Even though Skyrim is a great game, these artistic mods take it to a whole new level. Here are some mods for gamers who want the world to be a work of art.
Skyrim modding is one of the best things in life, as long as you can handle the learning curve and the game crashing every once in a while… or three times. Some mod categories improve the game in small ways, like adding a few lances that fit with the story. Some things are harder to miss, like rainbow-colored dragons and happy-go-lucky new friends.
But graphics mods are the only player-made changes that can be seen right away. Even though Skyrim’s old, creaky graphics were charming in their own way, they are clearly out of date. Read on if you want to make the hardest part of Tamriel more beautiful. There are a lot of great projects out there, but these are some of the best.
Noble Skyrim Mod HD-2K
There are many great mods that change Skyrim’s default textures with ones that look better, making the game look as good as it can. After all, the more time goes by, the more you might expect from good pictures. This mod by Shutt3r changes the textures of all the big and many of the small things you’ll see as you play, making it look like you’re really in Tamriel.
But one thing that makes this mod better than others like it is that it has two versions: one that improves graphics as much as possible and one that takes speed into account while still improving graphics. So, even if your PC isn’t super tuned, you can still get some nice-looking things in your game.
Rally’s All The Things
Rallyeator has made a lot of image replacement mods for Skyrim, including ones for lava, tombs, and even the smallest ants. They care about the small features of the game and do a great job of making them look good. But going through every mod they’ve made would take a long time and be a bit of a bother.
They were kind enough to make Rally’s All The Things, where you can find and download many of their Skyrim texture mods in one place. It gives you 37 mods to use, and they will all make your game look better. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you have a good eye for details.
SMIM (Static Mesh Improvement Mod)
Many people think that SMIM by Brumbek is one of the most complete graphics mods for Skyrim. Not only does it fix a lot of Skyrim’s graphics and models, but it also gives players several ways to change the look of everything from chains and fences to tables and chairs.
Because SMIM is such an important graphics mod, many other mods have compatibility fixes so they can work with it without any problems. Installing SMIM as one of your first graphics mods is suggested before installing other mods.
The Skyrim 202X texture pack by Pfuscher is one of the biggest ones you can find on Nexus right now. It changes more than 2,000 of the game’s graphics and tries in a big way to bring the 2011 game up to date.
It’s a pretty big job, and you’ll need a good few hours to download the whole mod, which has more than 15 gigabytes of beautiful images. Even so, it will be worth it when you’re going through the best version of Skyrim you can get.
Strange road and bridge graphics are something you may have seen as you traveled through Skyrim. There may be some pop-in or even strange cutting if the textures aren’t in the right place.
Blended Roads by T4GTR43UM3R tries to solve this problem by mapping roads to the world’s mesh instead of keeping them as textures. This mod also has image replacements for bridges that can be used if you want them to look more natural and pretty. It’s simple, but it works, and the modder has given you permission to make your own graphics from it, so go nuts if that’s your thing.
Vivid Landscapes – All In One
Vivid Landscapes AIO by Hein84 is a big change to the indoor and outdoor textures and models of Skyrim. It adds top-notch textures and parallax meshes to make mountains, cliffs, caves, ruins, and more look better.
The mod makes it so you don’t have to hunt down a bag full of scene mods to make your own piece of Skyrim look nice. Instead, it gives you a makeover right out of the box that doesn’t require any extra work. As with SMIM, you should use Vivid Landscapes as one of your base graphics mods before you add other mods on top of it.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
With the right graphics mods, Skyrim can have a level of reality that really pulls you in. For the best pull possible, you’ll need some nice-looking plants. SFO by vurt has been one of the most famous mods for the game’s environment for a long time. It changes the way trees, flowers, and tundra look to make a setting where you’ll want to get lost.
It’s one of the smaller image mods, and you’ll see the difference right away. Add a nice Reshade or ENB setting on top, and you can make your game look like a movie.
Tamriel Reloaded HD
Tamriel Reloaded HD by 32cm is another great work by the Skyrim community. It is a basic mod that can improve a lot of the game. It’s an updated version of a related mod, so even if you already have the old one, make sure to install this new, better one.
It changes a lot of the outside world, like the cliffs, the scenery, the textures of the cities, and the roads, so that they look better and are up to 4K quality. Updates have made homes and dungeons more diverse, which can be a welcome sight after you’ve played the game for, say, 500 hours.
Realistic Water Two
The water in Skyrim isn’t very good, which is why Realistic Water Two by isoku is seen as such an important mod. It makes the water look better in lakes, ponds, and inner cells, but it also changes how waterfalls, rivers flow, sound effects, icebergs, and rowboats move.
It’s one of those mods you wouldn’t notice until you took it out of your load order, which is why Realistic Water Two needs to be there from the beginning.
Forgotten Retex Project
This mod by JDAnchor changes some of the game’s less important items and makes them better when used with other mods on this list. Baskets, tools, books, torches, food, and a lot of other things get makeovers that go way beyond plain textures and models.
This really helps you feel like you’re a part of the game, like you’re there. If you don’t want to find mods for everything in the game, FRP isn’t just a good solution—it’s the best option.
Ruins Clutter Improved
Every dungeon explorer needs Ruins Clutter Improved by raiserfx. It changes a lot of backgrounds and models in a big way. This mod makes everything look better, from small things like lights, levers, and pots to bigger things like walls, doors, and chairs.
Even the texture upgrades for the extra packs are included, if you have them. When you put it next to the normal game, you can see how different it is. This mod does a lot to make one of the most important parts of Skyrim better.
Enhanced Lights And FX
This famous mod by anamorfus is all about using volumetric lights, smoke, and contrast to make lighting that gives a sense of place. Some effects are small and others are big, but they all work together to make Drive Mad feel more real as you play. It also evens out areas that are too bright and makes the lighting and colors look more natural.
But be careful, because it can cause problems when used with some other changes. Make sure to read the mod page’s directions to avoid problems.
Any Kajuan Mod
This might be cheating since it’s not just one mod, but breaking the rule is worth it. Kajuan, the creator of a lot of great character mods, has made a lot of changes to everything from Sabrecats and Mammoths to Falmer and Hagravens. After all, it wouldn’t be as fun to play if you ran into bad animals and beings.
Visit Kajuan’s user page on Nexus Mods, look around as much as you want, and download as many as you dare. Some of these changes have made the kind of scary fire that Skyrim has always wanted to make.
JK’s Skyrim, made by Jkrojmal and Teabag86, is a collection of several big mods that completely change the look and feel of Skyrim’s towns and cities. New things, like gates, carts, buckets, and storehouses, have been put in key spots in each town and city to give them more depth and make them feel more real.
The major settlements in Skyrim are some of the most important parts of the game. This mod adds a new layer to the places that are meant to be full of life.
Some players will always be glad that the evenings in Bethesda’s open-world RPGs are a little brighter than they should be in fantasy worlds and post-apocalyptic wastelands. In these games, it can get pretty scary at night, and Skyrim is no different. Having a clear way in front of you at all times can be helpful.
If you’re not one of those players, Darker Nights by unforbidable is a must-have graphics mod that will give you a wonderful sense of immersion in the night that the standard graphics can’t quite do. But what if you don’t like the pitch-black, cold plains? Don’t worry, Darker Nights has seven brightness choices that range from very dim to very bright. Change as much as you want.
Dynamic Volumetric Lighting And Shadows
“Dynamic Volumetric Lighting and Shadows” sounds like something a shady used car dealer might say to get you to spend more money than you need to. But don’t worry, it’s good to have a wider range of lighting, and pretty shadows are like rich eye candy that you can’t get outside unless you’re camping in a full-fledged nature park.
Without this change by LonelyKitsune, shadows and diffuse lighting only happen between 10am and 4pm in-game time. This stuff can give the Nords’ home a grandeur that can’t be found anywhere else, so it’s too bad that it’s just a side job on a new file.