What is Screen Door Effect?

What is Screen Door Effect?
Written by prodigitalweb

We are in the era of smartphones, where we are all familiar with the ‘resolution.’ It is a number that lets you know the number of pixels available on display. For instance, if the resolution is 1080p, it indicates that more than 2 million pixels are available on display. On the other hand, if you have a ‘4k’ display, it contains over 8 million pixels. Let us know what is Screen Door Effect is?

But when it comes to displaying quality, the resolution is not everything. For example, when you bring your phone near your face, you can see black lines separating the pixels. But the procedure is more challenging if you have more expensive mobiles. The reason is that the pixels come in small sizes, whereas their density is very high.

However, you might not spot the spaces between the pixels. In this case, your device can be enlarged to the size of a cinema display, and you can see the black lines between the pixels more precisely. If the effect is visible, it is called the “screen door” effect. However, it is not an issue with modern mobile phones.

What is a screen door effect?

The screen door effect is nothing but a mesh-like appearance occurred while you see (while closely) the visible gaps between pixels on an electronic display. It is a visual artifact. As it looks like a screen door, it is called as SDE, also as a fixed noise pattern (FNP).

As a result, visual artifacts decrease picture quality and the immersive quality of interactive experiences. In addition, you can face issues like distraction, eyestrain, and headaches for SDE. However, you can find the problem mainly in low-quality devices than high-end devices. Do not use displays with lower pixel densities and dots per inch (DPI) because these will be more likely to display it.

You can perceive SDE easily by looking at one point on display and moving one’s head slowly. Besides, it becomes visible, especially while you are close to the display. Using a virtual reality headset is a common problem. In addition, if you prefer to play fast-paced action games, you will not notice SDE easily.

If you want to avoid SDE, ensure that your device has a high DPI. You may need to calibrate displays to decrease the effect. However, if you use VR headsets, your devices should use lower magnification lenses.

What Causes the Screen Door Effect?

It is not the pixel size or density causing the error; instead, it occurs for the big spaces exist between pixels. For example, if you take a square sheet of paper and divide both horizontally & vertically with a pencil, you can see a 4×4 grid. Repeat the process for each grid similarly until you get a very high pixel density letting you display high levels of detail. In this case, you can see that the pixels have still the same size keeping SDE unaffected.

You can see the space exists between each pixel that modern flat-panel displays use. When you see it precisely, you will find the space black. As a result, you can see the black visual grid. However, if you look closely at the display, you can see the individual pixels and the spaces between them.

How Can the Screen Door Effect be Fixed?

You can find the issue less on higher-resolution displays coming with higher pixels per square inch (PPI.) It indicates that the pixels remain closer together and have less space between them. When the distance between pixels shrinks, you will notice it less and can remove it practically.

VR headsets require higher-resolution panels, and they will get reduced as technology improves. Future VR headsets help to get rid of the issue. However, it is worse on the first consumer VR headsets. For example, suppose Oculus Rift and HTC Vive come with 2160×1200 resolution panels. If you have an expensive HTC Vive Pro, you will get a 2880×1600 resolution panel. As a result, pixels become much denser. As a result, a few users said that the Vive Pro removed SDE.

Samsung’s HMD Odyssey+ is a Windows Mixed Reality headset featuring an anti-SDE AMOLED display. According to Samsung, it applies a grid to diffuse the light coming from every pixel. Thus, it can fix the issue. However, as a result, it becomes pretty impossible to see the spaces between pixels.

How to Decrease the Screen Door Effect:

There is no way to remove SDE. However, we have given here some advice you should follow:

You will notice it while paying more attention as it is a visual effect. Therefore, it is better not to focus on it. You need to focus on the game you are playing or want to play. If possible, put the visual artifacts out of your mind. Besides, if you are one of those who try VR for the first time, you may not notice it unless someone points it out.

  • If you are willing, try to play games with greater graphical detail. For example, you can notice SDE while staring at a single color wall.
  • You will find the black mesh breaking up the flat color in this case. On the other hand, a detailed image with many colors, including blacks, can have a less noticeable SDE. However, sometimes, you can experience it more. But if you notice it in one game, ensure that you have not noticed it in others.
  • Upgrade the headset to something using a higher-resolution panel. You can resolve SDE with the help of improved hardware.
  • In this case, you can expect Future headsets to bring higher-resolution panels at a lower price. Thus, all users can get an improved experience.
  • Although you cannot solve the issue, try to ensure that you have the best visuals possible by calibrating the headset accurately. For example, it indicates that you have to move it up & down on your face. In addition, you need to manage the lens spacing to match your eyes.

The bottom line:

It is advised to put the screen door effect out of your mind. Instead, we recommend you focus on the VR experience because VR headsets are still new in the market. Besides, a lot of technology is still left to get involved.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What causes the screen door effect?

SDE occurs if you use modern virtual reality headsets, and it seems as if you look at the world through a mesh screen.

  • Does Quest 2 have SDE?

It is invisible on “Quest 2” Hence, you can see tiny pixels. However, it allows you to see underlying pixel structure against flat colors.

However, it will fade away against anything textured. As a result, the resolution difference becomes visible.

  • What is the SDE in XR?

It indicates the fine visible lines between pixels, which seems like you are looking at a screen door.

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