This is a result of monthes of modding Skyrim. Initially I wanted just to make my mod list as people asked for this at my YT channel, but then I decided to put some more efforts into this and make a complete guide to save other people time that they can have a complete base list of mods for ultrarealistic graphics, knowing how much these mods will affect on performance and in what order they should install the mods. Skyrim has over 100,000 (yep, one hundred thousands) of mods on Nexus and there's really hard to check and compare them all (and simply impossibly for a modding newcomer), but I spent some time and did this - from the 1st till the last page (I'm not joking hehe) of all the graphic mods here and chosen almost everything you need to transform your game and also to have some variants of similar mods to choose from. List of 600+ mods (but at the same time "quality about quantity", including different variants to choose from) to install to make your Skyrim graphics look nextgen and to leave as few ugly vanilla objects as possible. Install order, performance influence and patches list included. The mod list consists of two parts. Mods from the first part should be installed in strict install order. Mods from the second part can be actually installed in any isntall order, but to have the best result I kindly advise to install them in the same order as in the guide. Also you can check the videos at my YT channel to see how game can look when fully-modded. All the mods are marked with one of 3 colors. Green means this mod is pretty FPS-friendly, Yellow - it can affect performance, but still not an FPS-killer, and Red mods are really FPS-hungry. To make guide navigation easier, I placed guide sections into so called "spoilers" - when you see "Show" button - just click on it to expand corresponding group of mods. Click "Hide" again to close it :) Please also note that this guide is still designed for modern rigs. I have GTX 980 4GB and 16GB RAM and running all these mods with ENB having 60 fps indoors and 40-55 outdoors with ENB - but worry not - if you have low-end PC or just a complete potato, there is special section for such case. Guide also has all .ini files needed and already pre-tweaked if you don't want to insert values yourself. Depending on your PC, you will need to make just a few little adjustments to some of values - this is described in readme file. Also feel free to suggest any mod you want to see in this list or ask me any compatibility/stability questions - I'm running Skyrim without any crashes with about 1450 mods installed (counting both graphics and gameplay together) - and you can have the same complex mod list and still have your game 100% stable. That's not some kind of exaggeration - everything you need is to follow the guide attentively :)
How to Support:
This project is completely free. Still, it takes insane amount of my time to build and expand it - the modding guides already took me ~3200 working hours in total while they are not monetized in any way and website itself being 100% ad-free. The more independent I will fee myself as an author, the faster new updates and modules will arrive. But support only if you really want it and able to:
Do not re-upload this guide to any other website and/or resources, do not claim it as own work and do not sell it. In the rest - feel free to translate into other languages (just message me in Discord first), I'b be glad if you'll link it to help other people and so on. I'm here to serve - the more people can have stable ultramodded game, the happier I will be :)
Complete list of graphics, weather and accompanying mods, more than 800 in total. Landscapes, clutter, flora, weather & lighting, armors, clothing & weapons, towns & villages, animals & monsters, body, face & skin mods. Not a single texture will remain ugly after you finish this, hell yeah!
Everything you need yet nothing excess. Not a huge mod list, filled with subjective choices, yet a roadmap showing you how to build your own dream setup. While, if you lack time - there are some mod lists prepared for you, in [addition] to guide itself.
Detailed installation order.
Comfortable and easy-to-navigate design.
Patches list for compatibility and my personal remarks for the best result.
Each mod marked to show how much it will affect your performance.
List of all basic things/tools/tweaks you need to start modding and have stable game.
Pack of .ini files for best possible graphics and performance/stability, already pre-tweaked for you. Readme about how to use them included as well. See at "Files" tab.
ENB installation guide + tweaks/fixes advice.
The biggest problem of heavy-modded games, script overload - game script engine, Papyrus, is a limited mess, and having too many script-heavy mods may break even the most stable game. Worry not! Many script-heavy mods are marked with special mark in the guide, so you'll know in advance which mods you'll need to be careful with (but that applies to gameplay mods in the second guide, don't worry about this now).
Merging the mods easier then ever before! Mods that can be easily merged in a few click - marked with a special sign - so you don't need to spend own time checking for many factors. Currently, more than 200 mods are marked already, meaning that's literally more than 200 mods you can merge straight away, and I will expand this gradually (same as for preivous step, that's mostly related to gameplay mods, but many graphics mods that have .esp plugin also have the "M" marks in this guide too).
Pre-made mod lists for different tastes and goals, which you only need to mimic and don't worry about incompatibilities and other issues - in addition to the whole guide itself.
Separate section for low-end PC owners (which you can still use even if your PC is strong, to have FPS boost).
Constant updates and support :)
Current guide version/changelog & future updates:
Version : 3.0 - for Skyrim Legendary Edition
- Added over 200 new graphics mods and 19 ENB presets
- Added merging marks
- Added pre-made mod graphics mod lists for various visual goals & tastes
- Added new performance tips for low-end rigs & new essential stability mods
- Fixed a lot of typos and generally improved guide sections structure
- Break the "retexure everything possible" section into smaller pieces for your comfort
Q: What are the PC specs needed to run the same modded setup as you do, to have [best] possible graphics and gameplay? A: Not such NASA PC as you may think! Intel i5 6600k or AMD analogue, GTX 980Ti/1070 or AMD analogue, 16GB RAM - with similar specs you'll be be able to run absolutely monstrous setup with everything retextures, all needed lighting/weather/immersion mods, at ultra settings, with any ENB you want, 3D LODs and so on. Yes, this guide is made for ALL rigs - no matter if your PC srong, not that much or a complete potato - you can find recommendations, and build best possible modded game.
Q: So I should install ALL mods from this list? A: You technically can ofc, but that's not mandatory. This is a guide - it gives you an ability to compare and choose. Open mod pages, browse the images, read the description. Install what you like and don't install what you don't like :) Lastly, there are pre-made mod lists for you to mimic.
Q: I have the game in language other than English, is it a problem? A: The guide is made for original, i.e. English version of the game. Graphics mods will ofc work fine in most of cases, but as for the gameplay mods, there is no guarantee that they will work with non-English version of the game, or work at all. Moreover, many translations are often outdated which leads to various bugs and conflicts. If you want to be able to use Skyrim modding stage and this guide on its fullest, use English version of the game. I won't be able to give any troubleshooting support for non-English versions.
Q: I also want to install ENB, where's a tips for it? A: Sure! Whatever you want - it is here ;) Just read a bit further.
Q: I got infinite loading screen/my game crashes/I have FPS drops while having a modern rig. A: Please read "How to start" section carefully. Read it and install all the things needed before starting to install mods themselves.
Q: That doesn't help! A: Trust me, if you have read everything carefully and installed mods carefully, it will solve all your problems in 99% of cases. If not, feel free to join our Discord server and community members or I will try our best to help you :)
Q: Where are you from? A few words about you? A: Ukraine. Gamer, retarded slavic youtuber, One Piece & JJBA fan, gym addict. Web-developer in past, fitness trainer and nutritionist now (as hobby).
Q: Will you expand this guide and add this/that? A: Sure - I will update and improve it. Unstoppably :)
Q: Ok, guide just received massive update, but how can I see the little new additions? A: I add mods and fix text errors few times per week. All the mods freshly added to the guide will be marked with red-colored "==NEW==" sign.
Q: Wait, why the popular [mod_name] is not here? A: One of the main goals of the guide always was to keep your game stable. There are some absolutely great and popular mods, but the thing is popularity now always equal same great quality and stability. Some mods are not included simply because they have major or too many minor issues and not fitting concept of stable heavy-modded game. Nothing more besides that.
Q: Can you just upload your Skyrim folder with all your mods somewhere so I can just download it and not to choose and install mods one by one? A: Unfortunately, no. The reasons: Firstly - I can't do this as many mods from the list are Nexus-exslusive and mod authors didn't give a permission to re-upload their works somewhere. I respect their work. Secondly - everyone has absolutely different PC specs and different taste, and my setup can be absolutely unplayable for many people from both these aspects. Trust me - when you're making your mod setup by yourself the result will be way better because most of mods are absolutely matter of taste.
Q: But there are a lot of modpacks in internet! I saw them! Even Nexus itself should have modpacks soon!
A: Of course. Modpacks are easy to find and get, but it's also one of the main reason of myth about "heavy-modded 100% stable Skyrim isn't possible" exists. For very same reasons, modpacks simply can't run the same good for everyone. In best case, modpacks is very, very subjectively made pick of mods, which will never fit your taste on 100% and almost always filled with arguable and outdated mods. In worst case, it will just break your game eventually. And if you're installing some list of mods via automated tool, even if all the mods are installed in correct order, you still will have to solve a lot of conflicts, merge mods, make bashed/merged patches, setup the MCMs and so on - and that's the point when you'll have no idea what to do, as this mod list was not made by you. From that point, you can either play the game as is, which will lead to glitchy gameplay and eventually a lot of wasted time, or you'll have to go to point zero and learn about all the mod in the modpack yourself, basically, doing what you had to to from the very beginning, but once again, wasting some time. Modpacks are like those ads in internet that are promising you 6-pack in 7 days without diet and training. There's no "magic button" in case of TES or FO games, and it's no matter who made it - random internet person or they are distributed by some popular authors or websites - it doesn't change anything in terms or aspects listed few lines above. Modpacks [can] work for other games with much smaller and simplier modding stages, yet for TES/FO games the only [real] ultimate game, in both graphics and gameplay terms, is the one you've built yourself <3
Q: I urgently need a personal assistance! When you'll finally reply? A: Unfortunately, I'm just physically unable to reply on pms and give a personal support to each and everyone - I'm just a man in flesh, and spending a lot of time into making my YT content, as well as expanding the guides. Read the guide carefully, drop a question in comments section (I'm always trying to answer as soon I have free minute) or join our community Discord and ask for advice there - there are plenty of experienced modder there which most likely can also advise :)
Q: That's all cool and everything, but I wanna stay tuned on updates and have modding chatting, something you can offer? A: Sure! Just join our Discord server - the biggest and most experienced Discord modding community.
Q: I'm a mod author - I've made a cool mod and it's still not in your guide! A: Just ping me in our Discord server and tell me a few words about your mod - thank you :)
Now, the first and most important rule. Keeping it will drive you to the peaks of glory with 700 mods and 100% stable game.
Before you start reading, watch this short video:
Great, now let's go!
But even before before you'll start modding. Disable Steam overlay, Afterburner overlay, disable all possible overlays, add Skyrim to your antivirus/firewall "white list", disable all possible "boosters", "tuners" programs you may be using. All of them can and most likely will screw up your modded game and/or it's many settings. Follow the guide and use only what's recommended here. If it's written here to limit your fps using enblocal fps limiter - do it, and don't use and third-party software for it, and so on. You got the idea. Also, never have Skyrim installed in Program Files. If you have it there - reinstall it on another drive, or at the same drive, but out of Program Files folder.
1) Download and install mod manager. Choose between Nexus Mod Manager (use the .exe file), Mod Organizer or Mod Organizer 2. All 3 of them are awesome. I personally use NMM. What's the difference? NMM is "simple yet effective". MO is "packed with tons of cool features". Almost all mods can (and should) be installed via mod manager. Do not install mods manually. The guide contains notices regarding some exceptional cases when you'll need to install some mod/part of mod manually, but for the 99.9% of cases - always use mod manager. You may also find these NMM tutorial, MO1 tutorial or MO2 tutorial useful.
IMPORTANT NOTE #1: Q: Why both MO1 and MO2 are linked? Isn't MO2 for 64 bit games only? A: It's just hosted on SE secion page, that's all. You can fully use MO2 for modding Skyrim LE, Fallout NV etc. MO2 supports all the same features MO1 does, but also has some new really comfy ones. This said, it now still has some random glitches. It will not ruin your mod list or game, but if you're modding newcomer, to avoid confusion, at this moment it's recommended for you to use either NMM or MO1. But if you want - use MO2 as well, I just won't be able to advise on it's random minor glitches because I'm not its developer :) IMPORTANT NOTE #2: Nexus Mods team is currently developing new mod manager called Vortex. It's looking pretty and user-friendly, but it's sadly pretty dysfunctional and glitchy - it often simply not able to install mods correctly (without even notifying about that), was reported for uninstalling mods on its own and there are plenty of other issues, from minor to major - often using Vortex may simply lead to messed up mod setup. I won't be able to provide any troubleshooting support if you're using it - it's randomly bugged and doesn't have some features that are crucial for heavy mod lists. Situationally, it can be used for modding some other games with much simplier modding stages, but not in case of TES/FO games. Ever more simple: as for now, DO NOT USE VORTEX TO MOD SKYRIM. When/if it will be fine, I'll let you guys know.
2) Download and install SKSE. If you already have it - great, if no - install it. It's obligatory. Download the 1.7.3 installer file (image showing the correct file). SKSE (Skyrim Script Extender) is must-have for playing modded Skyrim. Most of all popular gameplay mods need it to be installed. Also, almost all memory/stability tweaks and fixes require it. Install it to your Skyrim root directory (not the data folder), where your TESV.exe is. Important! From this time, you should launch and play your Skyrim only using SKSE.exe. Skyrim launcher will be used only for disabling/enabling mods (but this also can be done via mod manager).
3) Go to /data/SKSE and open SKSE.ini. If there's no /skse folder and/or .ini file in it, create an empty SKSE.ini file OR go here. Download and install the file, which is actually SKSE.ini one (this can be done by mod manager). Delete EVERYTHING in skse.ini you have now, then paste these lines in it and save (you do NOT need to insert SKSE memory patch value, look further): [General] ClearInvalidRegistrations=1 EnableDiagnostics=1 [Display] iTintTextureResolution=2048
4) Download and install SkyUI. Most of popular mods require SKSE and SkyUI. Optionally (but very recommended as it's just looks so much more alive and beautiful) install animated icons mod for it. Optionally, install this "wider" addon for MCM look. Also install iHUD. If you're using ultrawide monitor - make sure to grab this neat mod. 5) Download and install LOOT. LOOT is a must-have tool if you planning to have many mods. It's very easy to install and use. His most basic and important function is mod sorting. Many mods should be loaded in strict load order. This mod should be loaded before that mod, but after that, and so on. LOOT makes miracles! You can automatically sort all your mods properly by just clicking button 2 times. Sometimes (it happens rare, so mostly you won't to think about it) some mods have direct instructions about how they should be loaded, in this case it's also easy to sort them manually using it. Also, LOOT shows you all you need to know about your mods instlalled - errors, missing records etc. In many cases, if something is not right - it will let you know and it will advise you. Use LOOT sorting each time after you've installed a few mods. This beautiful tutorial will be useful to you.
6) Download TES5edit. It's an awesome tool for cleaning your mods. Mods may contain "dirty" records and some other issues. And when you will have hundreds of mods, that could be a problem and cause crashed. Clean all mods that have dirty records (until it's directly written by mod author to not do that for some reasons) and all Skyrim DLCs. This step and tools usage are not obligatory, but strongly recommended. Don't be afraid of it, it's not so hard to use as it may look. Check this one awesome video guide by GamerPoets. Also there are a lot of info and videos at it's Nexus page. Note: MO2 users can try to download and use zEdit instead. zEdit is like a successor to xEdit - but please take into account though that it's still a WIP (work in progress) project. If you're a newbie modder - better just stick to xEdit (SSEEdit) now as it's absolutely fine. zEdit may provide better functionality than xEdit, but it's still not fully stable and there are not as much video tutorials for its usage as for xEdit. It doesn't mean it's bad - quite the opposite, but until it's officially and fully released, I won't be able to provide troubleshooting support for it - so use it at your own wish. Here's a basic documentary and description of it here.
7) Download and install Wrye Bash. Amazing and essential tool to achieve maximum possible compatibility between all your mods and decrease amount of plugins in your order, giving you possibility to install much more mods. We will use it in the end of our journey, so just grab it and don't use it for now. I'll explain everything later in the guide :)
8) Install Crash Fixes. The best and most up-to-date mod to prevent almost all of game engine crashes! It's light-weight, one-click to install (using mod manager) and...it just works. No-no, it works for real. You'll notice faster loading and zero or almost zero crashes. Also it replaces SSME/SKSE memory patch, Safety Load and work much better and more easy to configure. YOU SHOULD NOT USE CRASH FIXES MEMORY ALLOCATION TOGETHER WITH SSME/SKSE/SAFETY LOAD MEMORY PATCHES AND/OR THEIR .INI SETTINGS. DELETE THEM. DON'T USE THEM. USE CRASH FIXES MEMORY ALLOCATION ONLY. I'm not supporting those who will somehow have both installed. After you installed it via mod manager, do the next: 1) Install THIS ONE. Download, unzip and place D3DX9_42.dll file to your Skyrim folder (where your TESV.exe is, not in the /data folder). 2) Go to /data/SKSE/plugins/CrashFixPlugin.ini and open it with any text redactor (notepad for example, but I strongly advise this free and amazing text Editor). MO users - open ini file through MO like shown here. 3) Find and set UseOSAllocators to 1 (UseOSAllocators=1) 4) Find and set CustomMemoryBlock to 1 (CustomMemoryBlock=1) 5) Find and set MemoryInfoConsole to 1 (MemoryInfoConsole=1) The next two steps you will need to repeat several times during the modding process. Please don't forget about this. 6) Launch Skyrim, fast travel to some populated/fps heavy place and open console with "~" button. 7) Look on maximum memory block load. There will be a lot of messages like "blah-blah-blah maximum block load XX %". If the maximum value is 90% or higher - exit game and find CustomMemoryBlockTotalSizeMb value in CrashFixPlugin.ini. Set it a bit higher (for example, if it was 110, set it to 120), save the .ini file changes, launch Skyrim and check memory block load again. Do this until maximum load won't be higher that 80-85% (check this in populated towns or combat). But don't just set any random high value so this % will be like 20-30% - this may cause stuttering. Find a balance around ~80% as max value reported.
9) Install Bug Fixes. Get the "v2 Beta 2v" file. This essential mod fixes several bugs (some of hwich are just annoying and one is pretty balance-breaking) that were not fixed by any other mods. One-click install-and-forget.
10) Install Cobb Bug Fixes. A similar mod with few fixes of absolutely notorious bugs. Even more fixes should come as well.
11) InstallAlternate Start - Live Another Life, Skyrim Unbound Reborn, Random Alternate Start Reborn ==NEW== or Realm of Lorkhan - Freeform Alternate Start ==NEW==. Why you need this? These mods provide wide amount of alternative starts the game for those who do not wish to go through the lengthy intro sequence at Helgen. The thing is that vanilla start (scene in Helgen) is VERY heavy-scripted. And when you will install let's say, 200+mods and start a new game, your Skyrim will be very heavy overloaded. And there's very high chance that your came will crash or glitch (because the Papyrus, Skyrim's script engine, is pretty clunky and limited), even if the game itself is absolutely stable. And now these mods save the day! You can just skip this heavy-scripted scene and start anywhere you like. Besides, it has a really wide amount of alternative start, great for roleplay.
Which one to use, what is the difference? Long story short, ASLAL provides more "roleplay-wise" starts - you will appear in a certain cell, depending on your start option choice, and also has plenty of additional start options addons. Unbound will spawn you randomly, so less "immersive" start, but it allows you highly adjustable character customization (gear, spells etc) which ASLAL doesn't, and the most important - it allows you to play as NON-Dragonborn (but you can "become" it in MCM anytime), which is really a great option. RASR is somewhat like a mix of these two, a pretty underrated gem and Realm of Lorkhan is a really fresh and unique alternate start mod, which may look note quite "lore-friendly" to some players, but it's really well-designed and give you very interesting starting choices for your character class and even curses - negative attributes to balance class bonuses (if you want so, all these features are entirely optional - my only 2 cents abou it is that some class bonuses are still somewhat too strong even with curses, so you may want to adjust them in TES5Edit, which is very simple). I personally recommend to use Skyrim Unbound or Realm of Lorkhan, but it's totally up to you.
NEXT 5 STEPS ARE OPTIONAL. PLEASE READ ATTENTIVELY.
12) Read this article. This is not obligatory, but it works and it's very useful. IMPORTANT! Use its settings only if you're 100% understand what you're doing. If you're very new to .ini files tweaking, don't use it. It's absolutely optional. Messing with these values is not a joke. Once again, If you think something is unclear for you, don't use it. And if you'll use it, don't use the .dll files describied in it, only "play" with Skyrim.ini settings with Ugrids=5 (original value). As an alternative, you can just use my Skyrim .ini files where this step is already done, but depending on your PC specs you maybe will need to adjust one value, which is mentioned in readme file and described in the article itself. Alternatively, my Skyrim.ini file already has these tweaks - you will only need to change one value in it if you have different VRAM amount. IMPORTANT #2! Do [NOT] use any other resources or articles related to Ugrids (like "Stable uGridsToLoad" which is doing vice versa to its name, breaking your game).
13) If your game is "not responding" shortly during things like loading, fast travelling etc - useDisableProcessWindowsGhosting. Thanks to Skyrim Win 10 Performance Guide and Cuyima for providing info about it <3 Q: What's that and why it's hosted on NV mod page? A: While being hosted on NV mod page, it works for Skyrim as it works through same SKSE function as in its NVSE analogue. How to install? Simple! Download "DisableProcessWindowsGhosting v2" file from Optional Files section manually, unpack the archive, go inside the folder and place the .dll file to your \SKSE\plugins folder. That's it! :) Note: this feature is quite experimental, so don't use it "just to have it". Use it only if you have issue mentioned above, and test the game after you've installed it.
14) Download Save game script cleaner. YOU DON'T NEED TO USE IT UNTIL THE NEXT CONDITIONS: This is not obligatory. If you will not uninstall scripted mods in the middle of playthrough, you don't need it. If you uninstall mods that contain scripts in the middle of playthrough and then save game, so called "orphan scripts" will be still in your save file even mods with that scripts are already gone. This can cause crashes. It's just a save cleaner if your save is really near to dead cause of orphan scripts.
15) Download Merge Plugins. You will need this if you'll make really heavy load order and reach the 255 plugins (.esp) limit. This amazing tool can technically allow you to have almost endless amounts of mods intalled, so you will be limited only by your PC specs and mods themselves (meaning no using broken/dangerous mods and not overloading your game with script-heavy mods). It easily merges plugins into one .esp file, drastically decreasing the total amount of plugins and allowing you to install more and more mods. For A to Z simple tutorial about using it, watch this amazing video and follow the steps. Note #1: MO2 users, once again, can use zMerge which is inbuilt into zEdit, instead of Merge Plugins. You can also watch this tutorial video. Note #2: if you'll be noticing you're clearly going above 255 active .esp plugins limit ever after making Bashed Patch somewhere still in process of adding more and more mods - refer to step #2 in "actions to be made in the end" section at the deep bottom of the guide.
16) Download Ordenador. You will not need it in most of cases if you have decent PC. That's an amazing tool for compressing your textures to lower resolution, and also optimizing them (even without changing resolution) with zero quality loss in 99% of cases. Answering the possible question - no, Ordenador is NOT dangerous to your game or textures. If you heared such info somewhere - it's just a misleading gossips. If you will have FPS issues - Ordenador can help a lot by optimizing or compressing your textures. Refer to "advice and tricks for low-end rigs" in that case (but ofc you can use it to gain fps even if your rig is strong).
17) Disable/delete High Resolution DLC files. Namely the HighResTexturePack01.bsa, HighResTexturePack01.esp, HighResTexturePack02.bsa, HighResTexturePack02.esp, HighResTexturePack03.bsa, HighResTexturePack03.esp. They are located in your game Data folder. Better just delete the files completely to free some drive space.
18) The last, but important and mandatory step. Install all these amazing mods/patches/fixes which are oriented on fixing huge amount of various little bugs or irrational things in game or just to make you your game much more comfortable.
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch This mod should be already considered as part of vanilla game. Result of years of hard work, it fixes litereally thousands glitches and bugs in Skyrim. Skyrim Supplemental Patch Astonishing and scrupulously made, must-have patch which corrects hundreds of errors and glitches in Skyrim worldspace. Please also consider supporting this mod author by even the smallest donation if possible - he got his house burnt last year and community help can do a lot for him now. Unofficial Skyrim City Patch Mod is focused on fixing bugs and glitches in cities. It restores missing objects, fixes events scripts, fixes incorrect lighting sources positioning and so on. Note - if you'll be using a lot of city overhauls and interior overhauls, you can delete/not use this mod, as most of its changes will be overwritten by named mods due to how such mod work, and its efficiency will be minimal. ENB Particle Patch and Subsurface Scattering Patch Go to the page linked. Download the 2 patches as shown here manually. Add both archives to your mod manager and install as any other mod. Load Game CTD Fix Sometimes, when your game is heavy-modded, skyrim randomly crashes when loading the game from main menu. Here's a simple fix for that. Install it for sure even if you don't have this issue, as a preventive move. 15 minute crash fix for Windows 10 [OPTIONAL] This tool fixes exactly what is written in its name. So, if you have Windows but not 10, or have Windows 10 but don't have this issue - don't use it. Please take into account that it's not a mod and it should be downloaded, unpacked and isntalled manually using the installer. 1st Person Candlelight Fix When I saw this mod first time, I was like "how, nobody have fixed this for years, really?". It fixes the notorious not even a bug maybe, but illogically bleak level of light of Candlelight spell in first person. Simple as that. ATTENTION: do NOT overwrite this mod by it or any other mod if mod manager will point on the overwriting. Better Dialogue Controls + Better MessageBox Controls Improves "hitboxes" of dialogue lines and messageboxes, allows to navigate with keyboard keys etc. Makes your life easier. Extended UI Great addition to SkyUI which iproves look of skills menu, sleep/wait menu and adds some console features. Moreover, some mods like perk overhaul need it to properly display long perks/spells description. Atlas Map Markers + Update Essential mod that drastically increases amount of map markers. Remember how you was able to fast travel only to Whiterun itself or Dragonsreach? Now you can fast travel to Arcadia's Cauldron, Jorrvaskr etc. More then 700 new map markers! Update mod adds much better control system for this mod via MCM. Note: if getting "SkyrUI error 5" notification when opening the map, just go to SkyUI MCM ==> Advanced ==> Disable map check option. This error is just notification and doesn't cause any issues in game. Disabling that option disabled the nasty popup too. RaceMenu Greatly increased amount of customization option for your character and eleminated lags/crashes during this process if you have plenty of character-related visual mods. Smooth Sky mesh Smooths the sky transition between horizon, middle and top of the sky. Essential mod for glitch-free skies look, no matter which weather mod or ENB preset is used. Skyrim Exterior Fixes ==NEW== Great collection of fixes for incorrectly placed world objects. Dirtcliff Texture Fix ==NEW== To fix this mess. Better Jumping ==NEW== You can't jump from sprint in vanilla game. With this, you can - plus there are a few other optional features. Mfg Console ==NEW== Super useful mod, which doesn't do anything automatically, but can help you with troubleshooting greatly, showing tons of useful information about any object you click on in console.
Congrats, you're ready now.
Before you start, download this little software: DDS VIEWER It's a free, small and awesome tool that allows you to open .dds (texture) files just like any other images. Doing this, you can compare same textures from different mods and decide which one to install. It's a must-have tool. P.S. Installer .exe file doesn't contain eny viruses. Just ignore your antivirus. P.P.S. If you have problems with it on Windows 10 and you're NVIDIA user, try this. P.P.P.S. If you're happy Photoshop owner, simply install this plugin and enjoy. =========
Important tip #1: during the installation process, overwrite all the files when you will be notified about this. There will be a few cases when you not need to overwrite some files or you need to install texture partially/manually, but I will notify about it.
Important tip #2: To install 200 mods and then launch your game is not a best idea. I personally recommend to do in this way: install a few mods (let's say 5-7 if these mods are big, 20-25 if small), sort them with LOOT, launch your game, check it's stable. Install 5 more and so on.
Important tip #3: Don't use 4k textures untill you have 4k monitor with Titan videocard and you're not aiming for screenarchery (like shoting a bugs or leaves). You won't see any difference between 4k and 2k textures until you come absolutely closely to them. 2k is perfect option for 1920 and even higher (2k) monitors. Using 4k you'll waste tonns of VRAM but won't notice this actually. Using 2k will save tonns of VRAM and you're still having beautiful textures. The only where you can install 4k textures are interior cells (caves/mines etc) as interior use much less VRAM and some underground creature retextures (Dwemer/Falmer) due to the same reasons. If your PC is not the strongest, or you just want to save some VRAM for something else - for example, super-fps-hungry ENB preset or 3D LODs from DyndoLOD, you can use even 1k textures for most of exteriors. Graphics quality will be just fine.
Q: But why "waste" of VRAM? A: It's pretty simple. Texture is basically a square img file. Most of people are used to think that 2k uses x2 more VRAM then 1k, and 4k uses x4 more VRAM then 1k, for example. But as texture img is a square, we will receive a bit different values. 1x1=1. 2x2=4. 4x4=16. So as you can see, 2k textures actually use x4 more VRAM compared to 1k, and 4k use x16 more VRAM, which is absolutely insane.
Q: What is ENB? Why I ever need it? A: *Lights up a smoking pipe*. Ok, listen, young padavan. ENB is a graphical enhancement engine that adds visual affects that are not supported by the game initially, at all. Proper antialiasing, real HDR, qualitative bloom, godrays, ambient fog effects, dozens of shaders for water, skin, weapons, armors and other objects, parallax (3D-looking objects), ambient occlusion, depth of field and much-much more. ENB is also a PC-only engine - that's why modded Skyrim graphics are looking so superior compared with Skyrim graphics on consoles.
Q: But wait. Right now? In the first place? Why? You had this step in the very end of the guide before. A: Yes, it was in the end, but I became more expirinced and wiser and I want to give you guys the really best possible modded game ever. The reason is pretty simple. ENB for Skyrim also has so-called "enboost", a pack of special settings in enblocal.ini file which allow Skyrim to use ALL your video memory. That's why, it directly affects stability of your game. Secondly, as you may already read in previos paragraph, ENB has absolutely unique and superior visual effects. Long story short, Skyrim with decent ENB and with no graphics mods at all will always look much better than Skyrim with even 300 graphics mods, but without ENB. That's why ENB should be installed in the first place - to give you stability and to see how much it affects your FPS so you can understand how to build your graphics setup around it.
Q: Ok, but I was not planning to use an ENB, still. What now? A: There are a lot of performance-friendly ENB presets. One guy from my Discord is running ENB on GXT 285. No kidding. It's just all about tweaks. But even for some strange reasons you won't use ENB, you still need to use ENB binaries (i.e. core) and ENBoost, to have your game 100% stable and running smooth. In other words, for Skyrim, ENB is a superior graphics enhancer and stability booster at the same time.
Q: How much FPS will ENB eat? How do I know that? A: First of all, you need to understand that ENB is ofc FPS-hungry and as it interracts with objects in game and adds a lot of visual effects, ENB performance will depend on many factors - how much texture mods are installed, what our PC specs are etc. But ENB effects are totally and more than worth their price :)
Q: But what about weather/lighting mods? ENB preset I want to use requires that weather mod! A: Don't worry. You can install weather/lighting mods required anytime. Weather/lighting "incompatibility" with ENB will not cause crashes, it's just about how the ENB colors and other effects are looking the best possible exactly with required weather/ligting mods.
Q:My PC/laptop is pretty weak and ENB gives me a lot of stutters! A: Either use enb binaries only + enboost to have only the stability/VRAM improvements (explained below), or refer to the end of the guide where I prepared a section especially for low-end PCs - most likely it will allow you to use ENB even if your PC is pretty weak.
Q: I saw your videos and I like that ENB, what's the name? A: I'm using the amazing Rudy ENB.
Follow these steps to install ENB and make some tweaks'n'tricks for stable game and proper memory usage:
1) Turn off the effects that will be replaced by ENB. Open Skyrim launcher and turn off Antialiasing, Anisotropic Filtering, and FXAA. In your videocard driver/control panel, set the features from previous step and Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) to "Application-Controlled" (Nvidia) or "Use application settings" (AMD).
2) Download ENB core files here: Read your ENB preset description page and download the latest version if it supports it. If no, download the needed one. Place d3d9.dll AND enbhost.exe from the "wrapper" folder to your Skyrim root folder, where your TESV.exe is located (not the data folder!)
3) Open your Skyrimprefs.ini (located in \Documents\My Games\Skyrim, open with notepad for example, but I recommend this tool). Make sure the following values at the [DISPLAY] section are exactly the same as below. If no - set them to this values, if they are not exist - just paste them there. Then save your Skyrimprefs.ini. bFloatPointRenderTarget=1 bTreesReceiveShadows=1 bDrawLandShadows=1 bShadowsOnGrass=1 iMultiSample=0 iMaxAnisotropy=1 bFXAAEnabled=0 Alternatively, you can just use my .ini files that you can find in the "Files" tab of the guide page. Note: if you are 100% sure you've made all needed changes but your game still alerts you about missing bFloatPointRenderTarget=1 value, this may be a rarely happening glitch. Go to your Skyrim game folder. Inside it, there's \Skyrim folder (yes, folder with "Skyrim" name inside main Skyrim game folder). It has copy of Skyrimprefs.ini file. In vastly majority of cases it doesn't affect your game, but in some cases it does, for unknown reasons. Just delete this file. The only one you need is inside \Documents\My Games\Skyrim folder.
4) Choose an ENB preset you like (list below) and place its files to your Skyrim root folder (the same where your TESV.exe and ENB core files are). Unlike regular mods, ENB should be unpacked and installed MANUALLY. There are so many of them, beautiful and stunning! Yeah, if you're still not decied, it will be quite a dilemma ;) My advice is to click on "last updated" option to sort the preset pages, as many of "most endorsed" presets are outdated. Also, my favourite ENB presets are all placed in the beginning of the list, so if you trust my opinion - on these you should take a look for sure. But of course it's up to you. Different ENB presets have different weahter/lighting mods requirments. Read the chosen ENB preset page attentively.
5) Download and install ENBoost. If you're using latest ENB, update it with the newest ENBoost fixes. In most of cases, you won't need to change many in enblocal.ini. You need to set the memory value in of VideoMemorySizeMb at the [MEMORY] tab according to your videocard strength. To make this task easier and know your total amount of video memory (it's not the videocard memory only actually), use this simple software. Download it, unpack and run the DX9 version (not the DX11). That's a value you need. To calculate the VideoMemorySizeMb value needed and for overall guide about enblocal settings look here. Note: while you technically can use the actual value VramSizeTest showed you, performance benefit of values above 10240 is arguable - some users experience slight FPS boost with values higher than 10240 (if VramSizeTest showed you 15000 for example), some others experience slightly lower FPS and not benefit at all. If you have beefy PC and your value showed by VramSizeTest is noticeably higher than 10240 - experiment with both 10240 and higher values to see if there's a difference for you :) Also remember that ReservedMemorySizeMb should not be set to value more than 512 (you can experiment with 128, 256, 384 etc, but as max as 512). Alternatively, and if you don't want to learn about each value - just use my enblocal.ini that you can get from my ini pack at guide page "Files" section. There, you will only need to change memory value line up to your videocard.
6) This is very important! NEVER replace your enblocal.ini file after needed tweaks are made. Most of ENB presets have their own enblocal.ini files, but you don't need them. Yes - just grab everything besides the enblocal.ini if you already have it tweaked. The thing is enblocal.ini, as you may already understood, contains mostly only technical/memory settings and moreover these memory settings are set up to YOUR videocard. If you will oeverwrite it with another enblocal, which obviously will have different settings, your ones will be screwed up and this will cause lags/crashes etc. There are only two values that you need to check and copy only the values (lines from ENB preset enblocal to your enblocal). - ProxyLibrary= - LodBias= The values may be different from preset to preset - if they will be, just copy and paste them to your enblocal.ini, replacing your current ones.
NOTE: small % of AMD videocard users are reporting "lower half of screen covered with black/brown something" (like this). This also, even more rarely, happens with NVIDIA videocards too. Currently its unknown what's causing it, and the chance is really low, but if you will be "lucky" - don't worry - just disable MIST effect in ENB GUI (shift+enter) and this will fix the issue. Don't forget to SAVE and APPLY changes.
To choose an ENB preset is absolutely matter of taste. However, in this list I've included the most fresh presets that work with latest ENB binaries. You can also take a look at my "Best of All Times" ENB comparison video and/or 2018 comparison video. Remember that ENB itself will eat some FPS almost at any rig. Sometimes it can cost you 0-5 FPS (so we can say you have no performance loss) up to 20-30 FPS - it all depends on your PC power. All presets are also markered with one of 3 colors: Green, Yellow or Red depending on their performance impact, so you'll be aware if this or that preset is an FPS-killer. And of course short description and weather/lighting mods compatibility tips. If you see that you have let's say stable 55-60 FPS with any of "yellow" ENB presets - you can run almost any ENB preset, even hungry one and be sure that your game will be stable and you will not face noticable stutters and FPS drops. But if you have like 30 FPS - you'll need to think about the ENB - to install performance-friendly one, or refer to "low-end" section (in the end of the guide), or not to install ENB at all and only use ENBoost (the very last option, if you're following the guide attentively and don't have a complete potato instead of PC, you won't need this option). Regarding the lighting mods compatibility: Many lighting mods also have their own weather modules. Don't use these modules even if ENB is compatible with this lighting mod. Don't. Use. Lighting mods weather modules. Also, combination of Relighting Skyrim + ELE Lite proved itself as having the best compatibility (more or less) with different ENB presets. So even it's not listed in lighting mods compatible at ENB preset page, you can try this. This doesn't mean it will be 100% compatible, but basicaly it will have better compatibility results. Once again, "imcompatibility" between ENB and weather/lighhting mod will not crash your game. But it may end with weird visuals and unbalanced colors, so always follow the recommended weather/lighting mods for chosen preset. Regarding the DOF: most of ENBs has DOF (depth of field) enabled and tweaked for this preset. Some people like DOF, some don't like at all, but ENB DOF also can (sometimes, it depends on preset) eat decent amount of FPS. If you find your preset DOF not good for you or need to have a few more FPS, do the following: 1) disable ENB DOF. Open enbseries.ini filem look at [EFFECT] section and change EnableDepthOfField=true to EnableDepthOfField=false. Save the file. 2) Optional: install Dynavision. It's a simple mod for DOF and it has MCM menu so you can change it's type (static or dynamic) and strength ingame. Abbreviations: COT - Climates of Tamriel. VW - Vivid Weathers. NLA - Natural Lighting and Atmospherics. NLVA - Natural Lighting Vivid Atmospherics. ELFX - Enhanced Lights and FX. RLO - Realistic Lighting Overhaul. ELE Lite - Enhanced Lightins for ENB (Lite). So, here we go with ENB presets list. Visit the presets pages to read attentively about all the details and also see some screenshots and videos to how it looks like. And once - again - don't bother about weather/lighting mods compatibility now. Just install the ENB you like the most and keep following my guide. You will come to weather/lighting mods section eventually. The last thing: some ENB presets are updated for the latest ENB binaries, some are not. In most of cases, even a bit outdated ENB will work just fine with the latest binaries (unitl it's not from like 2013), or can be made to work fine with a few tweaks you can in most cases read in that ENB comments section. Or, you can simply use older binaries, but for the best possible visual result ofc it's always a good idea to use ENB preset that is up-to-date.
Rudy ENB ==FPS== My personal favourite. One of most unique presets on Nexus and one of my favourite. A bit desaturated, an amazing and balanced combination of realistic, fantasy and cinematic visuals. It has some really unique weathers and effects. Also compatible with awesome DARKEND mod (gameplay guide). It's another huge benefit is that while being 100% up-to-date and having amazing visuals, it has amazing performance, almost close to 0 fps loss at modern rigs. Weather mods compatibility: NLA, NLVA, Vivid Weathers, Climates of Tamriel, URWL Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
RealVision ENB ==FPS== The most known and endorsed ENB preset on Nexus. It's a bit outdated as for today, but it's still a great option for the most "lore-friendly" approach to graphics improvement. It doesn't have anything special in it, but that's what some people want sometimes. Try it for sure! Weather mods compatibility: COT. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX, RLO.
Tetrachromatic ENB==FPS== Awesome, stunning, beautiful! This ENB is a brilliant creation. It looks great, realistic and fantasy-like at the same time. Original version has about 80 custom weathers. It's pretty saturated so some people can find it less lore-friendly for Skyrim. But my personal advise is to try it for sure! It also has 3 levels of performance options. It also has 3 versions - original preset, version for Vivid Weathers and version for NLVA. This is a preset I'm currently using (version for VW). Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla weathers (original version), VW, NLVA (different version have different weather mod compatibility). Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting Skyrim + ELE Lite (compatible, but not necessary as mod author says).
Antique Dragon ENB ==FPS== New an amazing fantasy ENB preset. Not so saturated as Tetrachromatic, and also with fully-working night eye as well as tweaked adaptation effect, that is great for mages - you'll not more blind yourself with your fire spells in dark dungeons. Amazingly performance-friendly. Maybe the best ENB in terms of performance between all modern presets. Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla weathers, but with Vivid Weathers textures (install it and delete it's .esp file). Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX (only interiors, without enhancer).
Caffeine ENB ==FPS== ENB preset from the same author based on Antique Dragon, Rudy and Snapdragon presets. It also has several LUTs (color templates you can switch directly ingame). Amazing visuals and great performance! Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX (only interiors, without enhancer).
SUKI ENB ==FPS== Qualitative preset aimed on photorealism, with dark nights and bright days and surroundings. Take into account that it also uses tweaked SKGE preset (described below), which also eats some FPS, so FPS hit may be pretty big, depending on your rig. Weather mods compatibility: NLA, NLVA, Snowfall. Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting skyrim + ELE, ELFX (technically).
SNOWFALL ENB ==FPS== Just an amazing preset based on Rudy ENB with REALTIME snow cover. Try it for sure! Weather mods compatibility: NLVA. Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting Skyrim + ELE (recommended), ELFX, RLO (technically compatible but not 100% tested).
The Grim and Somber ENBS ==FPS== It is a collection of presets are fantasy and vintage based ENB's with a focus on a dramatic lighting with an intense atmosphere and mood. Do not look for a lot of realism in these ENB's as that is not the goal or aim behind them. Colleciton has 6 presets that support latest ENB binaries. If you like such fantasy and vintage look, try them for sure! Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods.
Aeon ENB ==FPS== Very detailed and stunningly beautiful preset! It's very bright so may be pretty "matter of taste". It's really FPS-hungry, maybe one of the most I've ever used, but its visuals absolutely worth it. Weather mods compatibility: NLA, NLVA. Lighting mods compatibility: any interior lighting mods. Exterios lighting modules are not recommended.
DAHAKA's ENB ==FPS== Awesome ENB preset for COT5/ELFX. Stunning and bright colors for fans of photorealism as well. Weather mods compatibility: COT. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
K ENB Pure Light ==FPS== Awesome and powerful preset, also coming with pack of beautiful textures designed for it. Bright and saturated with unique look, a real artwork. The only disadvantage: it will rape your FPS and maybe even melt your GPU in a blink of an eye. Use only if you have monster rig. Weather mods compatibility: NLA. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX, ELE.
Kinematic ENB Southern Light ==FPS== Awesome and a bit more cinematic ENB from the same author. FPS hit is the same huge though. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX. But author still suggest to use with vanilla lighting for perfect results.
Rampage ENB ==FPS== Beautiful cinematic and semi-realistic ENB preset based on K-ENB. One of it's main features is that it has 7 presets included and you can change them ingame! On the other hand, it's pretty FPS-hungry. But powerful rig can handle it. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods.
NLA ENB ==FPS== Still one of the mod qualitative ENB presets. Even it's pretty old, give it a try. Weather mods compatibility: NLA (obviously as well). Lighting mods compatibility: Technically any of them, but ELFX gave me the most pleasant result. Can be used with vanilla lighting as well.
Vividian ENB ==FPS== ENB preset from author of Vivid Weathers mods. One of its best advantages is really rich weather/lighting mods compatibility. Has 4 versions: for Vanilla weathers, Black and White version and 2 more verstion for weather mods. Weather mods compatibility: VW, COT, Purity, NLA, RCRN. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX (don't use Enhancer), RLO (don't use its weathers), Relighting Skyrim + ELE Lite.
Snapdragon Prime ENB ==FPS== While mod description page states this ENB is mostly for screenarchery, it's actaully a great preset with different templates (you can choose them in enb GUI directly ingame). Just use "gameplay" DOF with it. Weather mods compatibility: NLA. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX, ELE.
OrganicENB v2 ==FPS== Awesome ENB preset, beautiful and realistic. It also has smart installer with many performance and other options. Weather mods compatibility: COT, VW. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX (core files).
Elder Blood ENB Redux ==FPS== Weather mods compatibility none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Ruvaak Dahmaan ENB Redone ==FPS== Great and pretty realistic ENB preset. Weather mods compatibility: COT. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX, RLO.
Legacy Immersive Visual Overhaul (LIVO ENB) ==FPS== One of the the most unique presets I saw. It's very "matter of taste" one, but if you like photorealism and strong exposure - try it. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods. Though, as for me, ELFX works just fine.
Dovah Naakin ORIGIN ENB ==FPS== Amazing bright ENB preset with stunning sky effects and original cloud textures. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX (don't use enhancer).
RYA ENB ==FPS== ENB preset based on previous one. Not so bright and a bit more fantasy-like. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX (don't use enhancer).
Kwanon ENB ==FPS== Very original and pretty cinematic preset. It supports huge amount of new land mods which is also great. Weather mods compatibility: technically almost all weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: technically almost all lighting mods.
Evok ENB ==FPS== Several amazing cinematic presets (plus different options and performance version for each of them). Take into account that it has additonal .esp files that you should install as regular mods. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods besides its own. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods besides its own.
Otherworld ENB ==FPS== Pretty original dark fantasy preset. Weather mods compatibility: VW. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
LuciEN ENB ==FPS== Middle-realistic fantasy preset for the author of previous one. It has pretty good performance and about 20 very original custom weathers. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX, ELE Lite.
The Baltic States ENBs ==FPS== Pretty performance-friendly colletion of ENB presets. Presets differs - from realism to great saturation. Has compatibility with many weather mods. Weather mods compatibility: NLA. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods. Though, as for me, personally, ELFX worked just fine.
Mure ENB ==FPS== ENB preset with some original visuals, sharp, very gloomy and desaturated. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods.
Vivacity ENB ==FPS== Bright and sharp preset. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods.
Chromogenic ENB ==FPS== Awesome preset inspired by Tetrachromatic ENB. Weather mods compatibility: none. Don't use any weather mods. Lighting mods compatibility: none. Don't use any lighting mods.
- - Zephyr ENB - - ==FPS== Great preset for COT/ELFX, bright and contrasty. Weather mods compatibility: COT. Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
A Bleak Vivid Weather Enb ==FPS== Bleak preset for Vivid Weathers. Weather mods compatibility: VW. Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting Skyrim + ELE Lite.
Patrician ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
New, stunning preset balanced between realism and photorealism.
Weather mods compatibility: NLVA.
Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting Skyrim + ELE Lite or ELFX (not officially supported but looks just fine).
RuBy ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
One more amazingly beautiful, bright preset. Don't confuse with Rudy ENB :)
Weather mods compatibility: NLVA.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Fantasy Preset ==FPS== ==NEW==
Witcher inspired, vibrant fantasy preset.
Weather mods compatibility: NLA.
Lighting mods compatibility: All of them.
Bloodborne ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Well-rounded preset with good balance and touch of photorealism.
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla or NLA.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Insanity ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Well-rounded preset with good balance and touch of photorealism.
Weather mods compatibility: COT.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Nosgoth ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Dark and vibrant preset inspired by games like Bloodborne, with a bit of saturation touch at the same time.
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla.
Lighting mods compatibility: All of them.
Nova ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
One more great realism-oriented preset.
Weather mods compatibility: NLVA.
Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting + ELE, but looks good with ELFX as well.
Vivid Fantasy ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Colorful preset for Vivid Weathers.
Weather mods compatibility: VW.
Lighting mods compatibility: Relighting + ELE, but looks fine with ELFX too.
Dark Eden ENB for Vivid Weathers ==FPS== ==NEW==
Grim and ambient preset for Vivid Weathers.
Weather mods compatibility: VW.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Opethfeldt ENB Renewal ==FPS== ==NEW==
Opethfeldt ENB was a really great realism-to-photorealism ENB in the early times of Skyrim modding, but its development was abandoned. This preset basically updates it to the latest ENB binaries.
Weather mods compatibility: NLA.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
QIRE ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla, NLVA, COT.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
The Song of Heaven ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Performance-friendly, bright preset.
Weather mods compatibility: Any.
Lighting mods compatibility: RLO.
White Orchard ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Witcher inspired preset.
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla.
Lighting mods compatibility: All of them.
Dovahlandjas ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Cold, desaturated preset.
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla.
Lighting mods compatibility: All of them.
Brilliance ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
A tweaked Caffeine ENB.
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Chimera - Performance-friendly ENB for Vivid Weathers ==FPS== ==NEW==
Exactly how it's called. And greatly fitting Vivid Weathers too.
Weather mods compatibility: VW.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX, Relighting + ELE.
Project Tamriel ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Simple but good-looking preset.
Weather mods compatibility: All of them.
Lighting mods compatibility: All of them.
Nordic Land's ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Realism-centered preset based on NLA ENB.
Weather mods compatibility: NLA.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
Painting ENB ==FPS== ==NEW==
Simple, desatured, painting-like looking preset.
Weather mods compatibility: Vanilla.
Lighting mods compatibility: ELFX.
So many awesome presets! I hope you'll find the one and only for you :) This list is, of course, doesn't have all possible ENB presets existing on Nexus, but to place them all here would simply have no sense. That's why I've uncluded some really qualitative or original ones here. You, of course, may and should choose any you like :)
Now let's install the "base" of our beautiful mod setup!
Now choose between the next few mods. Basically, they all covers +/- same amount of textures, installing one after another will just almost completely overwrite the first one you've installed. As an option, you can compare texture images manually and keep the ones you like, mixing these mods. But in most cases, you won't need this, especially if you're a newcomer to Skyrim modding. Same is applied to each further "choose" notifications.
Skyrim HD - 2K Textures ==FPS== Covers huge amount of textures and stick pretty much with vanilla. Skyrim HD - Terrain Parallax Tribute ==FPS== Awesome parallax patch for Skyrim HD mod. NobleSkyrimMod HD-2K ==FPS== Another amazing and huge texture mod. You can also try to combine this with Skyrim HD (I'm doing this and combination looks great), installing textures one after one manually and comparing texture files. Also install SMIM patch from its optionals. Tamriel Reloaded HD ==FPS== Awesome mod, it also covers great amount of textures. It has it own original view and it will be great for those who want to bring some "spring" colors in Skyrim. But on the other hand it looks less lore-friendly. Just a matter of taste :) If you'll be using Tamriel Reloaded as you main texture pack, I strongly recommend to install the next mod over it and overwrite. It contains tons of gretly improved textures and normalmaps from this mod. Basically, a qualitative addon to it. Tamriel Reloaded HD Plus ==FPS== Skyland - A Landscape Texture Overhaul ==FPS== This is a qualitative landscape overhaul which covers a lot - as usual, it's a matter of taste to try it as well :) It has one noticable disadvantage though - as it was initially made for Skyrim SE, which is much more limited in ENB graphics possibilities - it has no parallax. At all. Other than that, once again, it's a qualitative work! Note: it covers ONLY landscape, so it's not an actual "base" texture mod for everything. Skyrim Realistic Overhaul ==FPS== "Old but good" base texture mod, and the most "vanilla-like" looking. It's hosted not on Nexus, so if you like how it looks and want to use it, just download it manually and then add to your mod manager and install with mod manager as usual :) Vivid Landscapes - All in One ==FPS== This mod is optional - install it if you like its textures more than landscape texture of Skyrim HD/Noble/Tamriel Reloaded. Note: this mod has a couple of corrupted meshes which can crash your game during certain loading screens. To fix that, simply delete the meshes showed at this image from /meshes/loadscreenart. Thanks to Marmotte for notifying about that. Skyrim 2017 Terrain Parallax Textures ==FPS== This mod is optional, but strongly recommended! It combines various texture from different mods and adds parallax support to them. aMidianBorn Caves and Mines ==FPS== 4k Parallax Mines by Pfuscher ==FPS== CC's HQ Mines Redone==FPS== This mod is optional, but it definitely looks amazing - my suggestion is at least to try it. And yes, don't worry that it's for SE - it's 100% safe to use for original Skyrim - just download the mod manually, place it to your mod manager mods folder, relaunch mod manager and install the mod as usually :) Gecko's Dwarven Ruins Textures ==FPS== This mod is optional. Install it based on your own taste.
Choose [ONE] of the next 4 "big daddy" tree overhauls. The choice is purely a matter of your personal taste, and each of mods is described below.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul ==FPS== Use "no grass" version if you're planning to use grass mod (which I personally recommend to do). Also, do NOT use it together with Enhanced Vanilla Trees or Myrkvior below - choose one. Enhanced Vanilla Trees ==FPS== Amazing mod which I'm using myself. Besides having double and sometimes tripple the resolution on all applied trunk textures, the meshes have improved shapes to reduce edges and there are optional versions with more foliage, larger tree sizes and custom textures, as well as fully supporting allmighty 3D LODs for DynDOLOD (explained below in the guide). It's an all-in-one complete Vanilla+ tree enhancement package. This mod is great alternative if your PC can't handle Skyrim Flora Overhaul, and my personal favorite - while giving great performance and plenty of options to choose from, it maintains vanilla look of the trees, but with much greater quality. Do NOT use it together with Skyrim Flora Overhaul or Myrkvior - choose one. Myrkvior - The Flora Of Skyrim ==FPS== ==NEW==
New, original trees overhaul with a unique look and great quality. Only moment here is that it's placing plenty of new trees across the game world as well - so if using it, test the game deepy if you'll be using landscape overhauls. Yet, it's giving a really fresh touch to Skyrim trees look and definitely worth a try. Do NOT use it together with SFO or EVT - choose one. SFO Summer Edition II ==FPS== ==NEW==
New "summer" variation of SFO. For those who want to transform Skyrim into someting more green and blooming. Do NOT use it together with EVT or Myrkvior - choose one.
Forest Bark ==FPS== 4K Parallax Treebark==FPS== Install Realistic Aspen Trees patch if you will use it. BTM - Better Tree Mod =FPS== This mod is optional. Install it if you like its textures more than previous ones. If no - skip. Note: This mod [includes full version] of Realistic Aspen Trees mod, with LODs, billboards etc. It ALSO has "green" aspen recolor as an optional file, and moreover, with billboards - making it also compatible with DynDOLOD and 3D LODs. 2K-4K Parallax Forest Treebark =FPS== ==NEW== This mod is optional. Install it if you like its textures more than previous ones. If no - skip. Lush Vanilla Trees ==FPS== This mod is optional. If your PC can handle [NONE] of SFO, EVT or Myrkvior fine - you most likely won't need it. Very fps-friendly alternative to previous mod, but ofc not so rich detailed. Compatible with SFO. NOT ocmpatible with EVT. Immersive Fallen Trees Mod ==FPS== Fences of Skyrim ==FPS== Install patch for Vivid Landscapes (if using it). High Quality Food and Ingredients ==FPS== Do NOT overwrite anything by this mod to only get lacking textures.
Install only one.
Note #1: Always read the grass mod pages carefully, as each mod usually requires of settings in Skyrim.ini [GRASS] section. Implement them. Note #2: If you absolutely love some grass mod, and can use it, but FPS hit is bigger than you expected, you can always play with grass density settings, namely the iMinGrassSize= value. The LOWER is the value, the DENSER is the grass - so if you wanna more FPS, make the value HIGHER (try 80, 100 or even 120).
If you want to make Solstheim look more "spring" and colorful, instead of previous two mods you can try one of these: Solstheim Genesis ==FPS== I'm not using any of these, but that's my personal favourite in terms of visual changes. Summer Solstheim HD ==FPS== Fine, let's move.
4K Parallax Skyrim by Pfuscher ==FPS== A huge compilation of textures by talended Pfuscher. Mod files section has all-in-one pack as well as stdandalone smaller packs for different places/regions. These textures cover many not previously covered objects, but also will overlap greatly with previously installed mods - so here it's a matter of taste - before installing, inspect the textures yourself and see if you like them more than your current ones for same places, and install those you do. Note: before actual installation, unpack the mod archive and delete meshes folder - then archive it back, add to your mod manager and install.
Yes, you can mix them of course, but I'd recommend to pick one.
Great, let's continue. Now, landscape overhauls. These mods are adding (or removing) objects in skyrim worldspace, changing the overall look, transforming it into something more fresh, summer, spring, dark and so on. These mods are optional.
Enhanced Landscapes - Oaks Standalone - Marsh Pines - Dilon Vul ==FPS== This mod is optional. Standalone mod if you want something like "very light" version of Enhanced Landscapes. Also, this mod FULLY supports amazing 3D LODs! Don't use it if you are using EL already. Winter Overhaul 2019 ==FPS== This mod is optional. Amazing landscape overhaul that's making Skyrim look more like...Skyrim. Try it for sure. Distinct Skyrim Landscapes ==FPS== This mod is optional. Another landscape overhaul focused on making Skyrim regions more different to each other. It mostly focuses on trees - removing at some regions and adding in other regions, resulting in pretty original change in how Skyrim worldscape feels. Trees Addon ==FPS== This mod is optional. A really unique mod that places not big amounts but rather separate trees here and there across the Skyrim - only in places where these trees will look reall in place and nice! It also features unique trees from Enderal which are looking majestic and fitting many Skyrim regions great as well. Bent Pines II ==FPS== This mod is optional. A fresh work from flora mod divine, Vurt, which adds several really huge pines to the tundra with animated branches. The Blue Forest ==FPS== This mod is optional. A blue-colored fantasy overhaul for the Rift region. Fantasy Forest Overhaul ==FPS== This mod is optional. Fantasy trees and flora additions for the whole Skyrim now. Dark Forests of Skyrim ==FPS== This mod is optional. Amazing dark fantasy style overhaul for Skyrim featuring dead and living trees with new forested areas. Personally using it now. Skyrim Better Roads (SkyBeRoads) ==FPS== ==NEW== A simple yet immersive visual overhaul for Skyrim roads, compatible with almost everything possible. Project Rainforest ==FPS== ==NEW== This mod is optional. Beautiful and with huge coverage, tropical overhaul for Skyrim. The Great Forest of Whiterun Hold ==FPS== This mod is optional. A massive "treefication" of Whiterun region. You may also be interested in patches for it. The Ruins Legendary ==FPS== This mod is optional. Beautiful mods that adds various ruined structures and alters flora in some places of Skyrim. Ancient Land ==FPS== This mod is optional. Inspired by previous one, but more lightweight and a bit different. Mythical Tundra - Stonehenge and Hilltops ==FPS== This mod is optional. Beautiful authentic stone additions to the tundra region. Morgenstern's Mushroom Circles ==FPS== This mod is optional. More mushrooms! Oblivion Gates ==FPS== This mod is optional. Adds non-functional Oblivion gates here and there in Skyrim. Nordic Ruins of Skyrim ==FPS== Fresh and simple mod that makes nordic ruins look better. Northern Clearspring Tarn ==FPS== A fresh and detailed touch to one of the most beautiful Skyrim places.
Flower Fields ==FPS== This mod is optional. Simple as that - various flower fields across the Skyrim. May look not lore-friendly to some players. A matter of taste :) Snowy AF Windhelm ==PFS== This mod is optional. Adds much more snow and some clutter to Windhelm. Foggy Morthal and Swamp ==FPS== Great mod that changes morthal weathers and area around it. The only thing weather changes may be not compatible with ENB preset you're using, but it's still just a visual details, it will not cause crashes. Green Skyrim - summer landscape's textures pack ==FPS== This mod is optional. Once again it's VERY, VERY OPTIONAL. It will change the look of Skyrim completely. If you don't want spring overhaul - you don't need it. Summer Overhaul==FPS== A qualitative work for Skyrim summer transformation.
Climates of Tamriel (COT) Pros: most lore-friendly, great amount of weathers. Cons: not updated for a long time and likely won't be updated in future. Also it doesn't cover unofficial DLC-sized mods like Wyrmstooth, Summerset Isle etc. Patches: Extended Patches for Climates of Tamriel ======= Purity Pros: bigger variety of weather than COT has. Cons: have also water retexture mod included, so you'll need to reinstall Realistic Water Two (or use it's water). Also the last version of weather part of the mod exist only in complete "Purity" mod, so if you want it you need to download the full pack. Also this mod likely won't be updated anymore. And also a there are compatibility issues with other landscapes and water mods. My personal opinion - choose between COT, Vivid Weather or NLVA (see below). You can also try to use this, COT or Vivid Weathers with NLA weathers .esp, but I personally don't recommend to mix them. Also this mod big flaw is that almost no ENB presets are tweaked for it. Vivid Weathers (VW) Before NLVA was released (see below), it was my personal favorite. Brilliant weather mod! Pros: Newest weather mod. Biggest amount of weathers comparing with COT and Purity. Constantly updated. Has an MCM menu to configure brightness and saturation ingame without tweaking any .ini files. Covers most of unofficial DLC-sized mods! Cons: the most saturated weather mod, some weathers could look less lore-friendly than in COT or Purity, but saturation can be configured via MCM menu. Also it has the less amount of ENB presets compatible as it's new, but this list grows almost each few days. Natural Lighting and Atmospherics Awesome mod, but it changes vanilla weathers only. Also it has some awesome lighting effects. As for me this mod gives the best armor shining (especially during the rain/night/torches lighting etc). If you like it, you should defenitely try NLVA (see below). Natural Lighting Vivid Atmospherics (NLVA) My personal favorite now. The newest one as well. This mod it's just a brilliant combination of two mods: NLA and VW. Mod authors spent hundreds of hours to take and mix the best weathers and other effects from Vivid Weathers and Natural Lighting and Atmospherics. Quality about quantity. The result is fantastic! Today it also has very big amount of ENB presets tweaked for it. IMPORTANT NOTE: some of people are a bit confused on NLVA installation. To clarify a bit: NLVA has BOTH [weather mod] and [ENB preset]. These 2 are absolutely independent things. You need [only] weahter mod from it's files to have it's weather. So, if you're not planning using EXACTLY NLVA's ENB preset [as well], you don't need to "remove all traces of ENB" as NLVA pages recommends. This is related to ENB installation, which you already have. Aurelia - Weathers and Interiors ==NEW== Note: this one is a new weather mod. It works fine and gives some original touch to the game, but as it's new, it's not yet directly supported by popular ENB presets - so just test it yourself with your preferred ENB preset if you like it :)
Accompanying mods. You can (and I'd say should) install them all, but check weather mod compatibility for True Storms: True Storms - Thunder and Rain Redone ==FPS== Beautiful mod for realistic storms visuals and sounds. Installer has patches for almost all weather mods, excluding Vivid Weathers. But mod author said that VW patch will be done soon. Install this mod after any weather mod as it will overwrite some files. Lightning during Thunder Storms ==FPS== Brilliant mod for awesome lightings. Compatible with everything. Only COT needs patch that can be downloaded here: Lightning during Thunder Storms - Climates of Tamriel - Patch Wonders of Weather Awesome mod, compatible with everything. It adds Rain splashes, rainbows after rainstorms and shooting stars at night.
LIGHTING MODS. INSTALL ONLY ONE: Lighting mods are great addition to Skyrim beautification. The only one problem with them is that many ENB presets are incompatible with them. FYI: when we talk about weather/lighting mods compatibility with ENB presets, if such mod is "incompatible" this doesn't mean it will cause crashes. But you can encounter weird weather/lighting visuals as ENB presets have their own weather/lighting settings usually. So you can absolutely try to use them with any ENB, but will need to be ready to face the issues and and tweak your ENB presets.
Enhanced Lights and FX (ELFX) ==FPS== My personal favorite. Pros: awesome lighting mod with the widest amount of options so the most configurable. Most fresh one. Cons: eats FPS in some locations, but there's a fix that can be downloaded here: Unofficial Enhanced Lights and FX ELFX SMIM ENB fps performance patch. Also get this one ==NEW== too. Important note: if you'll be using ELFX Enhancer module, you need to delete a few records in Unofficial City Patch related to Dragonsreach to avoid conflicts and missing cells in the game. Current mod version of USCP (1.6) still has this issue. Should be removed in next version, but until then, you can do it yourself. Don't worry, it's absolutely easy. Just run TES5Edit, open Unofficial City Patch .esm file and delete only records showed on this screenshot. Exit TES5Edit. Profit! Important note #2: do NOT overwrite Rugnarok, Rocks/Mountains, Pfuscher's mines and Rudy's nordic mods meshes. Also, if you're aimed on a heavy mod list - don't choose exteriors option (it may lead to numerous conflicts with settlement mods). Realistic Lighting Overhaul ==FPS== Maybe the most performance-friendly lighting mod and also covering almost everything. Relighting Skyrim + ELE - LITE ==FPS== If you don't like both ELFX and RLO you can try this. Also this combination of mods has the best compatibility with ENB presets. Also get a patch for Relighting from Skyrim Exterior Fixes files section here.
TESLight-SkyrimLE ==FPS== ==NEW==
New lighting mod - pretty simple yet different from others, with own approach to interior lighting.
Now you there's a one optional mod you can isntall. It's compatible with all of lighting mods above, but in a "complex" way - besides adding amazing shadows, it also modifies or adds billions of lighting sources, which may cayse weird visuals when using with other lighting mods. So test deeply before keeping it, or just use it alone. You can make compatibility patches yourself via TES5Edit and CK, but this will take a lot of time if you want to make it literally 100% compatible with other big lighting mods. Let me put it more clear and simple: until you're pretty experienced with xEdit and CK, and don't have several dozens of hours of free time - don't use this mod on top of other lighting mods. Use one or another.
SHADOWS ==FPS== Simply amazing and very underrated mod that adding and improving shadows. The quality of these shadows is sometimes simply stunning! Just look on the screenshots and you'll get what I mean. But once again, this mod installation is optional and hyghly NOT recommended on top of other lighting mods.
These mods installation order should not cause any problems. But for the best result I kindly advise to install them in the same order as in guide
Read each of this mod pages attentively to know about compatibility (as it's simply impossible for me to describe it here due to amount of changes made by some of these mods). Also, remember that even if you'll use a lot of mods that are compatible, but in same regions, your FPS can be hit by truck. Test, experiment, choose your own combination :)
Interior mods - now choose one the next 2 big mods, the rest can be used together, but at certain conditions (you CAN use ALL of them with towns and cities mods): Unique Shops and Stores ==FPS== Just an amazing overhaul mod for many shops/stores and mage rooms in Skyrim. Compatible with all town mods above as it's affecting only interiors (while mods above are affecting only exteriors). Enhanced Interiors ==FPS== Similar mod with a bit more fantasy approach I'd say. A matter of taste :) Immersive Grey Quater ==FPS== ==NEW==
If using with any of big mods above, load them both in TES5Edit and delete records of same cells in either of them.
Fine, let's move.
Palaces and Castles Enhanced ==FPS== Beautiful and glorious overhaul to almost all palaces and castles in Skyrim. Interiors only, so can be used with any town mod. It's 99% compatible with Unique Shops and Stores and Palaces & Castles Enhanced (has only 1 minor conflict, you can remove it using Tes5Edit - namely the Dragonsreach record, remove this one in either of the mods using TES5Edit). Mod has plenty of patches in Files section, but there's also additional little patches collection (archive is not suitable for mod manager installation - download manually, pick what you need, zip, add to mod manager, install). Illustrated Panels Towns ==FPS== This one you can use with any town mods. Cozy Taverns ==FPS== ==NEW==
This mod makes all Taverns more cozy and unique with each one having different features and an original bath. Contains "moderate" adult content.
Cloud mods. Choose one. Note: don't install them if you use Vivid Weathers, NLVA or COT if you want those mods intended look - but if you want to experiment, you can try to combine. This choise is just a matter of taste after all.
All mods here are NOT obligatory for installation - but it's recommended to go through them still, as it will greatly improve hundreds of more objects not touched before, or improve better then previous "big" mods with often absolutely exceptional quality. The section below is the biggest one in meaning of mods quantity - so don't be afraid when you'll open it. This is a process of plesantly smashing each ugly texture left. Here you can find almost everything to not leave a single texture in Skyrim ugly. Creatures, dragons, armors and weapons, food, ingots, plants and hundreds of other objects till the tiniest details, like ruined books, gold pouches or even ants and werewolf totems. Many mods will ask you to overwrite - as your game has huge amount of objects retextured already. Just approve overwriting and keep going.
Realistic Boat Bobbing ==FPS== Amazing and just a must-have mod. Now you can enjoy the gentle boats bobbing while not staring at the clipping objects!
83Willows 101BugsHD Butterfly Dragonfly ==FPS== This mod is very optional to install. It adds tonns of different insects to Skyrim making it look much more alive. Someone may like this, someone not. Also my personal opinion is that it boosts Alchemy too much as you can collect hundreds of ingredients per minutes and some of new potions from these ingredients are a bit overpowered. But there's a patch to fix this and bring some balance, you can get it here: FIX PATCH.
The last few links are gathered exactly here for 2 reasons. Some of these works are absolutely exceptional quality and so, should be installed the very last to ensure nothing overwrites them. Secondly, most of the links are links to mod author profiles - some of them have dozens of retexture/remodel mods, and so, this will simply save a lot of space for the guide and time for you. Some of the mods you may already have though -as some of them I've made sure to link separately because of the great quality. Note: make sure to choose "Skyrim" game version to download the mods, not "Skyrim Special Edition".
Rougeshot meshes ==FPS==
Already almost 30 creature types received much more realistic meshes. Get'em'all!
Rallyeator profile ==FPS==
Retextures for many "forgotten" objects.
Flash3113 profile ==FPS==
You thought that's it? Ha!
ElSopa profile ==FPS==
And EVER more. Elsopa mostly focuses on absolutely forgotten things in great quality. Meredia's Beacon? Dust piles? Perk menu consttellations? All that and much more.
High Poly Project ==FPS==
Mod stands for its name. Detailed, volumetric models for many clutter items.
Kajuan profile ==FPS==
Definitely the best-looking textures for many creature types.
Lucidstorm profile ==FPS==
Check out his amazing retextures for stumps, rocks, mushrooms, Solitude stonefloor and glaciers. Themaster19 profile ==FPS==
Check it out for STUNNING retextures, mainly for arrows (yes-yes, arrows), but also pouches and ruined book.
Hype1 profile ==FPS==
Literally magnificent door meshes and textures for cities. Amount of mods is growing gradually, so check his profile from time to time.
Mari profile ==FPS==
Probably too saturated for some players, but definitely beautiful, fantasy-looking retextures for some of ugly skyrim plants.
Frankly HD mods ==FPS==
When it comes to vanilla armors (and sometimes weapons) retextures and better models, FrankFamily is simply out of competition. His mods are breathtakingly HD and detailed, while preserving original look. Unrivaled Nightingale, Dawnguard, Thieves Guild, Shrouded, Imperial, Dragonbone armors and some other great retexture mods are here.
Rudy HQ - Miscellaneous ==FPS==
For all clutter it covers, this Rudy mod is also unrivaled - in both terms of models and textures. Install it last, grab all optional addons you want and don't forget a patch for Smoking Torcher and Candles (if you have it).
Rudy's "More Lights" mods ==FPS==
Also check out his profile for revolutionary mesh mods that allows "Complex Particle Lights" feature from ENB to work on these objects.
Embers HD ==FPS==
One ember mod to rule them all. Follow the intaller and pick options you need. Enjoy!
KD - Realistic Fireplaces ==FPS==
Same, but now for fireplaces themselves. Mod has smart installer which offers you patches for all correlating mods, including Embers HD above.
SDlutz profile ==FPS==
Ultra high poly models and realistic, medieval textures for some Skyrim clutter.
The major part of your Skyrim beautification is already done! Good job!
ASO - Artistic Skyrim Overhaul ==FPS== Ok, this thing is ABSOLUTELY optional. It differs drastically from ANY texture mod listed here. Please do NOT install it until your read this paragraph. What ASO does? It retextures major part of Skyrim textures (not all, yes, you can still meet original textures) into something cartoonish/painting-like.With this mod installed, your Skyrim will look like a painting. That's definitely not for everyone and concept is very experimental, but it's very unique - that's for sure. I personally really bow before the creativity of the mod author. Maybe you wanted to try somehing like this for years? If yes, grab one of the three version of this mod and install it :) Do NOT pick this mod if you want to keep your Skyrim looking as it should look. Another great benefit of this mod is that it can be used at low-end PCs to save tons of video memory. That's it :)
I was mentioning this in the ENB section of the guide, but now the time has finally come. Meet SKGE - Skyrim Reloaded mod!
Skyrim Reloaded - SKGE ==FPS== What SKGE actually does? It's pretty much similar to ENB and has many same effects (which ENB, mostly, implements better). But, SKGE also adds some absolutely unique things which even allmight ENB doesn't have! Such things as additional beautiful and shiny water shaders, motion blur and what if most important - much better shadows. You can literally see the shadows in game to become twice as more detailed when using SKGE. You can also combine (not all, but you can) some same effects added by both ENB and SKGE (like godrays, for example) to bring these effects to 200% level of power! IMPORTANT! 1) Proceed to SKGE original page on TesReloaded website and read everything carefully before installing it. [DO NOTE DELETE YOUR BASE INI FILES] as it says - that's not needed, only make changes needed, or use my SKGE inis. If you feel yourself unsure about its installation and tweaking - skip this now and try later. SKGE is not crucial for Skyrim. But it's a great addition. 2) SKGE is NOT compatible with ENB by default. Consider it as an polishing addition to ENB. To simplify everything, after installing SKGE itself, use only shadows, water and motion blur features from it. Also disable speedhack in enblocal. 3) SKGE shadows feature is pretty fps-hungry. It can eat from 5 to 15 FPS depending on your mod setup and PC specs. Test this. 4) To make things easier, you can simply download my SKGE pre-tweaked ini, add it to your mod manager, install and approve overwriting. Profit!
Additional note for strong PC owners: you can drastically increase shadows quality, making shadows looking really nextgen by combining SKGE and tweaking shadow values in Skyrimprefs.ini (thanks to PirahnaBoi for suggestion). If you want to experiment, increase the next values (or download my ini file with these settings already changed): fInteriorShadowDistance= fShadowDistance= iShadowMapResolution=
Now let's finish the last details related to worldscape - but not the last in significance!
Dynamic Distant Objects Lod - DynDOLOD ==FPS== Constantly updated, awesome and great, revolutionary, in some sense - but needs some time to install and use. What is DynDOLOD? Its a successor of Tes5LodGen, which is basically generating the LODs (optimized textures of distant objects far from you - trees, buildings, light sournces, glowing windows etc). Vanilla Skyrim LODs just sucks. For example, somewhere far infront of you (you know that let's say) there are 200 trees. But game engine will load 10 LODs as maximum - and so, distant view will look bald, and when you'll come closer - all the rest 190 trees will just instantly pop-up out of nowhere. Annoying, isn't it? Secondly, neither Skyrim engine and Tes5LodGen were able to generate LODs for mods. DynDOLOD can! Yes, yes, yes - that's what you're thinking about. If let's say you installed a mod that adds new houses near village - you will see these houses LODs in distance. If mod places new trees - you will see them all. If you're playing some kind of new land mod - even here, LODs will be generated. DynDOLOD even has 3D-LODs option! This literally means LODs can be generated in 3D-like look with greater quality so you won't actaully notice the transition between regular objects textures and LODs, making exploraton almost seamless. That's what DynDOLOD about - it's absolutely essential mod that will drastically improve how your worldscape look. Important moment! As I just mentioned, DynDOLOD supports almost everything - so that means you need to install and run it the VERY LAST after you will install all possible mods (both graphics and gameplay) and say "my mod list is complete". So skip this step for now and return here when you'll completely finish your mod list - to make the last, but huge beautification addition. Also, if you're still not ready to generate LODs by yourself using it, you can use pre-made showcase files from the Miscellaneous section. Download version for Skyrim, Dawnguard, Dragonborn and Hearthfires. A few clicks and you're redy to go! :) But ofc it's strongly recommended to use it at full power. Absolutely simplified installation of Dyndolod looks like this:
1) Installing DynDOLOD required mods 2) Installing DynDOLOD core files via mod manager 3) Installing billboards in the same order you installed trees/landscape mod (i.e. if you have tree mods A, B, C, you should install billboards for mod A, then for mod B, then for mod C, and overwrite). 4) Installing patches via mod manager. 5) Generating textures via texgen.exe, archiving them, dropping to your mod manager mods folder, installing via mod manager. 6) Generating dyndolod via dyndolod.exe, archiving the files, dropping to your mod manager mods folder, installing via mod manager. 7) Activating dyndoldod .esp. 8) Profit :3
Watch this awesome guide if installation still looks complicated for you. To make some lods even more detailed, you can use this great mod alongside DynDOLOD. Depending on your graphics mods setup and ENB preset, you may want to make landscape LODs darker, also darker (different option, works fine in LE) or more green (if using some "green"/"spring" mods).
First of all, make sure you have this one. It gives insane variety of character customization and removes all crashes related to character creation menu. RaceMenu
Body/skin/eyes/hair etc mods: Usually, you can install as many eyes and hair mods as you want - just be sure these mods are standalone. Situation with body and skin mods is different - you can have only one in each category, so choose which you like the most.
Fitness Body ==FPS== This mod is absolutely optional. Install it if you want to see some muscules at your female character :) Racial Body Morphs - Diverse body types and height by Race and Gender ==FPS== Does how it's called. Pretty unique mod. Please not that it's NOT compatible with mods that affects races in any way, but thankfully to mod author, there are patches for popular mods like Imperious at the mod files tab.
And now let's add some physics :) These mods are absolutely optional. Depending on do you want some more physics or not. Sometimes these effects can look a bit weird, so it's up to you. Try to install them and see their work in action.
HDT Physics Extensions ==FPS== It is an SKSE plugin that applies the existing Havok physics engine to other uses in skyrim. Swishing hair, flowing skirts, or the ever popular bouncing boobs. This mod is core one and you need to have it installed for any other "HDT" mod to work. HDT HighHeels System ==FPS== This mod modifies the height of different high shoes to look properly. It's required by many custom armor and outfit mods. HDT Breast And Butt Physics - TBBP BBP Supported ==FPS== This mod adds some physics for sexiness :)
NPC Overhauls: Here we go with the list of mods that make Skyrim NPC more beautiful. Current list contains standalone mods - these mods don't require other mods to work properly. I have not included mods that are absolutely not lore-friendly. Also I have not included mods that are really outdated (like last update in 2012). Important: such mods are mostly compatible, but as most of them change many NPCs, you can have situation when you want to install two mods, but they change some same NPCs. In this case, place the mod you like the most after. For example, you want to use MOD1 and MOD2. Both of them change Lydia. You like Lydia from MOD2. Place MOD2 after MOD1 to give it bigger priority and you're fine :) Important: some of these mods may use USKP (previous unsupported version of Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition patch which is now deleted from NExus already) as master. These mods should be updated by their authors, but it can also be done by yourself - if you have USKP, of course. Take a look at first sticky post at USLEEP page. As always, read it carefully and start to modify files only if you're understand what you're doing completely. In other case, just try to use another mod - there are a lot of them :) If you don't have USKP now...well, just ignore this part and don't use mods that require USKP.
Female overhaul mods:
"Big" mods that change pretty big amount of NPCs:
"Bijin" mods series. You can install them all if you like. My personal favorite for these female NPCs. Also each of them comes many options during installation and some additional optional files for your convinience. Bijin Warmaidens ==FPS== Bijin Wives ==FPS== Bijin NPCs ==FPS== Fine. Let's move.
The Ordinary Women ==FPS== This mod change appearance of big amount of female NPCs (60)! If you don't want to look here and there for separate mods and save many .esp slots, try it for sure. You may also want to try this hair retexture for it. NPCs of Dibella ==FPS== Noobshire NPCs ==FPS== This mod has an original view. Try it if you want to 24 of its females look a bit older. Skyrim Beautiful Followers - SBF ==FPS== Note: this mod is not very lore-friendly. But I've included it to the list as it covers big amount of female followers and has good quality.
RS Children Overhaul ==FPS== Don't forget the fix and USLEEP patch from its own page.Also take a look at this additional patches page for it. Simple Children LE ==FPS== Fresh (released 11 February 2019) and simply amazing mod - I'm personally using it now and humbly recommend you to try it! Great quality while sticking to lore-friendly look and just huge amount of patches for popular mods compatibility! TK Children ==FPS== The Kids Are Alright ==FPS== This ons is not-very lore-friendly sometimes, but still huge and very qualitative!
Now, the last polishing step! Let's make a Bashed Patch!
What is that Bashed Patch and why do you need it? Let me expain. Many mods, especially big ones and especially gameplay mods (but many graphics mods as well, and that's why you need it even now), are modifying so called "leveled lists". What is leveled list? In simple language, that's everything you may find and meet in the game. Enemies spawns, items in chests and enemies as loot, NPC faces and bodies, spellbooks in traders inventory and so on. Many other things like changes/addition to Race/AI records and scripts may be added as well. The key moment here is game is not updating this automatically, litereally meaning that you may never see some of new creatures, items, spellbooks or new NPC faces from mod-added NPCs. But thanks the Divines modders, you can fix that by making a Bashed Patch. Simply find an plugin called "Bashed Patch 0" in your load order, right-click on it, choose "Build/Rebuild" patch, click on it, wait until importing is finished and...boom, magic! Everything is updated and imported, so you can be sure everything you want from your mods - you will see it ingame. Just don't forget to activate it ;) It was simple, wasn't it? But if you want to read a really in-depth manual for it, take a look at this amazing pictorial guide for it. Don't worry about the fact it's on Oblivion nexus - bashed patch features for both games are 99% identical.
You rig is pretty old, but you still want somehow to run ENB and some graphics mods? Don't worry, that's more then possible! Please take into account that "low-end" is pretty wide term, so here I will just put all possible advice and tricks that may help you. You can also refer to this section even if your PC is strong - to get more FPS for different purposes.
YES, YOU REALLY CAN RUN ENB AND SOME GRAPHICS MODS EVEN ON POTATO PC! ARE YOU FIRED UP??
1) Install VERY performance-friendly ENB: Antique Dragon ENB or Caffeine ENB (from the same atuhor) are both fresh and up-to-date presets, but with AMAZING love to your FPS. Still bad FPS? Install Dark and Tender ENB or Darklight ENB Still bad FPS? Install Stakado Cinemascope ENB - yes, it's an ENB from 2012 and it won't look even close to same good as modern presets, but it has all the main features like anitialiasing, bloom, has letterbox and pretty cool cinematic look in overall and it litereally eats ZERO FPS. One of my subcribers (also thanks to you for "advanced" usage tips Slamo) is using this ENB and he has GTX 285. No kidding! A note to advanced users: you actually CAN make it work with the latest ENB biaries for better effects quality and same 0 FPS hit - simply install the latest ENB binaries, but copy ONLY enbseries.ini from Stakado preset. This will allow you to use ENBoost powers with this preset as well (which was made before ENBoost appeared). As an another option, you can install "I Can't Believe It's Not An ENB" sweetFX preset. Still, any ENB, even Stakado, will look better.
2) Open SkyrimPrefs.ini and find iShadowMapResolution= value It's usually set to 4096. Change this value to 2048 or even to 1024. Save the changes, close the .ini file. Changing it to 2048 will make almost zero visual quality loss for shadows, but give you 5-10 FPS boost depending on your PC specs and mod list. Changing it to 1024 will ofc make shadows looks worse, but can sometimes give up to 15-20 FPS. One-click boost!
3) Use Ordenador. Simple as that. Still bad FPS? Just use this amazing tool to optimize textures minmaps and compress all your textures to 1024 or even 512. Yes, 512 is default resolution of most of vanilla textures (some are even 256 and 128 though), but the thing is mod of good retexture mods will still look MUCH better than vanilla textures, even at 512 resolution, because of great detalization and overall quality. You can also read this pretty detailed manual for Ordenador usage.
4) My PC can't afford DynDOLOD and ENB DOF, but I don't want to see these ugly LODs! What can I do? You can! Either use DYNAVISION - Dynamic Depth of Field which gives nice DOF with literally 0 FPS hit OR/AND use so called "Fogrim Skryim Mode", which means installing both Obsidian Mountain Fogs and Fogrim (thanks to Slamophiliac once again) while removing or greatly compressing most of your landscape textures. Fog will cover big part of worldscape, especially in distance - this will hide ugly lods and not-so-good textures in overall, so you will be able to not bother about installing high-res retexture mods for them.
5) Install Snow Disabler. Don't worry it doesn't disable ALL the snow, just the ugly snowdrifts and give some FPS in snowy areas.
6) Use Skyrim Project Optimization Use "No Homes - Full Version" version! Working good and very simple mod. To ensure it will have 0 conflicts with all your other mods, just place it after official DLCs and USLEEP, and make sure all other mods are placed after it in load order. Can give significant FPS boost to weak and midrange rigs in many cities and interiors.
8) Use Paramount - FPS and Fixes Galore New and absolutely amazing mod for low-end rig. It Optimizes texture resolution for dozens common object types in the game and removes various minor, not much needed effects and tiny objects - you most likely won't ever notice that, but have a good performance boost. It also comes with handy FOMOD isntaller, so you can choose all options you want and don't want yourself.
9) Use lighting shaders tweak (taken and tested from this article, big thanks to original author). This tweak actually works and doesn't break anything in your game - you can always delete the values from .INI file without any consequences. It also decreases visual around you a bit, but the the loss is really minimal, while FPS gain can be from 5 to 15 sometimes, making it really worthy. So:
1) Go to your Documents\My Games\Skyrim and backup your Skyrim.ini file (just copy it and place a copy somewhere just in case). 2) Open Skyrim.ini with any text editor. 3) Add the following lines to the end of the file, after all existing settings: [LightingShader] fDecalLODFadeEnd=0.0600 fDecalLODFadeStart=0.0500 fEnvmapLODFadeEnd=0.0 fEnvmapLODFadeStart=0.0 fEyeEnvmapLODEnd=0.0 fRefractionLODFadeEnd=0.0 fRefractionLODFadeStart=0.0 fSpecularLODFadeEnd=0.0 fSpecularLODFadeStart=0.0 4) Save changes by pressing CTRL+S and close the Skyrim.ini. Done :)
10) Find the next settings in Skyrimprefs.ini and change them to these values: fShadowDistance=6000.0000 fGrassMaxStartFadeDistance=6500.0000 fGrassStartFadeDistance=6500.0000
11) Want even more performance gain in cities? Install Street Cleaning ==NEW==
12) Have stutters no matter what even with 100% correct enblocal settings? ==NEW== Implement the ini settings mentioned in this article (4th post from the top) to your SkyrimPrefs.ini file.
13) Lower you ingame resolution. For example, if you have FullHD monitor (1920x1080), set ingame resolution to 1280x720. While ofc playing on lower resolution is not what you may want, but it's not very noticable after you play a bit, but even downscale from 1080p to 720p can give you 10-20 FPS - which you can use to run ENB and/or run DynDOLOD on low settings, and this benefit definitely overlaps the resolution disadvantage.
You have a general vision of how you wanna see your graphics but don't know which basic mods are needed to achieve this look or just don't have time to compare then to make conclusions? Then, this section is what you need! Below you can find several "plug and play" mod lists which list core mods needed to achieve certain look of graphics before going through the guide itself - let's say cinematic, or vibrant and saturared, photorealistic, vintage - so you don't have to worry about testing mods yourself. Just choose the mod list that you like the most, by reading its description - and then simply mimic it in no time. Take into account that total list of graphics mods is huge - in case of graphics modules, these are just a basic list of big/core mods - you still need to go through the guide in general - this is just a recommended mods where there're multiple choices in the guide - but it will make you a great base. And, if you want maximum details, don't forget about "retexture everything possible" section as well.
Important note #1: each of modules assumes you already implemented Stability part of the guide. Make 200% sure you've implemented whole Stability section as it's an essential one, no matter how big mod list you are planning to have. I won't be able to provide any troubleshooting if you didn't make the Stability part. Implement it.
Important note #3: cities/towns/villages overhaul recommendtaions are not included in these modules, as this type of mods is purely a personal choice - but in case you're interested in my personal approach, in the end of modules list there's a standalone module dedicated exactly to this - a core list of settlement mods I'm using.
Important note #4: after you mimic the mod list (any of it), proceed to the DynDOLOD section.
To choose your mod list, look below ↓↓↓
Well-rounded. Golden middle. Great for most of players and most of tastes. Somewhat cinematic, but not too much. With a slight fantasy touch, but still realistic. Not too saturated and not too bleak. Textures improved greatly but still keeping the vanilla look mostly. Well, you got the idea.
Note: both weather mods are optional and situational - they may give not intended look with some ENB presets which aren't directly supporting them. Grim and Somber ENB, for example, is already giving amazing dark fantasy look and so weather mod is simply not needed.
True Storms - Thunder and Rain RedoneLightning during Thunder StormsWonders of WeatherEnhanced Lights and FX
In installer options, get the Enhancer module. Do [NOT] install weather, exteriors and hardcore modules. Choose "no breezehome" and/or other similar options if you're planning to use mods that are changing these vanilla homes. Also get this and this. Lastly, some of ENB presets (like Grim and Somber) look fine with lighting mods, but still, look better with vanilla lighting - so if ENB preset you like doesn't officially support lighting mods, try both with and without ELFX to see which result you like more.
This setup will be a good option in several cases. If it's your first time ever modding the game, for example, and you don't know what you want from the game yet, or want to improve visuals slightly to later see the big difference compared to heavy-modded setup. Or if have basic or decent experience with modding TES games, but still, want to preserve original visual design as much as possible - improving the game look, but not changing the shaders approach, improving the textures without changing them, etc. If that's the case - this setup is for you :)
This is not the full list of settlement-related mod I'm using - but rather a "base" of them. To make a complete list would probably require a standalone guide as there are plenty of actions needed to make in order to make all of them 100% compatible. But for now, I hope you'll find this list useful too. Please note that to install all these mods is quite a fps-heavy thing - this list is oriented on strong gaming rigs.
Skyrim was released in 2011, but thanks to Bethesda open modding tools and amazing modding community we can have it more beautiul then most of the modern games. It's a legendary game and everyone who plays it deserve the best graphics and visuals. I want to say so much thanks to each mod author who put their time and knowledge into Skyrim mods to make it look so awesome. And thank you guys for reading this! Wish you a stable and exciting gameplay in your modded Skyrim. If you want to support my work and future development of Ultimate Modding Guides, consider supporting me on Patreon. I also want to say tonns of thanks once again to SkyrimTuner for his big modlist in Realvision installation guide that I used as a base for my guide back in 2016. Cheers! :)
Huge thanks to each and every patron of mine, existing and past ones, who helped me to keep going and deliver Skyrim Ultimate Modding Guide - without your support, I would never be able to have enough time to compile it <3
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