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About this mod

Small texture replacer / mesh tweak to make the gemstone dragon claws (diamond, emerald, glass, ruby, saphire) look less hideous. Adds alll new textures, transparency and light refraction to the talons.

Permissions and credits
I have retired from modding Skyrim. I hereby give blanket permission for anyone to use, modify, rehost or port any of my content to Special Edition, provided proper credit is given.

It has been a blast being a part of this community and it makes me very happy that my work is still appreciated by so many. Have fun creating!


New in v3.0:

  • Refractions! The gems will now catch the light and pick up the colours of their surrounding. Ah, the pretties! Many thanks to skysan4298 for sharing his technique.
  • New and improved transparency, now includes the diamond claw. See comments section, there's a tiny catch.
  • Multilayer parallax for the panels on the diamond claw. You can now see the base shimmering through, isn't that neat?
New in v2.0:
  • Seperate textures, normals, cubemaps and speculars for all dragon claws. Each claw now has a unique look and feel. Cubemaps especially bring out the sparkling quality of the gemstones.
  • Fixed the low-poly ruby claw mesh, now has the same polycount as the others. Adjusted the UV map of all claws (except diamond) to make better use of their source texture - before almost half the texture went to waste, so effective resolution was much lower than 512x512.
  • Recoloured the glass dragon claw so it more closely resembles malachite (the material used for glass armor / weapons).
  • Added 80% transparency option for all claws except diamond.
This small mod is a replacer for the hideous gemstone dragon claws (diamond, emerald, glass, ruby, saphire). It adds a proper texture and normal map to the talons and slightly tweaks the meshes to bring out the sparkly nature of gems in a realistic, lore-friendly fashion. The stones look rough-cut and show toolmarks appropriate to primitive nord craftmanship. It would bring a tear to Lady Dialla's eye, Not-a-Cockroach.

Texture and normal map resolution is 512x512 and fully compressed (DXT5). In my opinion this is a good compromise for an object that is very small, but rare enough to not be a factor for performance (there are only 5 in the entire game). It's still a vast improvement over the default texture, which is 64x64 greyscale noise.

Screenshots are taken with Serenity ENB. They don't quite do the claws justice, you'd have to see the sparkles in motion ingame to get a feel for the effect.

Showcase of the claws by RichardPellets from GamerPoets:

Install with NMM or extract manually to your Skyrim/Data folder. There is no .esp included, so no danger to your savegames - just plug & play. Make sure you let this mod overwrite any meshes if prompted, otherwise you won't see any changes ingame.

My mod only affects the gemstone parts of the dragon claws (the talons), so it's fully compatible with other texture replacers such as Ruins Clutter Improved.

However it does replace the diamond, emerald, glass, ruby and saphire meshes so it's incompatible with any other mod that touches those, such as Improved Gemstone Dragon Claws.

Update: Incompatible with Ruins Clutter Improved v2.8! It includes it's own claw meshes and the texture layout changed. If you want to use my mod with RCI, do not install the dragon claw module of v2.8, instead manually copy the old textures from 2.7 to the appropriate folders.

Known Issues
There seems to be an issue in Skyrim's engine with transparent objects and particle effects. It causes the talons to disappear if they are below a water surface and loose all colour if viewed against fires or other particles. You will rarely notice this so I consider it a minor annoyance, but if you'd prefer there is a solid version of the latest release that also includes refraction. The claws will still pick up background colour and look pretty translucent, they just won't actually be see-through.

Also note that the refraction effect is sometimes not very precise, if two dragon claws are placed close to each other, their colours may bleed into each other, wich will look a bit strange. Engine related, nothing I can do about that.

Future Plans
I'm looking for a solution to the alpha blending issue in the transparent version, but Bethesda's file format is one huge, barely documented mess, so it's slow going. I'm also not quite happy with the brightness of the refraction effect yet, some of the claws tend slightly overreact to light sources (especially diamond). But as of now I haven't found any settings that influence light sensitivity. If you have information about this (or anything else worth mentioning about .nif-files) please contact me, I'm always willing to learn!

Tools Used
Gimp 2.6

Many thanks to skysan4298 for his help with refractions.

My Other Mods

If you're a mod author, check out my resource pack: Gemling Queen Resources