Top 10 Skyrim Graphic Mods That Make Everything More Awesome

Skyrim Graphic Mods


Skyrim was released over 7 years ago. Let that sink in.

With one of the most dedicated communities in gaming, and a recent re-release on the Nintendo Switch, Skyrim is truly a modern classic.

That being said, the northern wilderness of Tamriel can grow dull after a few hundred hours of adventuring. New releases are showcasing increasingly impressive graphics, and certain aspects of Skyrim appear lifeless and robotic in retrospect.

Luckily, passionate fans have developed mods that will breathe new life into your experience as the Dragonborn.

Keep reading for the best Skyrim graphic mods that make everything more awesome.

10. Skyrim HD

Skyrim HD is the go-to mod for enhancing Skyrim to modern, ultra-realistic graphics.

Depending on the capabilities of your machine, this mod can run Skyrim at 1K, 2K, or 4K. If that doesn’t sound exciting, remember that 2011’s Skyrim ran at 720p and struggled to stay at 30FPS. If you’re new to the modding community, this upgrade will stun you. Particularly at 4k, Skyrim’s rivers look real enough for you to jump in.

The same awe can be found in Skyrim’s snowy peaks and gloomy caves, which seem truly immersive after the upgrade. Other mods can improve specific aspects of Skyrim, the copy-and-paste NPCs for example, but Skyrim HD is the ideal mod to make your game look like it was released yesterday.

Find the mod here: nexusmods

9. Immersive Armors

This mod is extremely underrated. As the name suggests, Immersive Armors expands the number of armor sets available to the Dragonborn. The detail of each set is stunning, and the high resolution pairs well with Skyrim HD.

I would recommend this mod to any Skyrim player, as it subtly appeals to many different play styles. Are you a swift, silent warrior with no obligations to the Dark Brotherhood or Thieves Guild? Try the mysterious black vagabond set.

Do you strike fear into your enemies with your unparalleled marksmanship? Try the crimson ranger set.

Are you a mage that envies the protection of heavy dragon armor? The dragon robes are for you.

Every set of armor is lore-friendly, and you’ll quickly wonder how you managed with the paltry selection of armor in the vanilla game.

Find the mod here: nexusmods

8. Verdant

This mod updates grass. That’s right, grass. Before you roll your eyes, think back to how stunning Skyrim looked on your very first playthrough. If you’re a veteran Elder Scrolls player, you likely felt stunned by the expansive landscapes of Morrowind and the hellish realms of Oblivion, and Skyrim made both of those entries look archaic.

This mod will bring back some of the magic you felt when you first escaped Helgen and experienced just how immersive Skyrim can be. The updated plants are vibrant and colorful, and you can watch each individual blade of grass blow in the wind. After utilizing Skyrim HD or a similar mod, Verdant will immediately transform the visuals of your game.

Find the mod here: nexusmods

7. Vivid Weathers Definitive Edition

This is another mod that initially sounds underwhelming, but leaves you stunned after installation. Vivid Weathers completely revamps the atmosphere of Skyrim. Fogs become humbling and ominous.

Snowstorms now consist of individual snowflakes. Thunder rumbles in the distance and lightning flashes randomly across the sky. Paired with Verdant, your game will be unrecognizable. Download this mod for near-complete immersion as the Dragonborn.

Find the mod here: nexusmods

6. Apachiiskyhair

I have a personal distaste for the NPCs of Skyrim. The buildings and landscape of Skyrim are extremely detailed and beautiful, but the inhabitants look like the first attempt of someone who finally learned to mod Half-Life.

After you’ve updated the environment for your game, the NPCs will appear even more out of place. Updating the graphics for NPCs is a multi-step process, so why not start from the top: hair.

This mod introduces several hairstyles from the Sims series, the Witcher series, and Oblivion; and each one has been personally redesigned for Skyrim. The difference between vanilla Skyrim and Apachiiskyhair is night and day.

The updated models are realistic and lifelike. The vanilla models look plastic in comparison. Paired with the following mods, the NPCs will look the way they were meant to.

Find it here: nexusmods

5. The Eyes of Beauty

Next up, the windows to the soul. The eyes are a small but vital aspect of the upscaling process. Even if the rest of your NPC model looks flawless, your game will feel off with the dull eyes of the vanilla game.

This mod also provides lore-friendly options that are surprisingly absent in the base game. For example, the elves have brighter eye options that match their in-game history.

This mod also allows you to have different colored eyes on the same character, which is certainly a nice touch. Once the rest of your NPC models are updated, this mod will tie the updated look together.

Find it here: nexusmods

4. Ruins Clutter Improved

This is a subtle mod that I highly recommend. If you decide to follow the main quest, or you want to legitimately collect all the dragon shouts, you will spend a lot of time in ruins.

If you’re reading this list, you likely understand that these ruins become very dull very quickly. The first dungeon of the game feels creepy, mysterious, and foreboding. But when the tenth dungeon you encounter looks identical to the first, the appeal starts to fade.

This mod adds a bit of variety to the background clutter of each dungeon and adds extra detail for good measure.

Unlike other entries on this list, the final result will not drastically differ from the vanilla game. But the extra detail and variation will quietly make your dungeon-delving more enjoyable.

Find it here: nexusmods

3. Divine People

This is my recommendation for removing the general “dullness” of Skyrim’s NPCs. A close second is the Diversity mod, but I believe Divine People yields more lifelike NPCs.

With Apachiiskyhair and The Eyes of Beauty installed, the inhabitants of Skyrim will finally look the way they were meant to. The Barbie-esque skin tones of default townswomen give way to smooth, glowing skin after installation. The warriors gain a rugged, weathered look that you’d expect of battle-tested characters.

Shopkeepers and quest-givers seem more intriguing and human. This mod will breathe new life into your current playthrough.

Find it here:  nexusmods

2. Bijin

Bijin means “beautiful women,” and the name is certainly fitting for this mod. Bijin is an alternative to Divine People, and only focuses on female NPCs.

Divine People will provide a cohesive look to the NPCs of your game, while separate mods for males and females can make your game clash. That being said, installing multiple mods for NPCs will provide you with more freedom, and many players prefer different styles for male and female NPCs.

Regardless, this mod does exactly what it sets out to do, and arguably achieves even more realistic results than Divine People.

Find it here: nexusmods

1. The Males of Skyrim

As the name suggests, this mod upscales the males of Skyrim as Bijin does for the females. Despite my earlier warning, I believe this mod plays relatively well with Bijin, and will provide your game with extremely realistic graphics.

This mod has several customization options, so you can fine-tune the NPCs to your desired look. Some of the options are adult-oriented, but you can easily create safe for work results with this mod. Also, if your boss lets you play Skyrim at work, I’ll gladly send him my resume.

Find it here: nexusmods

And that’s it. This is by no means a comprehensive list of Skyrim graphics mods, but all of these mods will make everything more awesome within Skyrim. Feel free to add other mods to your game to achieve the exact results you want; is an excellent resource. Also consider reading other Skyrim articles on this website to have more fun as the Dragonborn. Fus ro dah!

Born in the shadows, Elijah is a mysterious rogue with little known background. -20 Strength +10 Stealth +10 Technology
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: Overwatch
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Battlefield 4

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