colors, areas of the screen, objects at a certain distance, etc.) This is a disadvantage of any overlay used to customize the graphics. But in my opinion, it is possible to find the desired image balance if ReShade tuned carefully.

WOW…all I can say is wow…what a difference. Completely life-like to me.

PLEASE send this information to Asobo.

The age of the artists working at Asobo is important becuase we begin to lose the ability to perceive blue as we age, and compensate by creating images that are more saturated as a result to compensate.

Which to me is exactly what MSFS is…way too blue.

Evidence: How vision changes as you age

Great video.


Ok, seems like mostly a contrast & sharpen filter? Looks a little more contrasty, otherwise I have no particular preference between the default and the reshade versions.

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I used more than just contrast and sharp shaders. The core of color grading is the “PD80 Cinetools” shader. This shader significantly changes the color structure and adds a lot of cinematic shades. I also use “ColorMatrix”, “Tint” and “RetroTint” shaders for additional color grading.

Very nice, congratulations. but for normal people or maybe dumb like me could you please tell me what to do with all these files.

Thnak you - spasivo


Did these changes degrade the performance of the game? I ask because from what I can see in the video, the performance is poor. Low FPS and not smooth. I could not play like that.

The visual differences are great and would like to do this myself, but not at the cost of performance.

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No, these changes are not the reason for the poor performance. The reason is my computer’s lack of power. I have about 27-28 fps and stuttering on default graphics of the MSFS2020. When using ReShade, I get about 25 fps. The performance could be even lower on my video as I used the second overlay to record the video. So, the total performance drop is only a few fps when using my ReShade presets. I also didn’t notice an increase of the stuttering when using the Reshade. (In general, I noticed that the ReShade works much more stable on MSFS2020 than on other flight simulators.)

Looks good, do you know if it works in VR? With some headsets (quest 2 at least) we have no way to adjust even basic monitor settings like contrast so something like this would be nice

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Unfortunately, I don’t have any VR equipment, so I can’t test my presets on VR. But I would be happy if the presets worked correctly on it.

Let me now clarify the logical structure of my ReShade presets used on the video. Sorry if the structure was initially unclear.

List of ReShade shaders that I used for the presets.
“Cinetools”, “ColorMatrix”, “Tint”, “RetroTint”, “CAS”, “Curves”, “MXAO” and “Pantomorphic”. The more complete name of each shader and its developer listed in description of the video.

Three presets are the basis.
“Cinematic MSFS2020 v1”
“Cinematic MSFS2020 v2”
“Cinematic MSFS2020 v3”

Versions 1 and 3 are different color correction options. In turn, each of these presets has three variations of “CAS” shader tweaks.

“low sharp”
“mid sharp”
“much sharp”
The preset with the words “optical” contains “much sharp” variation of “CAS” shader tweaks and lens emulation through “Pantomorphic” shader. (It is better to turn off the default “Lens Correction” of MSFS2020 when you use the lens emulation through “Pantomorphic” shader).

A number of examples.
a) “Cinematic MSFS2020 v1 (much sharp)” and “Cinematic MSFS2020 v2 (much sharp)” presets contain a different variation of color correction, but the same settings of “CAS” shader.
b) “Cinematic MSFS2020 v2 (low sharp)” and “Cinematic MSFS2020 v2 (much sharp)” presets contain the same color correction variation, but different settings of “CAS” shader.
с) “Cinematic MSFS2020 v1 (much sharp)” and “Cinematic MSFS2020 v1 (optical)” presets contain the same color correction and the same settings of “CAS” shader, but the preset with the word “optical” also adds a lens effect emulation through “Pantomorphic” shader.

Each of these presets has been tested on the video. Each fragment of the video called “RESHADE” also contains the exact name of the preset that used in the fragment. This preset name is shown at the top of the screen, under the word “RESHADE”. But it is shown only at the beginning of the test fragment, for a few seconds. I did it to free up the screen space.

Also, I made a “light” version of the presets as an additional option. These presets have the same logical structure as the original one. The difference is almost only in contrast of image. Specifically, I reduced the “Contrast” parameter of the “Curves” shader from “0.082” to “0.040” and disabled “MXAO” in the “light” version. There are no other differences between this version and original one. (The “light” version of the presets is not tested on the video.)


I am new to using re-shade. I know that you mentioned that the shaders used are in the video description but would you be kind enough to provide the links to where I can get these from.

Hello, FijiPilot.
Sorry for the delay.
There is no need to search and download shaders specially. A window will appear where you can select the necessary shader packages during the installation of ReShade. Then Reshade will download, unpack and install the shaders automatically.

You need to select the following shader packages for correctly work of the presets.

  1. “Standart effects”.
  2. “SweetFX by CeeJay . dk”.
  3. “qUNIT by Marty McFly”.
  4. “Color effects by prod80”.
  5. “Reshade-shaders by Daodan”

I’m ready to describe the process of ReShade installing in more detail, if necessary.

How do you install reshade?

I’d like to use ReShade instead the nVidia Ansel but I purchased the simulator from the Microsoft store, and I can’t access the . exe file

Could you please post or upload the preset files along with the shader settings you are using? I did not see this info in the video.


I’ve been using ReShade for years in all my games including MSFS and the results are amazing. The creator of this fantastic little program needs a medal!! I just cannot imagine games without it!

Go here:

  1. Run the installer, it will auto detect all installed games. If it does not then browse and manually point it to MSFS.
  2. A window will appear, this is where you choose the filters.
  3. I recommend scrolling all the way down and selecting the Legacy Filters but you can choose to go with the others
  4. If you choose Legacy Filters a big list will appear. You can keep them all or use the check boxes to select which ones you want.

These are the shaders I use but you may want others:


Colorfulness, Vibrance, Sharpen, FXAA , Magic Bloom etc make a huge difference. Each shader has a slider so you can adjust the look of the game in real time and save the preset.

A tutorial runs at game launch to show you the basics. Have fun.

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Ok, what do I click? It asks:

I clicked the first one, but do not see fs2020 in the list!