Module I – Lighting and Colours

Module I - Lighting and Colours

Module I guides you through the process of choosing the perfect combination of a weather and lighting overhaul plus companion mods and post-processing injector (ENBSeries, ReShade Framework or SweetFX). Please read the instructions carefully.

Your choice of weather and lighting mods has a huge impact on Skyrim's visuals at a relatively low performance cost - at least so long as you avoid ENBSeries. Because of that, I would recommend you install and test different combinations before settling for one. Everyone has their own favorite.

Weather

These types of mods have the advantage of being able to make a large impact on your game's visuals without tanking your performance. Low-end PCs, which typically cannot run ENB presets while retaining a playable framerate, can still run a weather overhaul to pretty up the game. Performance drops may still occur with very high particle settings or if the weather overhaul comes with high resolution textures that overwhelm a GPU with little VRAM.

The second advantage of weather overhaul mods is compatibility. While major overhauls are obviously not meant to be used alongside each other, weather mods rarely ever conflict with other types of mods. Some major overhauls only edit existing weathers without adding new ones which makes them directly compatible with any new landmass mod that also utilizes vanilla weathers. Other weather overhauls add their own weather or completely replaces the vanilla ones.


  • Choose one of the options below and return to this page here once you have your weather mod(s) all set up.
Option A - vanilla weathers with some small optional mods

Performance


Included mods:

  • True Storms
  • Wonders of Weather
  • Obsidian Mountain Fogs
  • Moon Glow

Option B - based on Obsidian Weathers

Performance


Included mods:

  • Obsidian Weathers
  • Obsidian Weathers and Seasons MCM Patch
  • True Storms
  • Wonders of Weather
  • Moon Glow

Option C - based on Vivid Weathers

Performance


Included mods:

  • Vivid Weathers – Definitive Edition
  • Wonders of Weather
  • Obsidian Mountain Fogs
  • Moon Glow

Option D - based on Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel

Performance


Included mods:

  • Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel
  • Wonders of Weather
  • Obsidian Mountain Fogs
  • Moon Glow

Option E - based on Aequinoctium Weathers

Performance


Included mods:

  • Aequinoctium Weathers
  • Wonders of Weather
  • Obsidian Mountain Fogs
  • Moon Glow

Lighting

Lighting overhauls are similar to weather mods in that they have a large impact visually at a relatively low performance cost. These mods overhaul interiors and - since that requires them to touch every cell individually - compatibility is a much bigger concern here. While weather mods rarely conflict with anything, lighting mods often require a ton of patches. Placing a lighting overhaul on top of your load order obviously causes it to be overwritten by all following mods, meaning the edited cell lighting would not show up ingame. These are not critical conflicts, but should be patched nonetheless.


  • Choose one of the options below and return to this page here once you have your lighting mod(s) all set up.
Option 1 - based on Enhanced Lights and FX (ELFX)

As the lighting overhaul that probably deviates the farthest from vanilla, ELFX emphasizes fantasy-like yet realistic visuals by fixing the vanilla lighting (removing lights without sources, adding lights to windows, candles, etc) and adding new features: for example the difference between night and day in interiors will be much more noticeable. ELFX also edits the colour tint to be unique to certain regions.


Performance


Included mods:

  • Enhanced Lights and FX
  • Unofficial ELFX SMIM Performance Patch
  • ELFX Fake Door Light Remover
  • Cutting Room Floor – Lighting Overhaul

Option 2 - based on Enhanced Lighting for ENB (ELE)

Contrary to what the mod’s name suggests, you do not need an ENB to run Enhanced Lighting for ENB. It includes all the fix-type features of ELFX – adding / editing light sources and removing lights without sources. ELE also changes the interior lighting based on the time of day and adds convenience features for ENBSeries. Overall the change in tone and lighting is not as intense as with ELFX.


Performance


Included mods:

  • Enhanced Lighting for ENB
  • Cutting Room Floor – Lighting Overhaul

Option 3 - based on Luminosity

A new and extremely light-weight / compatible lighting overhaul based on ELFX’s colour scheme but with no additional light sources added.


Performance


Included mods:

  • Luminosity – Lightweight Lighting
  • Cutting Room Floor – Lighting Overhaul

Post-processing injector

Simply put, post-processing injectors add visual effects to your game as you play. While ReShade was made to work for a variety of games, it is limited to less advanced effects but also comes with only a small performance impact (or none at all). ENBSeries however was made specifically for Skyrim and it goes a step further, hooking up to the game's engine to be able to affect water, skin, weathers, and so on. This costs significantly more performance, but results in much more refined and complex visual effects.

There is also SweetFX (the predecessor of ReShade) which has much less of a performance impact but also offers only small visual improvements. Only people with true low-end PCs should consider running SweetFX instead of a light ReShade. It is included here as an option for those with laptops or computers that barely hold a steady framerate in vanilla Skyrim.

All post-processing injector files must be placed manually into your root folder.

Choose a preset

Now take a look at the presets below. Installation instructions follow in the next step. You can - should! - install several presets and switch between until you found your personal favorite.

Regarding performance: We already established that ENBSeries is much more performance-hungry than ReShade. Most ENB presets also come with three different performance presets that you can switch between and on top of that you can edit or toggle any features on or off individually in your enbseries.ini or ingame through the ENB GUI.


  • Choose one or several preset(s) from the list below and download it / them.
Obsidian Weathers
Vivid Weathers
Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel

Aequinoctium Weathers

Install your preset

Installation instructions - ENB presets

ENBSeries is basically made up of three ‘core’ files:

d3d11.dll
d3dcompiler_46e.dll
enblocal.ini

ENBSERIES

  • First, figure out for which version of ENBSeries your chosen ENB preset was made. This is usually indicated on the mod page – if not, just use the latest version.
  • Download the ENBSeries binaries here.
  • Move the three core files – listed above – into your root folder.
    • The enblocal.ini is by default configured the way we want it (fixes on, VSYNC / FPS lock off). You only need to edit it if you want to change the key combinations for the ingame hotkeys.

PRESET

  • Download your chosen preset manually from the mod page and open the archive.
  • Find the following two files and drag them into your root folder as well:
    • enbseries <— this folder includes all customized shaders
    • enbseries.ini

To uninstall the preset, simply delete enbseries.ini and the enbseries folder from your root folder.

To uninstall the ENBSeries binaries, delete d3d11.dll, d3dcompiler_46e.dll and enblocal.ini.

Installation instructions - ENB + ReShade presets

ENBSeries is basically made up of three ‘core’ files:

d3d11.dll
d3dcompiler_46e.dll
enblocal.ini

ENBSERIES BINARIES

  • First, figure out for which version of ENBSeries your chosen ENB preset was made. This is usually indicated on the mod page – if not, just use the latest version.
  • Download the ENBSeries binaries here.
  • Move the three core files – listed above – into your root folder.
    • The enblocal.ini is by default configured the way we want it (fixes on, VSYNC / FPS lock off). You only need to edit it if you want to change the key combinations for the ingame hotkeys.

RESHADE

  • Download the latest version of ReShade here.
  • Run the setup, click Select game and navigate to your Skyrim root folder.
  • Double-click SkyrimSE.exe.
  • Direct3D 10+ will be selected automatically – click it to confirm.
  • When asked to download standard shaders, click YES.
  • Make sure all effect files are checked, then click OK.
  • Close the ReShade setup.

PRESET

  • Download your chosen preset manually from the mod page and open the archive.
  • Find the folder containing the enblocal.ini etc and move all files into your root folder. Overwrite when prompted.
    • Please note that some presets already contain dxgi.dll and / or the shaders folder.

To uninstall the preset, delete all related files from your root folder – which files those are depends on your chosen preset.

To uninstall the ENBSeries binaries, delete d3d11.dll, d3dcompiler_46e.dll and enblocal.ini.

To uninstall ReShade, delete dxgi.dll, ReShade.ini and the reshade-shaders folder.

Installation instructions - ReShade presets

RESHADE

  • Download the latest version of ReShade here.
  • Run the setup, click Select game and navigate to your Skyrim root folder.
  • Double-click SkyrimSE.exe.
  • Direct3D 10+ will be selected automatically – click it to confirm.
  • When asked to download standard shaders, click YES.
  • Make sure all effect files are checked, then click OK.
  • Close the ReShade setup.

PRESET

  • Download your chosen preset manually from the mod page and open the archive.
  • Move all files from the installation folder (probably contains one or more folders plus.ini files and is called INSTALL or similar) into your root folder. Overwrite when prompted.
    • Please note that some presets already contain dxgi.dll and / or the shaders folder.

To uninstall the preset, delete all related files from your root folder – which files those are depends on your chosen preset.

To uninstall ReShade, delete dxgi.dll, ReShade.ini and the reshade-shaders folder.

Installation instructions - SweetFX presets

SWEET FX

  • Download ReShade 1.1.0 with SweetFX 2.0.
  • Extract the downloaded archive somewhere and rename ReShade64.dll to dxgi.dll.
  • Move the following files into your root folder:
    • SweetFX <— folder with shaders
    • dxgi.dll
    • ReShade.fx
    • Sweet.fx

PRESET

  • Download your chosen preset manually and open the archive.
  • There should be an INI file which you need to rename to SweetFX_settings.txt if it’s not called that already.
  • Move it into your root folder.

To uninstall the preset, simply delete SweetFX_settings.txt from your root folder.

To install SweetFX , delete dxgi.dll, ReShade.fx, Sweet.fx and the SweetFX folder from your root folder.

Final Steps

Now is a good time to jump ingame and check out your visuals. Switch between different lighting/weather overhauls and use them with a compatible preset until you find the combination that you like best. Take your time here! You can easily change your weather mod / preset later on but not your lighting overhaul as it will likely need a large amount of patches.