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Maybe you've gotten sick of textures being really blurry when you smoosh your telescopically enhanced eyeballs against your computer monitor. Maybe you think that there's not enough bloom and god rays for that “cinematic feel” you want. Maybe you think that what a small city out on the open plains really needs is more trees. Maybe Skyrim's women just don't look enough like Barbie Dolls or that one crackwhore you fapped to on Xhamster a week ago. Whatever the case, you want graphics mods! Well we've piled through the piles of alleged 2k textures (which is, honestly, just somebody resizing the existing textures in GIMP and using a sharpen filter), found the least-bad ones, and put them all here for you to peruse, choose, and relentlessly abuse. Most texture mods still work on Special Edition, mesh mods need to be updated, check this guide to see how to update meshes to work with Special Edition. The same program used to update mesh files also has a function that tells you if texture will have any problems.

This is not the BEST guide to having the BEST looking game. This is just a LIST of mods that will make your game look better and not a step by step modding process. The guide can be confusing for beginners because of all of the textures, meshes, and in which order you install them. We recommend you fiddle around with some of these mods first to understand the basics.

Texture Overhauls

These mods are MASSIVE texture packs that hold many refurbished, redone, and even reimagined textures. They can range from the smallest of things like a cup to the largest of landscapes like a castle wall! Here we have listed the best overhauls to start off with. You can customize and switch between textures to find the best looking one's that fit your taste. Don't forget that these are just general texture packs. There are smaller one's that sometimes look better than the overhaul's but don't have a lot included since the packs are only for a specific item or area. This means that these overhauls are mearly bases to cover most of the game's textures while the other smaller mods focus on improving smaller or more random objects such as only ingrediants or even just certain pieces of furniture. If you want the BEST results don't use the official 2k textures by Bethesda.

Cleaned Skyrim SE TexturesCleans up a lot of the compression artifacts from the base game textures helping with performance!
Noble SkyrimMy favorite base texture overhaul that adds a lot more color to the base game textures!
The Omnibus - Terrain Complex Parallax AiOCollection of amazing Parallax textures!
Nordic SnowSnow… Can't get enough snow! This mod makes the snow look like snow. Grab the Parallax patch!
Fixed Mesh LightingFixes the lighting on a bunch of meshes.
Markarth - A Reflective ExperienceFixes a bug with vanilla Markarth meshes
Shadows Of Sunlight - In Small Exterior World SpacesFixes the lighting in certain areas.
Enhanced Blood TexturesTouches up and overhauls the blood textures in the game to be more meaty and better quality
Bellyaches HD Dragon Replacer PackBest dragon textures mod for base game dragons!
Bellyaches Animal and Creature PackMy favorite greacher textures for the base game!
Water Effects Brightness and Reflection Fix Fixes bright water effects at night and neon green reflections
Bright Falling Leaves Fix Fixes bright falling leaves at night
Daedric Shrines - All in OneA collection of statues for every Daedric prince. Absolutely great quality and highly recommended!
Statue of SithisStatue of Sithis by the same person who made all the Daedric prince statues!
Statue of KynarethStatue of Kynareth by the same person who made all the Daedric prince statues!
Statue of MaraStatue of Mara by the same person who made all the Daedric prince statues!
Daedric Shrines - JyggalagStatue of King Jiggywiggy by the same person who made all the Daedric prince statues!
Solitude statue of muse EuterpeReally neat statue mod for Solitude
RUGNAROKRugs for everyone… or rugs for no one… Great overhaul of the rugs in the game!

Nature Overhauls

How your game's scenary looks is key to making the rest of your game. Sure you can have the best looking 8k textured armor, but it will look awful while your character is in an ugly looking forest. It's all about balance so that nothing sticks out too much.

Happy Little TreesMy pick for tree mod but there's a million options out there. I just like this one the best for performance.
EEKs Renthal Flora CollectionGreat textures for the various flora around Skyrim!
Folkvangr - Grass and Landscape OverhaulMy pick for grass mod. There's no real reason why I pick this over other options but that I just like how it looks. Grab this Grass must grow patch for more grass variety too!
Northern Vanilla FarmhousesMesh replacer for the vanilla farmhouse that makes it more in line with the cities of the north town mods!
Cathedral - 3D Dragons TongueReplaces the flower texture for Dragons Tongue!
Cathedral - 3D Snow BerriesNew meshes for snowberries! Grab this patch for more variety using BOS and this patch for new snowberries in various planters and whatnot, and this patch for new textures.
Cathedral - 3D LavenderNew meshes for Lavender.
Periwinkle Poison - Deathbell Replacer New Deathbell Texture. Grab the BOS patch for more variations!
3D mushroomsNew Mushrooms
Diverse FoodsBOS mod adding new food variations to the game!
Diverse Bird's NestsBOS mod for new bird nests
Dovahnique's Diverse Decaying Fungal PodsNew fungal pods!
FYX - Water Mesh OptimizationFixes the water meshes!
Shrubbery Symphony - Enhanced GreeneryAdds a bunch of new foliage models to the shrubs in the game.
Rainbows over WaterfallsAdds rainbows over waterfalls… Yeah kinda weird but I really like this one!
Gildergreen Is Really ThiccAdds a really pretty Gildergreen model.
Splashes of Storms SKSE plugin that adds splashes and ripples when raining
High Quality Ivy ReplacerNew ivy model. You'd be shocked how much you see this one!
Dovahnique's Diverse Deadly NightshadeNew nightshade models and variations!
Simplicity of SeaMy pick for water mod. There are others with their own advantages and disadvantages but this is the one I like!
Cathedral - 3D Tundra CottonNew tundra cotton


Lighting Overhauls

Lighting is a very important part of making anything look good. Here are the two most popular ways to overhauling interior and exterior lighting in Skyrim. If you want the TL;DR use ENB for screenarchery and Community Shaders for gameplay.

(Note: Lightened Skyrim|Increases FPS with no visual difference. Also it works with both these mods.)

ENBCommunity Shaders
ENBSeries is a graphical modification for many games, including Skyrim. It uses a modified d3d11.dll file, implementing new graphical options such as ambient occlusion, indirect lighting, Bokeh depth-of-field, lens effects, better bloom, HDR, tone maping, parallax maping, vignette, sun rays, detailed shadows, film grain, reflections and much more to come in later versions.The settings can be modified and adjusted to your liking. Many people have released their own ENB presets which they use and wish to share.And no, the creator won't tell us what the ENB name actually means. I'm serious, he won't. Don't attempt to figure out what it stands for and just remember what it does; it makes your games look pretty. Go to the official website for more information. ENB is super customizable and has a lot of options to tweak but is also somewhat confusing to set up and can make a huge impact on performance. The mod out of the box is meant to be used with various presets on the nexus. In the past the site has listed the best presets but since I no longer use ENB I can't really say what the best preset is anymore. I used PiCho for a long time. Cabbage is another popular one. Seriously research and watch videos on the subject if you want to go in depth. And please keep in mind the massive impact weather mods have on ENB and lighting in Skyrim overall!Community Shaders is an Open Source alternative to ENB with a slowly growing user base. The various features all have their separate mod pages and new ones get released frequently. The mod is also way easier on performance and has a plugin that can make use of upscalers for even more performance The biggest drawback is the lack of features when compared to ENB (this gap is shrinking) and a lack of easily installed presets. This is my personal pick on the debate but a person who is more interested in screenarchery probably wants to stick to ENB at least for now!

In the past a lighting overhaul was needed to fix how the game looked but modern advancements in ENB and CS have made the concept mostly placebo. That being said the popular ones are ELFX and Lux so give those a look if you don't believe me.

Clutter and Creatures

Because everyone knows that every piece of random junk in this game needs to look like a masterpiece!

Meridia's Luxon Beacon Replacer Replaces Meridia's beacon with a Luxon Beacon from Wildemount / Critical Role!
Unique Red Wave Uses Base Object Swapper to change the Red Wave to have its own design, rather than just being a copy of the Dainty Sload.
Security Overhaul SKSE - Regional Locks Regional variant lock models for Security Overhaul SKSE - Lock Variations
Fluffworks (Fluffy Animals) Enhanced fur on animals using shell texturing.
Security Overhaul SKSE - Lock Variations SKSE based framework for replacing overused lock model with unique lock variants.
Bears of the North Visual overhaul of the bears of Skyrim. Bigger, badder bears fit for the harsh northern lands they roam.
Aurbic Alduin Fear the World-Eater
Fancy Sleeping Tree Replacer A replacer for the Sleeping Tree with adjusted colors, a unique model and an animated light-up effect.
Security Overhaul SKSE - Lock Add-ons Additional variant lock models for Security Overhaul SKSE - Lock Variations
Sconces of Skyrim - Markarth Braziers Improved Fixes ugly Markarth braziers
Solitude Objects SMIMed - festival ropes Higher polygon versions of festival ropes
Security Overhaul SKSE - Some More Locks Adds some more individual locks to the game.
Unique Stros M'Kai RumNew unique model and texture for the Stros M'Kai Rum.
Forgotten Retex ProjectBig retexture of random cutter
High Poly ProjectNew models for a ton of things!
Skeleton ReplacerI've got a bone to pick with you!
A Battlespire Inspired Ideal Master ReplacerBattlespire lore brought into Skyrim!
Dovahnique's Diverse Vendor Carts New cart variations!
Immersive Vampire ClutterUses Dawnguard clutter to expand on base game vampire locations!
Alchemy Station VariantsNew alchemy stations!
Praedy's Soul CairnNew Soul Cairn textures to make the realm of lost souls look sweet!
Bruma Clutter for Skyrim ImperialsUses Beyond Skyrim to add clutter to Imperial locations!
Man-Eater GiantsMakes giants skewer the bodies of people! Kinda gross and not for people who like friendly giants!
Falmer OverhaulSnelf meshes and textures!
Iconic's Spriggan RetextureNew Spriggan textures
Folded Rag DiversificationWhy not!
Festival Flag VarietySure, festival flags!
My Road Signs are BeautifulOther roadsign mods exist I just use this one.
Unique Markarth DoorsNew doors for Markarth
Unique Festival RopesEven the ropes get unique meshes!
Festival Flags of SkyrimNeat
Jankevdv's 2K Archery TargetsLooks nice I guess
Archery Target Retexture 2k and 4k addedMore targets
Rudy HQ - Miscellaneous SEBig clutter overhaul used in a lot of BOS mods.
Embers XDFor some reason a lot of mods require this one. It looks nice at least.
Diverse CandlesDiverse Candles
Diverse Catches Diverse Catches
Diverse CampfiresDiverse Campfires
Diverse Farm FencesDiverse Farm Fences
Diverse and Lootable FirewoodDiverse and Lootable Firewood
Diverse Archery TargetsDiverse Archery Targets. Requires both previous archery target mods.
Diverse Dark Elf LanternsDiverse Dark Elf Lanterns
WeldingMans Enchanting Table VariantsNew enchanting tables!
Chaurus Eggs Animated and MotionGross
Thrones of SkyrimDid you know the thrones in Skyrim had their own unique models? Now you can actually tell that's the case!
JohnskyrimThis guy makes amazing retextures and meshes. Also has some armor and weapons. A veteran of many fields you should just check out his mods and download everything that peaks your interest!

Atmosphere and Magic

What do these two things have in common? Nothing really, I just didn't know where to put them.

Strange RunesAdds Doctor Strange runs to hands when someone is casting a spell. Absolutely goofy but one of my favorite mods!
Iconic's Remastered Ash Piles Of SkyrimReplaces the textures for dust piles
ETHEREAL COSMOS - Special EditionEssential mod that changes the night sky into something else with new galaxies and stars.
ETHEREAL CLOUDS - Special EditionNew textures for clouds
Arri's Snow Elf Ruins RetextureNew Snelf textures
Sigils of SkyrimNew banner and shield textures!
ElSopa - Potions RedoneNew potion models!
Night MotherNew night mother model.

Caves and Terrain

And rocks I guess. I couldn't fit the rest in the title.

Simplicity of Snow A light-weight snow mod designed to minimize conflicts. Uses your own snow texture and removes snow from under roofs
Gravunlom - a HD Riften Texture OverhaulNew textures for Riften
My Walls of Kings are BeautifulNew textures for the Wall of Kings

Skyrim Guide Index

graphics.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/24 00:45 by lain