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The graphics of ED can be modified in various ways.

Texture resolution Edit

Elite-Dangerous-Higher-Resolution-Planet-Textures

ED higher resolution planet textures

You can increase the texture resolution of planets, the galaxy background and the environment map. Note this was tested on 1 November 2018.

If you want to keep things simple you can paste this into your "GraphicsConfigurationOverride.xml" file (normally located in %AppData%\Local\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Graphics\):[1]

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<GraphicsConfig>
	<Planets>
		<Ultra>
			<TextureSize>4096</TextureSize>
			<WorkPerFrame>512</WorkPerFrame>
		</Ultra>
	</Planets>
	<GalaxyBackground>
		<High>
			<TextureSize>4096</TextureSize>
		</High>
	</GalaxyBackground>
	<Envmap>
		<High>
			<TextureSize>1024</TextureSize>
			<NumMips>10</NumMips>
		</High>
	</Envmap>
</GraphicsConfig>

Note that I recommend against using texture resolutions past 4096 as you will get progressively more noticeable texture pop-in around complex areas like starports, irrespective of how much video memory you have. You can use 8192 or even 16384 for screen shots of planets, but I don't consider them suitable for general play.[1]

Custom Display Quality Settings Edit

The display quality settings can be customized. It appears that values as high as "1.999999" work for "Model Draw Distance"/"LODDistanceScale". Note this was tested on 15 June 2018.[2]

So, my Custom.fxcfg (normally located in "AppData\Local\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Graphics" in your user profile directory), which contains the main display menu settings, looks like this:[2]

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<Root PresetName="Custom">
	<BlurEnabled>true</BlurEnabled>
	<AOQuality>3</AOQuality>
	<DOFEnabled>0</DOFEnabled>
	<BloomQuality>2</BloomQuality>
	<EnvmapQuality>1</EnvmapQuality>
	<MaterialQuality>3</MaterialQuality>
	<EnvironmentQuality>3</EnvironmentQuality>
	<FXQuality>3</FXQuality>
	<GalaxyMapQuality>2</GalaxyMapQuality>
	<GUIColourQuality>0</GUIColourQuality>
	<TerrainQuality>3</TerrainQuality>
	<TerrainLodBlendingQuality>2</TerrainLodBlendingQuality>
	<SurfaceMaterialQuality>3</SurfaceMaterialQuality>
	<JetConeQuality>3</JetConeQuality>
	<VolumetricsQuality>3</VolumetricsQuality>
	<ShadowQuality>4</ShadowQuality>
	<TextureQualityEx>2</TextureQualityEx>
	<AAMode>4</AAMode>
	<SurfaceSamplerQuality>3</SurfaceSamplerQuality>
	<PerformanceQualitySetting>0</PerformanceQualitySetting>
	<ResolutionSetting>0</ResolutionSetting>
	<LODDistanceScale>1.999999</LODDistanceScale>
	<HMDRenderTargetMultiplier>1.000000</HMDRenderTargetMultiplier>
	<SSAAMultiplier>1.000000</SSAAMultiplier>
	<GpuSchedulerMultiplier>1.000000</GpuSchedulerMultiplier>
</Root>

This is essentially the "Ultra" preset with DOF (which is normally only used in the camera modes, but eats quite a bit of performance for an effect I don't like) disabled, the GPU terrain work slider maxed out (despite what the description states, I've only seen performance and smoothness improvements from increasing this to maximum on any upper end GPU hardware of the last several years, going back to at least my Radeon HD 290 and GeForce GTX 780), and the custom "LODDistanceScale" increase, which must be manually entered into this file, because the in-game slider maxes out at "1.000000".[2]

ReShade Edit

EDFX Graphics Mod

EDFX graphics mod

  • Note the following mods could be outdated due to the lighting improvements of Beyond Chapter Four.

ReShade is an advanced, fully generic post-processing injector for games and video software developed by crosire. Imagine your favorite game with ambient occlusion, real depth of field effects, color correction and more ... ReShade exposes an automated and generic way to access both frame color and depth information (latter is automatically disabled during multiplayer to prevent exploitation) and all the tools to make it happen.[3]

Presets Edit

  • EDFX (by SkyPat) - EDFX add FX graphics effects to games using ReShade Shader Framework and manage Hud color.[4] It's a premade Reshade profile with its own launcher and some other options.
  • ICO_hr's preset - 3 versions of the same preset: ReShade, SweetFX and GemFX
  • Rob Viguurs's preset - The idea of this Reshade was to make it having a fresh look with a tint for real color tones and sharpness. The biggest effect with this is that the yellow washed out screen is gone.
  • RootsExplo (by rootsrat) - This ReShade preset gives Elite a more cinematic look, with better colours and sharpened image, however without exaggeration.
  • Dark/Colourful Reshade preset (by Son of the Desert ) - This preset makes the game a lot darker and more colourful and adds a glare effect which might be annoying to some people. You can disable it in the settings under bloom-> glarez.

For installing be careful to always follow the instructions of the preset.

Graphic Tweaks, Dreamscape Feeling & alii Edit

ED 035 Reshade zps63c772ba

EDFX graphics mod

If you don't feel like using an injector like ReShade or SweetFX or EDFX, there's a few tweaks you can do to visually improve your game.[5]. Such as Dreamscape Feeling using Bloom, Dust Clouds and Galaxy Background by TheRealPhyzz, Dust Clouds & Background Nebulae, Nebula Textures by Ozric and Moar Stars In Da Skybox. See this thread for instructions.
  • Note: do this at your own risk and always make a backup of the GraphicsConfigurationOverride.xml file. If you're unsure what to do, don't try it.

The GraphicsConfigurationOverride.xml file is in %appdata%\Local\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Graphics. Remove it, copy the original GraphicsConfiguration.xml there, rename it GraphicsConfigurationOverride.xml. Tweak there. Beware that some tweaks don't work with the Override (galaxy background for example).

Skybox Detail Edit

For those of you who are unaware, you can force Elite to render the skybox in much more detail, at the small cost of some stuttering in witchspace. Your mileage may vary depending on your PC, but mine is mid-high range and handles it fine (i7-4790 and GTX 1070).[6]

The tweak I’m about to describe increases nebula detail even if multiple nebulae are rendered onscreen. In the video above, I disabled all other nebulae in order to show Orion by itself, but I later tested it with other nebulae in the shot and the improvement was still there.

In order to make this happen, you must find your GraphicsConfigurationOverride.xml file. Just copy and paste this this on the address bar of any folder to find it: %localappdata%\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Graphics

The GraphicsConfigurationOverride file is a disposable xml that’s meant to let you edit the game’s parameters without messing with the main GraphicsConfiguration file. It’s very safe to use. If you want to undo all the changes, just delete the GraphicsConfigurationOverride file and the game will generate a new, blank one when you load the game again.

So open that file and replace anything that’s on it with this. I only changed three values:

Under the <GalaxyBackground> header: <TextureSize>4096</TextureSize>

Under the <GalaxyMap> header: <LowResNebulasCount>25</LowResNebulasCount> (determines how many low-res nebulae can be rendered in the skybox simultaneously) <HighResNebulasCount>10</HighResNebulasCount> (does the same for high-res nebulae)

Notice that these parameters repeat themselves for every quality setting, so you must change all instances of those parameters to ensure the change goes through in any quality setting you play at.

If you want to see how dramatic the change is besides the video I posted, you can simply take a screenshot of the Milky Way or a nebula, exit the game, edit the xml file, and when you log back in you should be facing the exact same heading. Just take another screenshot and you have a direct comparison you can toggle back and forth.

Again, if anything goes wrong, just delete the GraphicsConfigurationOverride file.

I don't see any visual difference if the TextureSize is set to a value higher than 4096. Stuttering gets worse, that's about it.

Videos Edit

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/454153-Graphics-settings-Beyond-Ultra?p=7126253
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/433024-Custom-Elite-Dangerous-display-quality-settings-continued
  3. ReShade
  4. EDFX
  5. Graphic Tweaks, Dreamscape Feeling & alii
  6. https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDangerous/comments/a9al6h/psa_for_pc_players_you_can_make_the_skybox_way/