Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

Remastered high-definition textures for the ten dragon types of vanilla Skyrim, Dragonborn, and Dawnguard.

Permissions and credits

*Not my ENB. Primary screenshots taken with vanilla lighting*

Screenshots are welcome, if anyone wants to make a good/new video for SSE I'll replace this one above!

      Dragons look pretty ugly in vanilla Skyrim. The models/sculpts are great, but the textures are far too low resolution for such a huge creature (same size texture as a suit of armor in fact) and the meshes had all sorts of corners cut in the name of optimization. I learned from Jonah Lobe (the artist who actually made these things) that the original assets were originally much higher quality (4k textures and better meshes), but things were downgraded a few times due to all the performance issues Bethesda was experiencing on X360 & PS3.

Moving on, Skyrim came out & we all cried at the terrible textures on PC. The HD DLC came out and we cried a little less. Fast forward a few years and Special Edition is here. As far as textures are concerned (AFAIK anyways), Skyrim SE just merges the old HD DLC assets into the base game with no changes. The higher resolution textures in the old HD DLC/Special Edition made most dragons look better than there original incarnations, but by no means great. Skyrim uses the same size textures for its massive dragon models as it does for suits of armor. In all my time playing around with dragons I noticed a lot of minor nit-pick issues with the models & textures. Horns had mismatched colors, the eye textures were atrocious, everything looked too washed out, the details were blurry, there were seam issues all over the place, the translucent files were terribly small, and there is some strange "grease-like" effect applied to several of the meshes.

Ok cool, what does this all mean? Dragons look fine from a distance but fairly awful up close. Bellyache & I wanted to fix that. What started as a re-work of Odahviing turned into a full pass on each of the ten dragon species. The amount of changes on each dragon type varies, with some needing more work than others. Regardless Bellyache & I visually inspected each texture/mesh and corrected as much as we could within a timely manner. At least without completely re-working the entire thing from scratch.

Improvements over Special Edition textures:

*Coloring looks more natural and less desaturated than before. Many horns/spines were poorly colored or completely the wrong color.
*Fixed/Reduced as many bad texture & mesh seams as possible.
*Removed or significantly reduced the 'Grease-like' look on some dragon models, which exacerbated seam issues.
*Odahviing's gotten a facelift. He was completely missing an eye texture, coloring was terrible (he was pink), and corrected several seams.
*Blood Dragon was just plain ugly. Fixed the Alpha-channel, gave it eyes that don't look like a frog, and introduced some yellow coloring in the wings and membranes for added contrast & detail.
*Alduin is slightly darker and completely grey-scale, enhancing his stylized theme that is inspired from volcanic rock & glass.
*Completely new eye texture for most dragon types.
*The Ancient Dragon never had a high-resolution texture, it does now.
*Increased resolution of the translucent file for the various dragon wings, creating exponentially higher detail within the wing membranes.
*Changed the color of the mouth/gums from purple to a more traditional pink, filled in some ugly holes where teeth apparently used to be.
*We tried to fix up the Revered, Serpentine, and Legendary Dragons from DLC's... But they're bad, even after the final HD DLC update, it didn't help very much.


Nexus Mod Manager - Download and "activate", click "Yes" when prompted to overwrite any files if asked.

Manual Method - Drag & drop the "textures" and "meshes" folders that are zipped inside this archive into your "Data" folder of your Skyrim Directory. Overwrite any/all files when asked. Keep the main archive so you may reference it to see what files there are to uninstall if necessary.

FAQ & Information

Q: What resolution are these? Is there a performance hit?
A: Texture sizes are identical to the base Skyrim: Special Edition textures (2048 x 2048). There will be no performance drop as long as you do not exceed your video-cards VRAM buffer. Anyone with a 1GB video card should be able to use these perfectly fine.

Q: Are these compatible with "XXX" mod?
A: This is a texture mod in loose-file format. If you install this mod over another mod that also has loose files, this mod will work. Most mods (Like Deadly Dragons) are in .esp/.bsa format, and loose files take priority over .bsa archives. So again, it will work.

Q: Will you upload 4096, 1024, or 512 resolutions?
A: No. These are edits directly from the HD DLC. There are no "other versions". If your system can't handle one or two 2048 resolution textures at once, you have other more serious problems. Up-scaling these to 4096 resolution and simply saving them is a waste of system resources and wouldn't look any better.

Q: Will you also work on a Automatic variants package or other color variations?
A: Bellyache is on hiatus from modding at this current time. An AV package might someday be on the table, but there are no plans to to do one at this time. Color variations or alterations are not going to happen. That's not what this mod is for.

Q: Why isn't Durnehviir included?
A: Durnehviir is literally a flying carcass, one that's covered in green goo. Any real "work" done to old Durni would just be covered up by that effect. Furthermore, I've no idea what to do to the old boy in the first place... He's undead and he looks the part. It's not worth the effort to try and "fix" him (whatever that means) when it'll just be covered up by the green goo-slime anyways. So he's being left out.

Q: The archive contains more than just texture files, what gives?
A: Yes, the archive contains some altered meshes, eye textures, a few translucent files for the wings, modified dragon LOD's, and the textures themselves.

Q: I don't see a (big) difference from vanilla Skyrim SE?
A: This is a fix/enhancement mod, not an overhaul or re-work. Some of what has been changed is difficult to notice unless you take a very close look at a stationary dragon - from up close. That's not something that happens in the game very much.The purpose of this is to "fix" or enhance Skyrim's featured creature. To de-uglify them without turning them into something they weren't intended to be. Nothing more and nothing less.

Q: I still see some stretching and seam issues, do explain?
A: Did the best we could, some of these meshes are set up fairly poorly and some textures are downright terrible. The frost dragon's spines are particularly bothersome and the DLC dragons are terrible in general. Some of the neck/tail seams are still there, but not nearly as pronounced as before.

Q: I don't like "XXX", please change/remove it?
A: No. If you don't like it, don't use it. If you don't want a certain texture or disagree with a certain change, delete that texture from your game folder. I'm not cluttering the download page because you want X and not Y. Either don't use it or grab a copy of Photoshop and deal with it yourself.

Q: Why do your screenshots look so bad?
A: Completely vanilla classic Skyrim on Ultra, but mostly because I suck at it. Please take some quality screenshots and submit them!

Bellyaches other work:
Bellyaches Animal and Creature Pack
Bellyaches New Dragon Species and Ohdaviing Replacer