The Best Skyrim GRAPHICS Mods - 2017

By: Fevir • Skyrim

What's good. It's Fevir. Today I'm going to bring to you a list of the best.. or rather my favourite graphics mods for Skyrim.. for the Special Edition.. updated for 2017. The thing to keep in mind about graphics is that they are entirely subjective and with so many high quality options to choose from.. you may prefer something different.

It's also important to know that the most powerful way to effect the appearance of your game is with the use of powerful ENBs and correctly lightning. These do most of the heavy lifting and frankly outshadow most other changes you can make. If you ever are comparing your game to someone elses or a really great screenshot.. the answer to how do I make my game look like that.. 90% of the time.

Is the ENB and lighting. That said- let's kick off this list with some texture mods.. I'll try to mention the type of graphics we're changing to make it more easy to substitute other mods in and out. So let's start off with my choice for an overall texture replacement. Realistic Skyrim Overhaul.

This mod has a bit of a quirk behind it as it's not available through steam or the nexus- I will put a link in the description and it has been updated for the special edition. This is a full texture replacer- but I end up using multiple... for Realistic Skyrim Overhaul I really value more of the landscape textures.

The Best Skyrim GRAPHICS Mods - 2017

So dirt, cave walls, bricks, roads.. that type of stuff. I find that this mod doesn't stays away from changing things up too much and focusing more on trying to make things look.

more realistic. This tends to lend itself to screenshotting and screen archery very well because of this. I then layer over.. NobleSkyrim. This is another overall texture replacement mod- but I only use the architecture type stuff. Buildings, roofs, pillars, doors.. etc.

Unlike Realistic Skyrim Overhaul- this mod does have it's own style.. it does change the appearance of the buildings.. in a way that I really like. If you don't want to muck around with overwriting and selectively choosing groups of textures- I'd recommend Noble over Realistic Skyrim. Then I add Enhanced Textures Detail. This mod is strange.

I don't know exactly how it works.. it says it alters the UV or the meshes of textures.. to make them look better up close. Somehow it's compatible with anything and gives you the appearance of a higher resolution texture without performance loss. It's something you can tend to just stick in any load order. On top of these I do tend to add a few more specific.

individual graphics mods. Realistic Water Two.. to change up the water. The default version looks incredible.. but I've found myself using the water color preset.. which gives it this very fantasy-esque feel. You can't go wrong with any of the big water mods though. I use Nordic Snow.

to replace the snow. I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend such a small scoped mod but a good portion of the map is snow.. and in the past I've tended to use winter overhaul mods.. to make the entire map snow.. so I really value a high quality snow texture.. and when I don't have this.. stuff just kind of looks off. It also tends to play nice with most ENBs.. which if you've experienced blinding snow.

you know my pain. Kind of in the same vein here.. there is an author Skysan and he has a huge suite of mods that give ice and glass and gems and bottles a type of transparency and refraction effect that I love. It's only coming up now because it also works on the types of icicles that can form.

and I think it's most impressive application is with Frost Atronachs.. I love it. Moving away from ice and snow... let's talk about flora. About green stuff. I think the most commonly recommended are Verdant and Skyrim Flora Overhaul. Which both work well with each other.

If I'm to be honest with you.. I tend to find the combination of these mods very overpowering of the setting of Skyrim. They don't look bad at all.. but they feel more transformatative.. almost in the same way a winter overhaul is. So I do recommend them.. but the mods I tend to use.. are Simply Bigger Trees.

which is compatible with the last two mods and makes trees meatier- it has an incredible atmospheric effect without changing the ton.. and to pair with that I use unique grasses and groundcovers.. which adds more variation and quality to the grass in a more subtle way. That's it for the more background type stuff. Looking to the foreground.

looking to the small stuff.. the clutter. I use 3 different mods. SMIM, Ruins Clutter Improves and Forgotten Items Retex Project. These 3 mods take a large amount of the clutter items that you don't notice or think about like barrels or forks or irons or ladder or what have you and bump them up in appearance. Whether this means a change in it's texture or it's mesh... they really act to remove the moments when something looks so bad that you notice it.

As with clutter.. a great clutter mod should make sure you don't notice that fork or iron.. as they simply fit in with everything else.

There are countless other mods that retexture single items like gold coins.. or a specific gem type or a tomato and.. sure, these can be good too.

They just are outside of the scope of this video.. these 3 will get you started and unless you are incredibly observant you shouldn't need much more. On to NPCs- speaking for humanoids.. I stick with WSCO- Windsong Skyrim Character Overhaul. This updates and improves the textures and appearance of every NPC in the game, including yourself, by improving the assets use but also messing around with face presets and the like. I prefer this mod to other NPC overhauls because it doesn't make all the character look like covergirls and tends to just give a much needed facelift to the look of everyone. It's also incredibly simple to use and install with it only being 1 mod... that said I do support it with one secondary mod.

Superior Lore Friendly Hair. This works as a replacer and just replacers the default hair styles with higher quality versions- this again effects everyone in the game. On to the non-human NPCs- so monsters and creatures.

This is where I can tend to get a bit lazy. I just use the aMidian Book of Silence- creature module. This gives a nice bump in appearance without a huge performance cost.

I tend to value FPS over appearance.. especially in combat so I am purposely conservative here. That said- I pick and choose textures from the mod author Kajuans, collection which are straight up 4k retextures of the monsters of the same name for enemies I know I won't encounter in large groups.. like say, the Mammoth.

Now we move into weapons and armor- this can get somewhat tricky.. as with both of these things it seems as if it's more common to look for good quality options or additions than to alter what's already there.. especially in the case of armor. What I mean is that if I found a nice say.. Black and Gold glass armor replacer.. I would probably look for a standalone and either add it to the leveled lists or craft it to add variation.. so when it comes to improvements the mentality is slighty different. With that in mind I use the aMidian Book of Silence for both weapons and armor as a base- which bumps up the appearance of everything very easily.

For weapons I also apply Better Weapon Retextures which has a partial selection of incredibly detailed and high quality textures for certain weapons... and then I use Leanwolf's Better Weapons which acts to not mess with textures.. but the shapes of weapons. I find most of the Skyrim swords to be incredibly broad.

and this takes care of similar issues like that by making weapon just look better.. and because it doesn't touch textures it's compatible with most things. For armor.. I tend to just stick with aMidian and add additional options.

This is a touch place to recommend mods because different people will use different body replacers- such as UNP or CBBE and so what's available for me- may not be for you. Now we're going to look at the mods that have the largest impact. The systems.. weather, lighting and ENBs. For weather.. I need to recommend Vivid Weather Special Edition. The mod works to add over 500 custom types of whether- wether that be snowstorms or thick fog.. light rain.

distance fog.. and many visual updates that range from altering the night sky... or clouds.. or the way it look when the sun sets. It's just an incredible mod that touches so much tied to giving the game atmosphere and if you were looking to mimic the effects of this mod with individual mods.

would probably be close to 10. Huge impact. For the lighting system I got with Enhanced Lighting for ENB. This mod doesn't require an ENB like the title makes it seem.. and while I can't really tell you why I personally prefer this lightning system to others.. I just do. Again- it's subjective.

I find that it just gives a nice balance between realism and playability and it also plays very nicely with Vivid Weather. Do not underestimate how important lighting systems can truly be. And finally... an ENB. ENBs are tough to recommend because there are so many different profiles.. then you can tweak them.. then your hardware comes into play as ENBs tend to be capped by how powerful your computer is.. so then you're left making decisions over if you want higher FPS or better quality..

and even with similar systems sometimes one ENB may run differently for you.. you really need to just dive in and try some for yourself.. I will say that I use RudyENB. It's a great looking ENB that doesn't try to really alter the tone of Skyrim.. it's not trying to be cinematic.. or too warm or gloomy.

It really feels as if it's just Skyrim- improved. It's mid range in terms of power and performance and is incredibly well supported.. which is important to me as I want to be able to play at 60FPS all the time. I want to reiterate just how important ENBs are.

A game with 4k textures and no ENB is probably going to look worse than a game with 1k texture and an ENB. This is the real workhorse.. if you want to create a game that looks just right to you.. you'll need to test a bunch- you can also look into SweetFX or Reshade profile which do a similar, albeit, less powerful type of effect.

So that's going to go ahead and do it for me. Until next time- this is Fevir. Peace.

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