Retexture - Part 1 : Terrain


 Retexture - Terrain

Hi,

I'm starting a new serie about retextures.
Why?
Well, first, i like to retexture my game and maybe i can share with you this interest and some technics.
Second, your pleasure and your immersion in the game will be definitly better. Combined with an ENB, you definitly obtain another game.
Third, for screenarchers. Adding more details and avoid mistakes are always improvements.
Finally, i think characters are better in a good environement. And you use less  the Depth of field to hide ugly parts.
Personal note:  For my gameplay, i always remove the depth of field so i win precious fps. So, maybe i lose 1 or 2 fps for the terrain quality, but i win 10/15 fps without the depth of field. So, the deal is good in my opinion.

Let's be clear, this is for a detailled Skyrim, for gameplay, for your pleasure and for landscape screenshots.

This article is for Oldrim.....old Skyrim....Skyrim the first....Skyrim 2011 😁

This first article is about the terrain. All terrain textures can be found in Skyrim/data/textures/landscape.
Road textures are located in Skyrim/data/textures/landscape/roads.

The terrain is where you walk (lol...really)!. I speak about roads too because they are linked to the terrain.
I do not speak about interior grounds or city grounds because they are in another folder......another article later.
I'm not here to tell you which mods you should use. I'm speaking about methods. However, i have some recommendations of course. 
The final goal is a clean result for your eyes.
Interesting fact : Better is your skyrim, better are new places, towns or worlds that use these textures. (example : Summerset isles, Falskaar, Darkend, Beyond Reach, etc...)

1) Resolution
All resolutions are available for the terrain: 512, 1K, 2K, 4K, ...even 8K.
The goal is not to mix textures which don't work together.
If you use a majority of 2K textures, mix them with others 1K or 4K. Not 512, the difference is too much important.
If you use a majority of 4K textures, mix them with only others 2K. 512 or 1K is too far about quality.
If you use a majority of 1K, mix them with 2K.

My own experience is that quality texture doesn't affect FPS. For the terrain of course. Terrain can't create fps drops or stutterings. It's just flat and doesn't need a lot of ressources. So, you can be "generous " with the terrain.

2) Straight line
The illness of Skyrim. That's the first thing to avoid in the game. A straight line as a separation between 2 terrain textures must be corrected.
For immersion, it's necessary to clean the terrain as much as possible.
To avoid straight lines on the terrain, you must find and try textures with an alpha channel (transparency). With this alpha channel, you remove every ugly terrain transitions.
Some mods provide this alpha channel, some mods don't have it. No mods are perfect.
An easy solution to see if your textures have an alpha channel is to watch your landscape folder simply. 
Here is a part of mine:
Landscape folder

You can clearly see the transparency in the thumbnails, for main diffuse textures.
You can use programs like Gimp or Photoshop too. Open the texture with one of them and just watch if it has this transparency (alpha channel).
You don't need to edit them. Just select textures with a good percentage of transparency. So, try them in game and watch the result.

Examples in my game:
A perfect transparency with

Renthal 311 old flora and others pack (seashells)




Volcanic zone
3) Mods mix
Definitly. Using only one mod for terrain textures is a mistake in my opinion.
You have a lot of available free mods on Nexus.
Pick up, try, test, apply, watch in game. That's the best advice i can give you.
Of course you need to do it manualy. It's very fast. And when it's perfect, it's done.

For the terrain, i can recommand you several good mods and good modders. They do the job very well.
The goal is to create several named folders on your hard drive and  to extract each mods you download.
You create your own "textures library". Mix and match my friend!

Pfuscher https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/users/212132/? 
A master in terrain retexture. Lots of 2K or 4K...parallax too. I don't use all his work but some textures are just perfect. Very nice textures for wood materials, sea border, dirt, volcanic parts....and standard roads. Also, interesting textures for Whiterun.
Points of interest: dirt, volcanic zone. 

Noble Skyrim https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/45807/?
Big pack. 1K or 2K...no parallax. Can be used in some specific parts of the terrain. In Noble, the terrain is very dark...it's a style. Not my favorite. I prefer Noble Skyrim for its woods quality or interiors.
I use mainly noble for the glacier part and of course for all its wooden doors. Good selection for clutters and furniture. The textures folder "farmhouse" contains great textures. Very good fallforest roads. You can also find some of the best textures for bridges (and smim compatible 😎). Noble mountains are also superb. Noble changes a lot the athmosphere of the whole game.
It's just cleaner and sharper. A unique style.
Points of interest: fieldgrass, frozenmarsh, glacier, pineforest, tundra. Very good content for all the terrain zone of Riften.

Renthal https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/users/5851384/?tb=mods&pUp=1
Unfortunatly, Renthal removed all his old works. But you can find them easily on the internet.
He has done a lot of plants....but he provided some great terrain textures too. I use some of them. But Renthal is mainly a specialist for plants.
A must have. 2K or 4K
Points of interest: beach, rock border, riverside.


Update january 2018: You can still find some Renthal's textures on the Nexus https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/79929/? 
In this pack, you can find plants and landscape textures (2K and 4K). For example, if you like my seashells on the seaborder, they come from Renthal. So, download this pack and pick up textures you like or you want.
Seashells are coastoceanfloor01 and coastoceanfloor01_n in Renthal's pack.
Just copy/paste them in your landscape folder.
In my case, I rename them as coastbeachgrass01 and coastbeachgrass01_n becausethey fit better to this new place on beaches.
Thank you Dreamersteamer for this link.

Skyrim HD https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/607/?
Old pack, 1K or 2K. Don't smile....in this pack , you can find insane textures for the terrain. Somes 2K are better than 4K in other mods. Some textures resolved some problems for the terrain. Some nice textures for ponds and for the volcanic zone.
Points of interest: Glacier parallax, volcanic part,  riverbededge.

Tamriel reloaded HD https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/61995/?
 Let's be clear. The mod is not stable. You have CTD with Tamriel reloaded HD. So, i don't recommand to install it...fully...with the esp. But you can use it only for specific textures.....what i do (beaches, roads junction, Riften zone).
Points of interest: beach, fieldgrass, riverbottom.
Superb 1K, 2K or 4K and parallax. Some options for ultra performance textures too. The strong point of TR? The mod brings diversity to the landscape with specific meshes and textures.

Vivid Landscapes https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/49344/?
Great mod. Sometimes, this mod covers spaces that others don't do. So, it's neccesary.
I only picked up a few textures but they are very good. Can be used for some road junctions and for some volcanic parts. Good rocks borders too.Vivid is really good for the tundra region. Very mineral!
One of the best mod to have a terrain with relief.
1K, 2K or 4K. Parallax too.

Skyland https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/80157
I'm discovering the mod and I use some textures that may be a nice alternative. Sometimes pixelated or blurry, but sometimes very interesting like some forest grounds or some grass grounds.
Despite that the mod does not have a very good presentation on the Nexus, this mod hides a real HIDDEN GEM.... Indeed, Skyland has one of the best textures available for all glaciers (glacier parallax, glacierslab, glaciersubsurface and icefloes).....and in 4K. Really impressive.
If you want a nice snowy ground, Skyland is great too.
1K, 2K,........and real 4K (glacier) even if the modder do not tell it 😋

Skyrim Realist Overhaul https://www.moddb.com/mods/skyrim-realistic-overhaul
A mix of 1K, 2K and 4K. An impressive pack. This pack covers all Skyrim and not only the terrain. So, a selection is necessary. I use it mainly for spaces those are not covered by all famous mods. Indeed, SRO covers the Soul Cairn and the Sky Haven Temple. Some little tiny details too like Alduin's wall and some secrets...
Textures are sometime superb and sometimes very pixelated. So, the selection is very long to choose only the best. Can be risky to install the mod fully because of some very heavy textures that may create FPS drops in strategic places. 
A mod you should explore to find rarities.
Note: the mod is for Oldrim and compatible SE.

Amidian Landscape https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/37865
A good 2K pack. I really like Cabal120's work for all his armor retextures. But he also made terrain textures. The mod covers the essential of Skyrim. Textures are logical and fits perfectly to the game. No parallax for the ground, and parallax for dirtcliffs and mountains. 
However, textures are a bit blurry compared to other mods.......for the same resolution/cost. Amidian Landscape is a bit flat too. For this reason, it's not my choice, but the mod is perfect for those who like the essential and an easy install....and of course for those who like the Amidian's touch. Finally, the mod has a lack of personality, especially about the rendering and blending.
The best part of the mod is mountain textures. They are really stylish and unique. But mountains are not the subject of this article.
Points of interest: Mountains, dirtcliff, glacier, all tundra textures, snow.

Y.A.L.O Yet Another Landscape Overhaul https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/78745/?tab=files 
I never tried it. The content is unknow to me. When I'll try it, I'll provide a feedback.
---------------------------------------

I don't recommand the High resolution DLC.

You can find other mods of course. Some special mods focus only on specific parts. I'll update the list above...when i'll remember them.

Some examples in my game: As you can see, all junctions are clean. No straight lines. I mix mods above...to my taste 😋....and don't forget....transparency!!!!
Some textures are 2K, some are 4K. They are near about quality. It's visualy enjoyable and natural.

Beach: A perfect mix (4K)




Terrain transition

Icefloes (Noble Skyrim 2K)


Volcanic zone
River, mud and borders




Snowy path

3) Parallax or not Parallax
I use it on some parts. I don't really see the improvement. Sometimes, the result can be ugly too. Of course , you can mix textures and meshes with and without parallax.
It's up to you. Test and try. Don't forget, you must have meshes to activate parallax. The enb local must be changed too:
[FIX]
FixGameBugs=true
FixParallaxBugs=true          ⟸here
FixParallaxTerrain=true       ⟸here
FixAliasedTextures=true
IgnoreInventory=true
FixTintGamma=true
RemoveBlur=true
FixSubSurfaceScattering=true
FixSkyReflection=true
FixCursorVisibility=true
FixLag=false



 4) Roads
AHHH ...roads. You like them, i'm sure. We spend a lot of time on roads. So, they must be perfect.
And believe me, I rarely see clean roads and borders in random screenshots.

In my game:





So, i give you my solution. This is the cleanest result i can have actualy.

First, i use Real roads https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/55518/? 
It's only meshes (bsa). Now you have real 3D roads. Not an ugly flat road or a fake parallax. Textures will have a better result with these roads too. A patch exist for bridges of course. 
Now, roads are UUNP 7B 😄 (It's a joke.....don't try to put road meshes in the bodyslide studio........it doesn't work...........i tried.......i admit.)

then,

- For the main road (road01.dds and n.dds), choose Pfusher road texture (2K or 4K). Then choose his "dirt" texture for borders.
- For the fallforest roads (road01fallforest01.dds and n.dds), choose Tamriel reloaded HD roads (2K or 4K). Then, choose the Tamriel Reloaded HD "Fallforestdirt01" for border.
- For the Reach roads (road01reach01.dds and n.dds), choose again Tamriel reloaded HD roads (2K or 4K). Then, choose the Tamriel reloaded "reachdirt01" for borders.

Update 24 may 2018: Majestic mountains does a very good job on roads too https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/86292/ 
Especially for the Reach.Select only "road01reach" and "road01reach_n" for the road and paste into the landscape/roads folder.
Select "reachdirt01" and "reachdirt01_n" (for roadsides) and paste them in the landscape folder.

Your roads are clean now. Thanks who? Thanks Marmotte.

5) Feeling


A good retexture require some manual installation. I know, 97% of you, use automatic organisers (NMM or Mod organiser).
But precision requires sometimes some effort. This article allow you to have of course " A UNIQUE SKYRIM".....your own game, your own world.
So, you do your own creation.
I did that on terrain, rocks, mountains, cities, plants, trees, forts, ruins, interiors , exteriors, everything.


But remember, one it's done, it's done.....and your game will be enjoyable.

Of course , things can change. Sometimes i try new textures. I test them in game and i watch if they match to my actual game.

This article is not reserved to owners of big GPU. You can obtain a wonderfull game with only 1K textures. The goal is a very good balance between every parts. I think , it's better to have a very well balanced terrain in 1K rather than an illogical terrain in 4K.
My first GPU was a GTX 680 in 2011 and I was able to retex my game with very nice 1K textures.

So, choose your style, choose your textures and enjoy the game.

I hope this article was contructive for you. There are some english mistakes...sorry, i do my best as usual.
Maybe you have learned something today. If you have questions, you can ask in the commentary section. If i made a mistake, you can tell me too. If you need precisions, just ask.

Thank you

Marmotte



Comments

  1. C'est super de penser aussi aux gens qui n'ont pas un PC de la NASA ! Mon mari m'a fait une install sympa et stable mais on va aller voir les liens que tu as donné , après tout il y a toujours moyen d'améliorer ou de faire quelque chose avec une ambiance encore meilleure :) Merci pour cet article !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tout le monde n'a pas un PC de la NASA, c'est vrai. C'est pour cela que je propose des packs retexture aussi bien en 4K qu'en 1K.
      Si ton pc est moyennement puissant, tu peux te diriger vers des packs 1K (1024*1024). C'est beau et tu aura déjà de belle nuances.
      Il ne faut pas tu bousilles tous tes fps avec les textures.

      Tu as un mari bien serviable. c'est bien , il est gentil. C'est cool de partager ça a deux.

      Merci Mel , pour ton message.

      Delete
  2. Super article Marmotte :) un grand merci !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci Bulle. J'adore faire ces articles...ça m'éclate.....surtout en anglais :) Plein de vidéos existent sur le sujet mais aucune ne va dans le détail. Alors je le fais. Et puis cela enrichie le blog je trouve.
      Ca fait "blog sérieux" avec du contenu et puis ça change de la tendance générale.

      Delete
  3. Sympa ce tuto

    ReplyDelete
  4. Excellent work, I think I'm going to give your style of modding a try, but I have to ask when installing file manually do I have to rename them like if have file from renthal, Pfusher, and LucidStorm1, do I need to rename their files so they don't out right replace the previous texture completely?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      You don't need to rename files. Just keep files as they are.

      example : all the coast beach is made with 4 textures. I mean, beach variations are created with 4 different textures. Just pick up your favorite mod for these 4 textures. In fact , you just follow how the vanilla game is build, simply.
      - coastbeach01 : i select Tamriel Reloaded
      - coastbeach02 : i select Renthal
      - coastbeachgrass01 : I select Tamriel reloaded
      - coastoceanfloor01 : I selecy Pfuscher

      That's a very simple step and mainly a selection of your favorite textures to create your own game, your unique Skyrim. You can select the quality of your textures according to your performances too. Some place can be 4K for graphics and you can decide to use 1K for specific place which need memory.

      Delete
    2. Thanks I'll make sure to give this a try.

      Delete
  5. Just read your news about the mountains textures,maybe check this one,
    https://rd.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/74389

    --zack

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Zack,

      Like you, I appreciate this mod and all northfire's mods.
      One of my favorite in 2K. This could be the best if the mod was available in 4K. The actual 2K version is a little bit pixelated and blurry for me ( I have a 4K monitor and I see all details).

      So, that's a good selection. Rocks are real with details but I'm using others 2K/4K mods with more details and better relief. I'll do an article about mountains later.

      Thanks for this suggestion Zack.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Hey Marmotte, it´s me again ahaha. from Brazil.

      I have some questions ( of course I have ) ahah.

      In this first guide, I still trying to undertand if the Mods that you talk above need to be installed manually too? Sorry , but I just can understand this guide steps when I start to read the Retexture Part 2 Mines. For me is not so clean yet. (trully sorry , I´m doing my best even when when somentimes translating with Google, but sometimes Google translation don´t make any sense and some phrases shows that was wrote by a Monkey , not you Marmotte hahaha)

      And about the GIMP instructions about the Straight line.

      It´s really necessary? I mean, I don´t have so much expertize in GIMP or Photoshop. There´s another way to do this or no?

      Thanks for your patience and kindly support. I really really apreciate your job. It´s amazing see these pictures ... Have a nice Day.

      Delete
    4. Hi Roni,

      First, Gimp or Photoshop are not a requirement. They are only tools that allow you to see if your textures have a transparency. You don't need to edit anything.
      Modders add a transparency to their textures....or not.
      In my own experience, the transparency allows sometimes to avoid some ugly straight lines. A transparency on textures allows good terrain transitions.

      So, my recommendation is to used mainly textures with transparency .

      Just take my articles as a new way to retex your game with more precision and more variety. The goal is mainly to obtain something unique .

      Delete
  6. AnonymousMay 09, 2018

    Hi there marmotte. Time to give you my greetings: long overdue, I know.
    You have one of the best sites regarding this great game. Congrats. Every time I want to delete it I end up making it even better - thanks to you lately. Kind regards, bits01

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bits. I appreciate and I thank you for your presence here.

      Yes, each time you made a new instalation, the game is always better. Mainly because of our experience. We avoid mistakes and we select only the very best, the essential.

      A long list of mods is not the guarantee of an enjoyable game. It's just important to find a good balance imo. That's what I try to do with my "Retex Theme". Sharing is important to me....too.

      Thanks for the kind words, even if you are a bit excessive sometimes :)

      I just do what I like in a very personal way.

      greetings from the cheese land (yes, we are both from a cheese land)

      Delete

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