The Overclock.net Guide To Modifying TESV: Skyrim
A lot of people post here and ask how some of us get our TESV: Skyrim screenshots looking so good, what mods we use, what performance is like, etc. So I thought I'd take a little time to go over some of the stuff I use personally as well as share a couple of tricks and tweaks that I have picked up, and use, along the way to optimize TEV: Skyrim to make it look, and run, good on mid range hardware.
Please bare in mind that my methods are not the definitive way, neither should they be taken as such. I am simply sharing my efforts with you to assist you in getting your game looking good and running good to go along with the increased visual quality.
As always a great source of reliable mod information can be found at STEP.
I always recommend installing mods manually, whether you're a beginner or experienced. It may be long and tiring, and some may not have the patience for it, but you will learn what makes up a mod, the structure of your directory and what files make up a mod, which will become invaluable information in the future if you want to get into modifying Skyrim more heavily.
However if you struggle with manual installation then you can use Nexus Mod Manager downloadable from Skyrim Nexus. Then just go to the mod in question and click "download with manager". Once the Mod Manager has downloaded the mod you wish to install then you simply double click the mod to install it and follow any on screen instructions that pop up.
Personal Mod Lists
Below is my personal revised mod list, in general order of installation. Links have been added for ease of grabbing a mod. Some texture mods may lead to NSFW content, such as in-game gore (blood mods) and nudity (body mods). I am not responsible for any offense taken for pointing to such mods. Such mods are listed as NSFW so that they can be avoided.
I'm not an uber lore freak, but my mod list is fairly lore friendly (for the most part).
* Denotes recommended core mods to install. All others are optional.
Lifeshield's Skyrim Mod List (Click to show)
Better Rocks and Mountains - UV Tweak*
Real Ice (Classic Parralax - Less Bright)*
Enhanced Night Sky* (Blue Galaxy - High Stars)
Moon Size Tweaks* (x0.5)
Project Parallax Remastered* (Only overwrite Skyrim HD & SMIM)
[NPC's + Animals]
DIMONIZED - UNP* NSFW
Coverwomen* (Look 3 for UNP)
Better Males (Face & Body)* NSFW
Better Makeup for SKSE - High res Female Lips & High res Tint Masks*
Realistic Teeth *Download patch for EEO as well
Realistic Teeth EEO Patch*
Pretty Combat Idles (Do not install magic idle!)
New Animation for Magic Casting (Requires FNIS)
Castanistic or Highelf style Idle Replacer (Phnx Style Dual Wield Idle only)
Zweihander (Male, only install 2hand idle)
Deadly Serious Shrouded Armour + Hood*
Perfect Legionnaire plus Gladius & Shield*
Tribunal Armour & Hood + Patch
Enhanced Blood Texture* NSFW
Lockpicking Interface Retex - Anti Leather*
Race Menu* Also install DisableFaceGenCache*
Enhanced Third Person Camera (Recommended to push the character to the side of the crosshair if you use Tilt Shift Depth of Field)
Unreal Cinema Also install recommended Data File
Below you can find Skyrim Mod Lists submitted by other members of OCN.
ChaotiKPranXter's Skyrim Mod List (Click to show)
World (Click to show)
HD 2k Textures - Nebula
High Res DLC - Bethesda
High Res Dragon Retext
HD Fire Effects - Buzzdee84
Ruins Clutter Improvement - Raiserfx
Realistic Mushrooms - Mystery Modder
HD Torture Rack - Mystery Modder
HD Tanning Rack - Mystery Modder
Training Dummies - Mystery Modder
Project Parallax - Osmodius
Moss Rocks - SparrowPrince
W.A.T.E.R. - SparrowPrince/OpticShooter
Enhanced Distant Terrain - SparrowPrince
Skyrim Distance Overhaul - Grieche
Better Dynamic Snow - SparrowPrince/Brumbek
Icebreakers Improved Reverb - Icebreaker
That's Ice (Included in W.A.T.E.R.) - SparrowPrince
S.M.I.M. - Brumbek
Shooting Stars - Isoku
Skyrim Flora Overhaul - Vurt
Footprints - Jonwd7
Wet And Cold - Isoku
Enhanced Hotpools - Jakhajay
Lush Grass and Trees - SparrowPrince
Waves - Prometheus
Better Smoke & Embers - Isoku
Lanterns of Skyrim:
Villages - MannyGT
Bridges - MannyGT
Around Cities - MannyGT
Alternative City Access
Towns & Villages Enhanced:
Markarth Plus - Harleyvitality Haxrus
Whiterun - Aplestormy
Riften - Aplestormy
Solitude - Aplestormy
Windhelm - Aplestormy
Villages - Aplestormy
Alternative City Access
101 Bugs_HD - 83 Willows
Birds of Skyrim
Wolf Retexture 4 (Variants)
Real Animals: Domesticated
Sporty Sexy Sweat - Xs2reality
Coverwomen w/ Cover Khajit
Xenius High Res Warpaint & Tintmasks w/ Beast races
Higher Level Enemies
Race Menu Cache
Guard Dialogue Overhaul
Leveling Merchant Wallets
Horns Are Forever (Shows Horns through Head Gear)
Gender Race Heights V2 (DLC Compatible)
Argonian Raptor Claws
Follower Level Mod
Wearable Lanterns - Chesko
Dragon Souls to Perks
Equippable Map (Crafted)
Bandoliers and Pouches
Frostfall - Chesko
Flexible Perk Trees
Merged Thievery Skill
Realistic Needs and Diseases
Random Alternate Start
Moonpath (w/High Res Textures plus followers)
HD Textures for Vanilla & DLC
High Res Circlets
aMidianborn Book of Silence
Black Sacrament Armor
Evil Mastermind Armor
Medusa & Drakul Armors
Heavy Armory (DLC Compatible)
Light Elven Armor (New cloth/Leather)
Greaves for UNP
Sorceress Robes UNP
Magic Duel Reborn
Realistic Ragdolls and Force
Deadly Dragons - 3Jlou
Unreal Cinema - Unreal Warfare
RealVision - SkyrimTuner
Matso's ENB - Matso
RCRN 3.6 - aLaaa
CoT - Project Reality
Enhanced Lighting & Effects - Anamorfus
Unofficial Skyrim Patch - Patch Project Team
Unofficial Dawnguard Patch - Patch Project Team
Unofficial Hearthfire Patch - Patch Project Team
Unofficial Dragonborn Patch - Patch Project Team
Unofficial High Res DLC Patch - Patch Project Team
Useable Barrels - Katixa
Lore Based Loading Screen - Chesko
Divine Punishment for mention of arrows to the knee
Humans drop human parts
Blacksmith Forge Water Fix
Lightweight Potions & Poisons
Hoods with Circlets
Waterbreathing Breathless Emerge
Improved Bounty Rewards
Maian's Skyrim Mod List (Click to show)
Environments (Click to show)
Alternative Snow by Yuril (and 2K Road Snow Footprints by Yuril)
Detailed Mountains (2k Resolution) by AnOldFriend -OR- Alternate Rocks and Mountains by Benjamin318
Also, High-Resolution Tundra Moss for AOF Mountains by Aron -OR- High-Resolution Tundra Moss for Ben318s Mountains by Aron, depending on which Mountain mod you install. He has others for other mountains if you look in his upload list.
Dense Cobwebs by Yuril -OR- Webs by ramccoid
Footprints by jonwd7
Glorious Grasses by Jack245 -OR- SkyRealism - Grass by MTichenor
Re-Defined Dungeons by Gizmo -OR- The Beauty of Skyrim - Caves and Mines by raiserfx
Revamped Exterior Fog by Gargorious
Skyrim Floral Overhaul by Vurt
Static Mesh Improvement Mod by Brumbek
Skyrim HD by NebuLa
These two together will over-write pretty much everything that was posted above, along with some posted below.
Cities and Buildings
Amazing Cities - Riften by Yuril (other major cities also by same Author)
B3 - Better Breezehome and Burrows by Robinsage
Better Gray Quarter by Elioden Ward
Either one of the following -- Designs of the Nords or City Banner Replacer
Doors Retexture by Benjamin318
Better Dwemer Ruins by Jenova19, use with Better Markarth by Jenova19
HQ College of Winterhold by Anarin
Illustrated Town Panels by Yuril
Replacement Ivy by Thonk
Visible Windows by isoku
Windmills Re-Sized (make sure you get the 'Katla's Sail Fix' for it)
Expanded Winterhold Destruction Ruins by Rhinala70 and phaotoa
New Structures - Player Homes
Amethyst Hollows Dreamworld by AmethystDeceiver
Rayek's End by Rayek
Riverside Lodge by Lupus
Chapels of Skyrim by GwaeBloom
Unique Places by Passet -- REQUIRES DAWNGUARD
Other Objects and Effects
HD Barenziah Box and Crown by Aegrus
Alternative Smoke by Yuril
Ben318s Tents by Benjamin318
Bumpy Inn and Shop Signs by Jenova19
Detailed Rugs by raiserfx
Dragon Glyphs HD - Fixed by Valstein0
Enchantment Effect Replacer by Myopic
Finer Dust by CptJoker
Hot Torch by Yuril
Insanity's Celtic Coin by InsanitySorrow
Ruins Clutter Improved by raiserfx
Silly Level of Detail - Potions and Poisons by Narmix
Silly Level of Detail - Wine Cellar by Narmix
Statues of Skyrim by Benjamin318
Ultimate HD Torch by BuzzDee84
Weathered Road Signs by Nimbli Bimbli
Water / Ice
W.A.T.E.R. (and the fix if using an ENB -- Green-Water Fix)
Enhanced Night Skyrim
Insanity's Moons by InsanitySorrow
If you do not have a lot of VRAM (1GB or lower), then these mods are safe alternatives since they complement the Official High-Res DLC from Bethesda with improved Bump maps or just improved textures at the same resolution.
AOF Farmhouses by AnOldFriend
Bump Cities Vanilla by Yuril (Colorful Whiterun by Yuril - just a slight color enhancement for Whiterun)
Bump Roads Vanilla by Yuril
Bump Snow Vanilla by Yuril
Bump Mountains Vanilla by Yuril
Roofs of Whiterun by Yuril - it fixes a small texture conflict with the roofs
aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Armors by CaBaL
Accingite Vos - Shields HQ Retextures by Alex - also, Hectrol Dwarven Shield High-Res Retexture by hectrol
Aeterna's Circlets by aeterna826
Another Black Thieves Guild Armor by Shaft28
Either Apophysis Dragon Priest Masks by pondcypress or Psychosteve's Dragon Priest Masks by Psychosteve
Better Shrouded Armor by Half-Dead
Craftable Thalmor Equipment by Shodan44
Elaborate Textiles by Miss Obsidienne
Either Royal Daedric Armor by GarryG or Glorious Daedric Re-Texture by Gloriouz (Royal Daedric also contains matching set of weapons)
New Armor Sets
I'll try to list only the Lore-Friendly armor sets (sets that look like they could exist within the world of Elder Scrolls)
A Perfect Assassin by Newermind43
Avatar of Baltazar by Newermind43
Avatar of Grenth by Newermind43
Black Overlord by Newermind43 and daedilus
Black Sacrament Armor by AmethystDeceiver
Beserk Black Swordsman Armor by Zenl
Blood Witch Armor by Zerofrost Satyr
Crimson Ranger Armor by patobek
Cultist Regalia by PeterKeller
Dark Nemesis - Ebony Reincarnation by lKocMoHaBTl
Dark Nemesis - ENHANCED EDITION by lKocMoHaBTl
Divine Aegis HD by Sader and Shodan44
Dragon Knight Armor by Hothtrooper44
Dragonbone Ebonsteel Armor by Dreogan (helmets in this work real well with Dragon Knight Armor by Hothtrooper44)
Drow Armor Set by Newermind43
Equipment of the Eternal Shine by lKocMoHaBTl
Immersive Armors by Hothtrooper44 (aMB textures for Immersive Armors by Daendra and CaBaL -- replaces Vanilla textures used by some of the armor sets with aMidianBorn Book of Silence textures that are of higher quality)
Inpou by Neo by Neovinci
JackoO's Knightly Armory by JackoO
JackoO's Praetorian Armor by JackoO
Knight of Thorns Armor and Spear of Thorns by Zerofrost Satyr
Masters of Death - Rise of the Brotherhood by fume0101 (Assassin's Creed-inspired light armor)
Medusa and Drakul Armors by Zerofrost Satyr
Mystic Elven HD by Sader
Nightingale Prime HD by AncientVampire and Zerofrost
Nordic Spellweaver Armor by PeterKeller
Perfect Legionnaire by Ali Bengali
Ritual Armor of Boethiah by Wasbunny
Scout Armor by DoODABoOM
Skyforge Shields by Dreogan
TERA Online Armors - Male and Female by asianboy345 - NOT LORE-FRIENDLY
Tribunal Robes and Masks by Zairaam and Natterforme
Triss Armor Retextured by Psyke23 and oldholo
True Bound Armors by foster
The Legend of Zelda - Skyrim Modification by Tyen
Wearable Bard's Lute and Retex by Dragonis0
Wearable Elder Scrolls by SephDragoon
Alternate Blade of Woe by ktacreations
aMidianBorn Book of Silence - Weapons by CaBaL
Unique Uniques by InsanitySorrow
New Weapon Sets
Dagger Craft Pack by faxivcm
Dark Crusader Reforged by Angilla
Dread Knight Weapon Set by jojjo
Immersive Weapons by Hothtrooper44, Ironman5000, and Eckss
JaySuS Swords by JaySuS
Lion Heart Halberd by Newermind43
Isilmeriel LOTR Weapon Set by Isilmeriel and Arwen's Sword - Hadhafang by Yogensya
Nicoroshi Creations by Nicoroshi
Nightingale Pride by lKocMoHaBTl
Scioatael Weapons by Wicked_Jester
Templar Hammer by Lord Banewrath Sunblade
TERA Weapons Collection of Skyrim by Iromizu
Thor's Hammer - Mjolnir by Ghosu
Thresher Maul by siberok92 (included with Immersive Weapons)
Unique Bows Collection by Artisanix
Weapons of the Third Era by masterofshadows and 747823 (original author)
CNHF - Calyps and Nuska's Heroic Form by calyps and nuska (NSFW)
Dimonized UNP Body by dimon99 (NSFW)
-Body Imperfect by betterbecause (NSFW)
-Mature Skin Texture and Body by Maevan2 (NSFW)
-Nuska's Real Skin by Nuska (currently hidden on Nexus)
-Navetsea's Body Texture by Navetsea (NSFW)
Male Body Types and Textures
Better Males by Chris57 and FavouredSoul (NSFW)
High-Res Face Maps for Men by Geonox
Head Improvements (Hairs, etc.)
These are not specific to a certain body type listed above
AOF Believable Hair by AnOldFriend -OR- Fine Hair HQ by Yuril
Apachii SkyHair by Apachii
Beards by Hvergelmir
Brows by Hvergelmir or HQ Eyebrows by Regn
Smile in HD by zzjay
Warpaint and Makeup Mods (for use with SKSE High-Res Tweak)
Badass Warpaint by Skree000 (Viper, from the movie Doomsday) Also, I have a High-Res version of this that I made for the SKSE tweak that allows 2K-Resolution warpaints. PM me if you want it, as I have not uploaded it to the Nexus (Skree000 hasn't been online in a while).
Battle Hardened Warpaints by Diethardt and netherwalk
Better Makeup for SKSE by Diethardt
XCE Warpaints and Dirt by Xenius - These are high-resolution versions of the Vanilla Warpaints.
Any one of the following:
Covereyes by mrLenski
Flan's Eyes by DarNilavu
Natural Eyes by nevenbridge
Arie of Anga's Mill by FalmerBane
Facelift Aela by Axeface
Facelift Faendal[/UIRL] by Axeface
Facelift Mjoll by Axeface
Hvelgemir's Redesigned Housecarls by Hvelgemir
Jenassa by 83Willow
Lydia Sylvan Makeover by 21crescendo
Non-Whory Housecarls by navetsea
Sylgja of Shor Stone by FalmerBane
The Companions by Netherwalk
The New Serana by Beans
Uthgerd Kriegswolfe by FalmerBane
Vilkas and Farkas by Netherwalk
Ysolda of Whiterun by FalmerBane
Additional NPC Follower Voice Type by GomuGomu64
Amazing Follower Tweak by Dheuster
Guard Dialogue Overhaul by Eck
Varied Guards by JulianP
Atvir Dres by JanusForbeare
Eryniel Elf Reborn by urshi and donnyducky
Game of Thrones Followers by Donker316
Hoth by Hothtrooper44
Kaplan by Diethardt
Mhillis Tuise by Diethardt
Tauriel from The Hobbit by m0ckin9bird
Thaiden by 83Willow
Valfar by Omesean
Vilja in Skyrim by Emma Amgepo Lycanthrops
Vizerin and Company by Diethardt
Miscellaneous NPC Mods
Thieves Wear Thieves Guild Armor by PrinceShroob
Ash Pile Retex by Raymond Murphy
No NPC Greetings by Cipscis
Load order can be easily sorted with BOSS, (Better Oblivion Sorting Software) made compatible with Skyrim. It will set the load order, overriding Steam's, and warn you of dirty files, incompatibilities and outdated versions. There are numerous unrecognized plugins that would require manual ordering. Some recognized plugins will still require manual ordering.
A lot of people like to run Skyrim really maxed out with high quality graphics settings, including extreme alteration of ini's. Personally I find this unnecessary when running an ENB profile with Tilt Shift Depth of Field. I also think this is one of the main causes of performance issues for a lot of standard users who will generally push their PC's to the max with altered UGrids, Ultra settings, max resolution textures, and then throw a high quality ENB profile on top of it all, and then wonder why performance is being hit so hard.
When running an ENB profile I personally run Skyrim on High settings with Anisotopic Filtering and Anti Aliasing disabled as current ENB Binaries will handle Anisotopic Filtering, Anti Aliasing and Shadows.. The only ini settings I will modify to push further is grass and trees to reduce pop in.
You can find my ini's below. Be sure to edit resolution and rendering device as necessary if you wish to copy it.
Lifeshield's SkyrimPrefs ini (Click to show)
sD3DDevice="AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series"
It's worth noting that if you have a good CPU you can, of course, bump up shadow settings, etc, higher. I wouldn't recommend going much higher than Ultra though if you want playability as well as nice quality.
If you want an easy way to mess around with ini's without wondering what each piece of code does and number crunching then you can try out Skyrim Configurator. This interface simply gives you the option to adjust settings in your skyrim.ini and other configs with sliders, dropdown menus, and even provides screenshots displaying the different effects. Furthermore, it allows the use of threading for smoother performance on many functions, which forces your CPU to use multiple threads to process the information. This can save time and frustration if you're not confident or familiar with altering .ini and .cfg files. Hovering over any of the options also provides details as to what will happen with the use of the different options.
A couple of mods to help with performance can be installed, you can find them listed below.
Once you have installed all the mods you require, download Optimizer Texture.
Optimizer Texture basically compresses textures over the selected file size as well as optimizing mipmaps and removing unneccessary files. if they have not already been optimized by the author. This can not only improve FPS but also decrease stuttering as it makes loading textures to VRAM and RAM much more manageable. The downside to using this utility is that the compression can cause some pixelation with some textures. Most notably skin textures (like face and body) and sky textures (like clouds), so they may well be worth re-installing after you have run the tool. More on this further below.
Run it as Administrator. Generally I only optimize loose textures over 2048 size. The settings that I personally optimize with can be found below.
If you want character, armour, and weapon textures to look nice and high detailed, install them after running the optimization tool.
If you just want your character to look nice and high detailed, install a race mod (Temptress is a good one to use here if you play a female character) along with installation of high quality textures to that race mod (as an example, I install high quality UNP textures to my Temptress folder along with high quality tints and masks), back the modified race mod up and install/reinstall it after you have run the optimization tool. The general rule of thumb if you go this route is that if a NPC doesn't use it, you can generally get away with not optimizing it. This goes for mods like Apachii Sky Hair, Black Sacrament Armour, and other similar mods that aren't put in levelling lists.
Using some of the above mentioned mods and ini's along with these optimizations and tips I manage a solid 45 FPS minimum outdoors (AMD 965BE @ 4ghz & R7950 3gb), while running a performance hungry ENB profile.
You can edit the resize down value to "if > 4096" if you wish to do so, but you may see decreased performance depending on your amount of VRAM.
A lot of screenshots can be manipulated by their respective authors via camera positioning, installation of specific animation mods, or playing around with the console.
A full list of console commands useful for taking screenshots, including camera manipulation, NPC control, and weather control, can be found here
Below is a list of recommended animation mods which can be useful for taking screenshots. I will add more to the list over time.
Lifeshield's Recommended Animation Mods (Click to show)
FNIS Consider this a requirement. Always run FNIS after installation / uninstallation of an animation mesh! You can install / uninstall multiple animation mods at a time, but FNIS must always be run when you are finished!
Pretty Combat Idles (Do not install magic idle if you intend to use other magic animations or it will conflict!)
Castanistic or Highelf style Idle Replacer (Phnx Style Dual Wield Idle)
Zweihander (Male 2hand idle)
Something else worth mentioning here is the ini tweak bDisableGearedUp=0. This tweak allows you to show multiple favourited weapons on your character at the expense of having to put away a weapon before equipping another. The consequences of not putting away a weapon first can be seen as a bug, or seen as an opportunity by a screenshot artist to create rather unique poses. What this allows you to do is cast a spell for a pose while you have a weapon equipped, then upon unequipping the spell you would then have a unique pose with only the weapon equipped.
With other mods (like OnePosedandAnimatedYamato) you can have a bow in one hand, a sword in another, while playing around with spell effects, and having a rather unique pose to go along with it. That's just one example of how it can be manipulated to your advantage.
To enable this tweak go into skyrimprefs.ini and add the ini code under the Display heading like below.
The first thing you need to do is choose a configuration for yourself. There are many, many configurations out on Skyrim Nexus, and many you try may not be for you (even my own) so the first thing you have to ask yourself is what you want from your configuration. What appeals to you.
Some cinematic styles include Unreal Cinema, TV-ENB, Stakado's Cinemascope & CLENB..
Some realistic styles include Opethfeldt6, Superb ENB-RL, & Sharpshooters Extreme Vision ENB.
Some artistic styles include ENBPM.
Some colourful styles include K-ENB.
Please note this is just my opinion, there are many other good configurations out there, and yes, of course I am going to give a mention to my own configuration!
Please, always credit the original author for their work, and make sure you gain permission to use any custom assets!
So now you have chosen an ENB to work from, you have opened it up, followed the installation instructions, and have it up and running. So what's next?
Well first you need to know what each file is and what it controls. Normally you will see the following files (in no particualr order):
d3d9.dll (this is the binary and required to run ENB, you won't see this in most files downloaded from Skyrim Nexus so it needs to be downloaded from enbdev.com. If you require older binary files for older configurations you can find a library of them at Beautiful Skyrim)
enbseries.ini (this is where the majority of settings are configured).
enbbloom.fx (this is where bloom is controlled, some configurations use custom bloom files).
enbeffect.fx (in general this is where colour, contrast, tone mapping and brightness is controlled. Some configurations also use custom shaders and bloom effects. You'll normally find vignettes, like letterbox view, here).
enbeffectprepass.fx (here is where custom Depth of Field code can be found if your files uses it, newer versions can include film grain which negate the need for a seperate effect.txt file if you configure it correctly).
enbpallette (the pallette gives you greater control over what colours specific areas of the game are rendered in. You can edit it in Photoshop).
These are the main files used in every ENB. Not every ENB requires a palette but most will use one. Other than the palette the other files can be edited with Notepad.
Other optional files that may be included are:
effect.txt (gives some extra options like sharpening, film grain, etc).
You may also find some authors include sun textures or water textures. The water textures are designed to keep water foam from being too bright whenyou start playing with fire effects so can be important to use. The sun textures are normally author choice, though sun settings will normally be configured around them.
Ok, so now you have an understanding of what files you should expect to see in most configurations I will now point you in the direction of the Guide for ENB series mods. This guide covers what every setting does in the enbseries.ini and enbeffect.fx files. It also covers what setting controls other post proccessing applications being used in conjunction with ENB. There is also a good thread here that goes into some detail on how to customize ENB profiles.
You can also use the ENB Customizer tool which is a good tool for those who want to get started but without diving into all the code.
This is an easy to use interface that will pair nicely with the above mentioned ENB Customizer. This utility allows you to store multiple Post Processors, be it ENB, SweetFX, FXAA, etc. into it's subfolders providing you the opportunity to switch between them at will. They store the necessary files outside of Skyrim's location, and inject them when you activate it through the executable. You can also deactivate them completely. It stores the files in profiles as well, for example, if you use multiple presets for a particular version like 0.157, just load the version and switch to the profile of your choice. You can also have multiple palettes for each profile, and any included in the files will be automatically installed.
Be mindful some effects can really hurt performance, for yourself or others. Some of us love to pile on the effects but realistically users can have issues running them because they like to run a load of high resolution textures on a mid range rig without optimization. With this in mind it may be a good idea to check out, and encourage other users to use, the Texture Optimizer which will compress textures to a manageable level for your videocard to proccess.
The things that tend to impact performance in ENB itself are in general:
Complex Indirect Lighting
Depth of Field
FXAA (with Anti Aliasing at a high level)
SMAA, and FXAA without Anti Aliasing, can still have a performance hit though not as high, depending on the settings. FXAA has a bigger impact than SMAA (from my experience).
effect.txt file can have a minor perofrmnace hit. Normally only 1-3 FPS max.
Things to remember
There's so many questions that can be asked about configuring ENB that I couldn't possibly begin to start listing everything here. However some general pointers I will give follow.
Have a plan of what you want to achieve with your configuration and stick to it. It's so easy to get sidetracked and lose the aim of what you were originally trying to achieve.
Make regular backups and make notes of major changes made. You might edit your configuration and realise after a while it really isn't how you want it to be. Believe me this is very easily done. Editing configurations always seems to be a never ending proccess and you tweak and tune. Sometimes you'll find you can tweak too much!
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most people within the ENB community are very helpful and will happily answer any questions you have if you get stuck. Notable people to follow especially are Matso and JawZ who have great experience with coding for ENB. Other users you can approach on Skyrim Nexus are myself, UnrealWarfare (obiviously), 83Willow, Kyokushinoyama, Midhras, & Mindflux, who have done extensive work both in modifying presets and taking screenshots.
Don't bend to the will of others. Remember, you do this for yourself first and foremost. Everyone else comes second. If you start making the configuration for everyone else it will look nothing like what you intended it to be and you will lose track of what you want to achieve. There's a fine line between fixing problems and making everyone else happy. Make sure you are happy first and make sure the configuration is tailored to your system's strengthes before you start reconfiguring for others.
Don't give up!. It can be really easy to get so far and think, that's it, I've had enough. Or to be disheartened by bad feedback or lack of endorsements. Try and get the constructive feedback and work on what fixes problems and don't get caught up in drama. If it's not constructive, ignore it. A lack of endoresement doesn't mean you configuration is bad, but maybe it just isn't to everyone elses taste. Different people prefer different things. Some of the better looking configurations don't get the recognition they deserve by the majority, for a variety of reasons.
Credit every author for their work if you use it. It's very disrespectful to an author to use their work without credit or permission. Most will allow you to if you just ask nicely. Don't get caught out and end up with your configuration getting pulled from the Nexus because you couldn't take a few minutes to type up a request.
Have fun! It doesn't need to be tiresome. Do it in your own time and enjoy the proccess of bringing Skyrim closer to your vision of what it should be.
I hope this helps to give you a slightly better understanding of what to expect in an ENB, what resources are available to you to configure ENB, and where to go for help if you need it. If you require further information, or just have a random question, feel free to ask.
I won't go into this too much here because we have a fantastic guide for using Injectors here which you can access for all the information you will ever need. What is worth noting however is that you can use ENB to Proxy Chain Injectors for additional effects. I have covered Proxy Chaining with ENB in the ENB section of the guide.
This is the process of rendering the game at a resolution higher than your monitors resolution, then downscaling it to fit. This can have numerous advantages, including reducing aliasing and improving picture quality, and is a well known technique used by a lot of screenshot artists to capture that "perfect image".
A couple of guides on how to downsample, created by other members of the Overclock.net community, can be found below.
Below are some screenshots which use a combination of some of the above methods, tips and tricks noted in this guide to achieve their final result.
Lifeshield - Author
ChaotiKPranXter - Contributor
Maian - Contributor
Modinn - Contributor
Edited by Lifeshield - 9/6/13 at 8:27am
|Intel E7400 @ 2.8ghz||Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L||Asus 9800GT||8gb DDR2|
|1tb Sata||Stock||Windows 10||Samsung 32" HDTV|
|Microsoft Sidewinder||Casecom ATX 450w||Generic||Microsoft Basic Optical v2.0|
|Intel E7400 @ 2.8ghz||Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L||Asus 9800GT||8gb DDR2|
|1tb Sata||Stock||Windows 10||Samsung 32" HDTV|
|Microsoft Sidewinder||Casecom ATX 450w||Generic||Microsoft Basic Optical v2.0|