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.
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.
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.
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.
Install your preset
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.