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PostPosted: 28 Nov 2013, 16:54 

Joined: 26 Sep 2013, 15:01
Posts: 19

Taleden's Lifelike ENB (for RLO+CoT (hey that rhymes!)) is meant for actually playing Skyrim, while still making it as beautiful, immersive and lifelike as possible. Above all, I tried to adjust or eliminate any lighting or visual effects which remind you that you're playing a game and not looking at a real place. But here are some more specific features and visual principles that went into the design of this preset.

The Sun is Bright

Like, really bright. This manifests in a few different ways; surfaces lit by direct sunlight are much brighter, of course, but even shadows are not very dark on bright sunny days, because all that light bouncing around makes for fairly high ambient light.

Also, if you try using a flashlight or even car headlights on a sunny day, you'll notice that the sun is MUCH brighter than any artificial light source, even with modern bulbs and reflectors. Torches and firepits cast so little light compared to the sun that their effect is barely visible at all next to direct sunlight. This is probably the single most noticeable change that makes the world look (to me) much more realistic and lifelike on bright sunny days.

The Night is Dark

Most importantly, there are no shadows at night. This was one of my biggest peeves in vanilla Skyrim which is not fixed by many ENB presets I've seen; why would there be shadows at night? What's casting them? The moons aren't that bright, and even if they were, Skyrim's nighttime shadows are not at the right angle to be cast by the moons. So they seem to be cast by nothing, which looks awful (to me).

No Sun in Oblivion

The Soul Cairn and Apocrypha both originally have day-night cycles, complete with shadows that change direction as if the sun were rising and setting. But these are alternate planes of reality where there should be no sun at all, so now they are timeless and shadowless as (I think) they ought to be.

No Eye Adaptation

This is the effect that makes the whole screen get darker when you look at a bright light, and brighter when you look at a dark corner. It sounds nice in theory and of course it's inspired by how our eyes really work, but I've never seen it executed in Skyrim in a way which wasn't distracting and weird. So I just turned it off entirely, and instead tuned all of the light levels to work out without needing this "adaptive" adjustment.

No Bloom

This also seemed nice in theory but always just looked blurry to me. Maybe somebody out there has a great bloom shader which gives really bright things that nice glow without also softening and blurring the entire screen, but all my attempts with bloom just looked like a greased camera lens. So I turned it off entirely.

No Depth Of Field or Lens Flare

When I play Skyrim I like to pretend that I am a character in the world. I do not like to pretend that I am a video camera, so it makes no sense to me to see visual artifacts that are specific to how mechanical video cameras work. These effects are great for machinima so it feels like you took a camera into Skyrim and filmed something, but if you want the screen to look like what your own eyes would see, these effects are weird and distracting. So I turned them off.

Note that there are some weathers which apply a blur to everything in the distance. This isn't the same as Depth of Field because it doesn't try to guess where you're focusing your eyes, it's just a distance blur (such as during heavy rain), so these are still enabled.

Night Eye Works

Many other ENBs seem to make things super dark and also prevent Night Eye from working, which is awkward for actual gameplay. The conventional workaround was all-or-nothing; either you had to enable all vanilla post-processing (most of which looks bad when mixed with ENB), or you had to do without Night Eye. My workaround does require an extra plugin file, but it makes Night Eye work without also screwing up the color balance in general.


Let me know what you all think!

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