About this mod

Realistic Lighting Overhaul 5.0 is here! This is a massive overhaul of Skyrim's lighting. Exteriors also vastly overhauled! No Post Processing - No FPS loss! New features added!! - As of 5.0, Dwemer Lighting Technology has been added to the game. Check out Understone Keep for an introduction to this feature!

Permissions and credits
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Realistic Lighting for Skyrim Special Edition is OUT!

Click the link below to see the SSE Version!


Translations Below! Click the corresponding flag for your language!

Mod of the Month for February 2013! Thank you!

Remember to Endorse or alternatively DONATE if you like this mod. It will help keep us motivated.

My Patreon! Help support my family!

Directly donate any amount as a once off here! Help support my family!

Trying so so hard...streaming games and also making channel art for people. If you need a channel rebrand or thumbnails, please DM me.

I have returned to streaming after 5 years to try and at least pay for my dinner each night. I want to thank everyone who has supported me during this really difficult time. Streaming has been helping me as it keeps me busy and helps me meet new people and pass time and have a laugh, temporarily forgetting my problems.

If you want to help me further, a simple way is to subscribe to my channel and come to some of the streams, or even simply leave the streams up to help me get my watch time up so I can be monetized sooner.

Please visit my channel, I would appreciate the support!


Below are some examples of my silly content! I have also added some timestamps of funny moments. I hope you guys like the thumbnails and channel branding!

Please like and subscribe! Streaming and selling my services (thumbnails/graphics/branding/logos) is now my full-time job.

This mod is dedicated to my brother Ross. You left us suddenly. You will be missed. RIP.

On a final note, this mod will be forever in the honor of those who have battled illness, depression and even death. Those who persevere and for those we have lost and remember in our hearts.

Thank you for all your donations over the years, they have helped us tremendously.

Please feel free to go to my Patreon if you would like to support my work. I am under a lot of financial duress at the moment and every little bit helps.

Thank you.

My Patreon! Help support my family!

Directly donate any amount as a once off here! Help support my family!


Bas Peeters, Joker & SleepTight!!!!

Current Patreon Supporters

Sagar Rao, The "KogDog", Kami Shahi, Adrian Bonifacio, Ryn Raddohl, DyslexicDead, Quinn, Nosy Tommy, Rhea Byrd, jaww198, SAD DAS, Clarissa (<3), and Apex!

2023 Donations Leaderboard
(all totals shown in AUD)

1st Place : $142 Fat Cat Motorsports Inc.
2nd Place : $72 MostLuckyLachs
3rd Place :
$70.53 Nikkita Jenkins

Realistic Lighting Overhaul (RLO) is the fifth iteration of the popular lighting mod, Realistic Lighting without Post-Processing. It is a complete overhaul of the games lighting system and is one of the most comprehensive lighting mods available for Skyrim. The changes number in the thousands and cover many bases. The aim of this mod is to make the lighting as realistic as possible within the confines of the game engine. It makes the lighting more realistic without the use of screen shader injections or other post-processing. This means the changes made to this mod only utilize the game engine and changes are only made via the Creation Kit. So this means there will be no performance decrease at all, in fact, some people might even get an FPS boost from using this mod due to the removal of bloom which takes up considerable processing power from older machines. We are also optimizing RLO so that it may even run FASTER than vanilla Skyrim in some instances.
This mod does not aim to make the game fantasy like, or add lights for the purpose of it looking beautiful on screenshots. This is a hardcore realism mod, that should be used by people who want their game to have an increased immersion level. Sunlight will be realistic and not blue and places which are poorly lit WILL be dark. If a cabin only has a few candles, yes it will be dark, don't blame us, blame Bethesda (haha) because we are trying to keep this lore friendly - and realistic as we can, even with huge engine limitations. This mod adds a vast amount of ambient lighting, more shadow casting lights and bounced lighting. The lighting in RLO is very subtle and very balanced and many of its features can be missed if people are looking for a more "in your face" fantasy approach. This is why we only really tell you about a few main features and the rest is up to you to experience.

If you want fantasy lighting with boom and effects, I would recommend looking for other mods, such as Climates of Tamriel or Enhanced Lights and Effects, which are mods we also adore and use!

Realistic Lighting Overhaul does just that - it overhauls Skyrims lighting, and it aims to do it well. RLO comes with dozens of mods, all rolled into one, all custom made for this mod and all integrated for the best possible experience with the less amount of fuss. Yes our team has made each module or mod and intergrated it right into RLO - so you don't need fog removal mods, striping fix mods, weather mods etc - however our mod is modular so you can pick and choose between other mods! (wow I said mod a lot!)

This mod attempts to completely overhaul the lighting system but do everything within the limitations of the game engine, while not trying to go overboard and create annoyances for the user. Our main goal is compatibility, stability and providing an FPS friendly alternative to post processing, while also being ENB friendly. We want to keep performance at the maximum we can keep it, for mid to low end rigs, yet make it balanced enough to look great even on high end rigs. This means you can use an ENB with RLO and not be bogged down by two peformance sucking aspects of the graphics engine.

The aim of this mod is to basically feel as though the Skyrim was ALWAYS released in this manner, and deliver lore friendly lighting which seamlessly integrates with the game, while fixing bugs for the end user - not creating them.

When completed RLO will have edited over 10,000 lights, edited lighting templates, fog settings, light placements, weather templates, bug fixes, imagespaces, saturation levels, eye adaptation, and a whole host more. Our biggest aim is to give this mod balanced lighting, with a strong focus on realistic "ambient" lighting without hindering game play.

RLO 5.0 also introduces smoke on candles and torches as well as many added particle effects. Thanks goes to Mindflux for allowing us to use and edit his work.

Please find below a list of some of our mod features.

Realistic Lighting Overhaul is a highly tuned lighting mod that uses no scripts, no post processing (such as ENB's) and is highly optimized to run on older systems. In fact we run countless tests using fps counters, cpu and gpu usage/temperature tools. We optimize RLO cell by cell as we work on them to ensure that all users can experience our mod, even if that means spending a lot of time modding ensuring we get things right.

We manage to do this and still deliver one of the most realistic and beautiful lighting experiences on the Skryim Nexus. We do not fall back to using post processing or shader injectors to cut corners and deliver a game full of stuttering and lag. We manage to do all of this work within the confines of the engine and mesh limitations. We do our best to avoid flickering and try to keep game play even smoother than the vanilla game, as such intended by Bethesda. This is what makes RLO so technically staggering and time consuming to perfect. We pour countless hours into testing and optimizations and our documentation proves it.

As the cliche goes, a picture says a thousand words...

New Optimzations performance graph. (see HERE). This information was provided by a fan of the mod (alt3rn1ty), and holds no bias as it was not a test created in house, yet fans confirmed that our optimizations in edited cells worked.

Official RLO detailed log of how we go about optimizing the mod can be found HERE.(thanks to rgabriel15 for laying down the foundations).

This is an ambitious and time consuming feature that changes the emittance settings of all lights, windows and god rays of every interior/dungeon in the game. This allows for interiors to all have the region day/night cycle and weather effects, including thunder and lightning(where weather mods permit). We have gone a step further and introduced realistic lights where ambient lighting matches the exterior lighting and where the interior lighting drape interiors with REALISTIC and bright sunlight. One moment there will be realistic coloured sunlight inside the entire cell, and the next minute the sun will be down and only candles light the interiors.

This feature is 100% functional in version 4.0.7 (with a patch for Vanilla weathers + Mods that alter only vanilla weather) and will be 100% compatible with COT 3.0 with fixes directly implemented into Climates of Tamriel, thanks to a collaboration with the wonderful jjc71! Do not use this patch with our weathers or with Climates of Tamriel. The adaptive interiors is already built into RLO modules, and the separate adaptive interior esp is purely for vanilla weathers.

Quite simply, spells now cast light when equipped. It adds an added element of immersion and excitement to the game. Magic casters may actually find you when they equip their spells, or having a spell equipped could give your location away. If you are lost and don't have a torch or a light spell, then equip any magic spell for a glimmer of hope. Do not expect the light to be very bright however!

NOTE : Please use this esp at your own risk, because it may cause flickering or not always function correctly due to engine limitations. It will NOT break your game, but due to how the engine works, it could cause other lights to not function correctly. There is a reason why Bethesda did not implement this and basically all we do is allow people who aren't very fussy to experience this feature. I personally do not use this module because I find it's side effects irritating. This will become a separate downloadable module come 4.0.7 and will no longer be updated/supported.

CAUTION : This esp also causes FPS dips on some machines. The fps dips usually occur out in the wilderness or around many light sources. Projected FPS loss on lower spec machines could be 10-15 fps (at times), while on a top end video card + decent quad core CPU the fps drops are minimal. If you do not like this esp or it causes you fps dips, then feel free to disable it via your game options.

There are a few mods out there that try to fix the very intrusive eye adaptation in vanilla Skyrim. These mods tend to speed up the eye adaptation so fast that you literally never see its effects. However this is not realistic at all. In real life it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour for a human to adapt to drastic lighting conditions and in some instances even hours.

So instead of speeding this process up, we actually made it so the process is so slow (slowest setting in the Creation Kit) and gradual that you may not notice it in game at all, because the gradual change is something you become accustomed to over the time period. This means that when you first walk into an interior from an exterior, your eyes may need to adjust to the darker interiors. Things may seem over contrasted and dim at first but after a few minutes of gaming, your character will naturally adjust to the new lighting without you even noticing. It is literally amazing that you are now better at seeing in the dark, yet it happened on what now seems a subconscious level - like real life.

There are dozens of mods released that fix all sorts of issues with dimming lights, mesh connection problems, shadow striping, lighting template fog issues, flickering and a whole host more. Every single esp in RLO is basically an Unofficial Lighting Patch. We fix issues that affect the lighting and also include the wonderful Particle Patch by Mindflux. This means you will no longer need shadow striping fixes, removed interior fog mods, mods that fix lighting placements, missing lights and so forth.

More stability, less bugs, more immersion, less hassles and less esp's to worry about.

RLO will also carry over many of the USKP fixes to ensure that RLO does not override any unofficial patches by Arthmoor. Thanks goes to Arthmoor and others for this head's up.

As explained in the Unofficial Lighting Patch section, all the striping in the game has been fixed and we have also nearly tripled the amount of shadow casting lights in the game and set the shadow bias so this issue does not happen. If you do find any, please do report it - it is something very easy to miss, considering there are over 10,000 edited lights in the mod (and over 600 of them are shadow casters!).

The CPU/GPU throttling fog which is in the game can be a very bad eyesore and frustrating for people using Ambient Occlusion. It also adds a fake layer of grey to most interiors that takes away the natural beauty of the lighting and even hinder hunter type classes. We have now removed this from every interior in the game and will be present in every single esp we release.

Realistic Lighting Overhaul is basically compatible with nearly every mod out there because it is so modular in nature. You can virtually pick whatever module you want and use it with other mods as long as they are modular in nature also. This means this mod is compatible with the great CLimates of Tamriel weather mod, Frostfall, Minty's Lightning mod, all ENB's and much much more. You are not forced into using anything if you do not want to.

The mod is even compatible with Dynavision, Imaginator and other weather mods. In fact, our interiors will adapt to other weather mods if you should have the need to install our interiors with another weather mod. You will instantly see changes in brightness, saturation levels hue, all according to the weather mod installed!

RLO is very lore friendly and actually aims to improve the lore by adding a lot more immersion to the game, feeding off lore from previous games while using the assets available in Skyrim.

RLO 5.0 introduces Dwemer Lighting Technology (DLT). This adds numerous contraptions, working vents, levers, valves and more to Dwemer buildings and dungeons. Please check out Markarths Understone Keep for a lore friendly introduction to this feature!

Troubleshooting Steps :

  • If the game crashes on load, please make sure you have the update.esm in your game folder and checked when you start the game. If you do not, please PM me with where you got your game and we'll go from there.
  • If you still crash while launching the game, then you have a missing master. This will more than likely be caused by installing a DLC support file (such as Dawnguard) without having Dawnguard purchased and installed on your system. Disable any DLC patches you have selected, and this should fix your problem.
  • Read the Readme that came with the mod download.
  • Please read THIS. It will explain what cells have been edited thus far.
  • Please read the FAQ.
  • Load order is important. This mod should be loaded after all player homes, lighting mods but on select cases, weather mods loaded afterward.
  • Monitor Calibration Guide Please read it! It will help have the mod look it's best! This is a very important step before using any lighting mod and also helps determine the quality of your monitor.
  • Do not use any Climates of Tamriel interior modules with this mod. None at all.
  • If you install RLO and begin to get crashes while in exteriors, this is likely because your save is already "dirty" by previously uninstalled mods.
While donations are great, we are just happy that you enjoy the mod.

Thank you to all the people who helped me survive numerous surgeries via their donations. You helped save a life.

I would love to thank everyone who donated here, but there are over 250 of you. I tried my best to reply to all your Paypal emails with a
personal note of gratitude.

A donation pop-up has been added to the file when you download or endorse. This is a Nexus file feature added by DarkOne and his team.
Many thanks goes to the Nexus who help modders out for all the hard work they do. So thank you.

On a final note, Tony (Sydney666) evenly distrubutes all donations made via the donations TAB to all active team members.


Tony (Sydney666)