The PS4 Pro is not powerful enough to render most games in 4K natively– but ultimately, that’s besides the point, since Sony and other third party developers uses a rather clever upscaling technique, known as Checkerboard Rendering, to upscale most games into 4K resolutions anyway. It’s the kind of workaround that lets customers get functionally similar results at far cheaper prices that a true 4K machine would entail.
But what do developers think of the PS4 Pro, and of Sony’s workaround? GamingBolt recently had a chance to sit down for a chat with Eric Risser, the CTO of Artomatix, a company known for delivering cost effective solutions to render high fidelity 3D worlds, texture creation suite along with various tools for game and entertainment companies. In response to our question about the PS4 Pro and checkerboard rendering, Risser largely sounded impressed, though he did express disappointment with Sony going with something as simplistic as they did.
“The Checkerboard technique shouldn’t be too much trouble to program as it’s just a simple post-process,” he said. “They essentially just render half the pixels in a checkerboard pattern and then fill in the blank pixels by blurring together the rendered pixels. People have been doing tricks like this for decades. As for how it will stack up against true 4k rendering. I honestly can’t say without looking at a few games being played side by side. Obviously the quality won’t be as good, the question is if it will be noticeably bad.
“As an expert on the topic of “upscaling” or hallucinating enhanced details from low resolution images, I’m a little disappointed that Sony would go with something simple and outdated like the Checkerboard approach. I wish they’d worked with a company like Artomatix which has expertise on this topic. We’ve been developing upscaling technology utilizing neural networks which is years ahead of the traditional methods.”
Checkerboard rendering has been using in various PS4 titles that have been patched with PS4 Pro support. Our own analysis across a number of games indicate that although checkerboard rendering does a decent job of providing an excellent image quality, but it’s still not close to the quality provided by a native 4K buffer.
In the end, I suppose it comes down to the simple fact that, while Sony could theoretically have done better than they did, the solution they developed appears to have been more than sufficient for the mass market that they were so obviously targeting.
Stay tuned for our full interview with Eric in the coming days.