Skyrim Special Edition was released to be an updated version of Skyrim, having some improved textures and other small changes. However, you can still get a much better result by using mods.
In this list, we’re going to take a look at some of the best Graphic & Visual mods currently available for Skyrim SE. Alongside these mods, you should also look into installing an ENB Preset, which will help with some post processing when it comes to lighting, shadows and overall colors.
All the links below will link back to the Nexus Mods website, where you can download them. The list below is in no particular order. We’ve also covered many more Skyrim Mod Lists just like this one, which you’re welcome to read!
First up is Pure Waters. It’s a visual enhancement mod for Skyrim which replaces most of the water in-game. The colors are more vivid, the flow more realistic and the overall aesthetic just much better. With all the rivers and streams that you’ll come across in Skyrim, this mod will have a huge effect. There’s also a Waterfall add-on available.
Cinematic Fire Effects
Alongside water, there’s plenty of fire in Skyrim too, whether it be from casting spells or objects in the game world. The Cinematic Fire Effects mod aims to improve the visuals of fire compared to Vanilla Skyrim. Some of the biggest changes it makes is fire now being brighter, higher resolution and just more realistic in general. All sources of fire will be effected, from small candles to large bonfires.
Crimson Tide is a mod which overhauls blood in Skyrim. For a start, it will stand out more due to it’s color changes, pooling differences and higher resolution. The mod even adds specific wounds for each weapon type. There’s also some new visual effects with how blood will leave your enemies, depending on how you took them down. It will just make Skyrim again, feel a little more realistic.
Skyrim’s weather system is one thing you should definitely change, as it will by far have the biggest impact. One good choice is the Vivid Weathers mod, which adds over 500 new weathers to the game. There’s also new sound effects, color correction, visual effects (such as snow, fog and rain) and much more. Overall, it should make Skyrim feel more lifelike.
Enhanced Lights and FX
Don’t skip past Enhanced Lights and FX either, as it will also dramatically change the look and feel of Skyrim. It aims to create a more dynamic and realistic experience, mainly by adding new light sources and volumetric effects such as fog, smoke and more. The lights in both the exterior and interior spaces will be changed, with one of the biggest changes being god-rays.
Noble Skyrim is a mod that will make a dramatic difference when it comes to the textures and visuals in your game. It’s a large mod which will replace a lot of textures with custom high resolution ones, and the differences are staggering. You’ll find that some locations look drastically different, including some cities, dungeons, towns, cities, infrastructure, ships and more.
So far, we’ve covered most major parts of Skyrim, except the sky. A good ENB will give you a good daytime sky, but when it comes to night, take a look into Ethereal Cosmos. When night hits, you’ll spot all sorts of constellations, stars, galaxies and auroras which look beautiful. There are a few different versions of this mod available, with each one changing how intense the night sky is.
Skyland is another mod which focuses on changing Skyrim’s textures. This time though, focusing more on the landscapes. There’s a chance that this mod might clash with other texture mods, such as Noble Skyrim so you’ll have to look at the load order. Either way, Skyland covers many areas such as Mountains, Roads, Bridges, and more. It replaces the textures with hand-crafted high resolution variants, which are 2048×2048 in resolution.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
The Skyrim Flora Overhaul mod will make Skyrim feel more alive. In total, it adds 18 new tree models, and over 65 new grass and plants. There’s also over 180 new textures, and an improved LOD (level of detail). When looking at the forests and surroundings in Skyrim, they should feel more natural and dense, with trees also appearing much taller.
Skyrim is Windy
Finally, we have the Skyrim is Windy mod. It isn’t like the other mods in this list, as it doesn’t add new textures or meshes. Instead, it works well with the Flora Overhaul, which you can find above. With this mod installed, trees and plants in Skyrim will blow with the wind instead of being stationary, making the world feel much more alive. It’s such a small addition, but makes a massive difference when it comes to immersion.