Skyrim Special Edition

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cthunsthrall - MTichenor

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About this mod

Dark but reflective ebony armor and weapons based on upscaled and modified textures from SkyRealism - Shiny and Cathedral Armory. High res diffuse maps, uncompressed normals, fixed meshes, compatible with LeanWolf's weapons and some patches for other mods. Check the pictures for comparisons. Also includes new unique Ebony Mail.

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This started as just another texture upscale project for my own personal use. I was using Cathedral Armory, which I learned uses the meshes and textures from MTichenor's SkyRealism - Shiny. Which are great mods but the textures are BC3 and there are problems with a few meshes, especially after porting them to SSE. I was gradually upscaling and tweaking the textures, testing different variants of the armor meshes, etc. when I got permission to upload the whole thing, both textures and meshes. So this mod is effectively standalone, doesn't require anything else. I actually redid all the meshes from the vanilla SSE meshes, replicating the mesh fixes from USSEP. This avoids some mesh problems in Cathedral Armory, like meshes in the LE format or meshes with missing player models, orphaned nodes etc.

The base version is already compatible with LeanWolf's better-shaped weapons. There will be a patch for jg1's Slimmer/Believable weapon meshes on their mod pages and on this page there's a special patch for rudy102's arrows with ENB particle lights which uses LeanWolf's arrow proportions but keeps the glow and ENB light. Now there's also an optional file with new unique meshes and textures for the Ebony Mail, so it will match the material of the regular ebony armor but still stand out with its chainmail and blue cloth. So this way you can wear a full ebony set with the ebony mail and have it all match even better than in vanilla. This mod is based on meshes & textures that are in Cathedral Armory and SkyRealism - Shiny but it doesn't require either mod. If you use Cathedral Armory too, just overwrite it with this.

As usual, the process was removing BC1 compression from all the textures with ESRGAN, then upscaling the diffuse maps and some of the normal maps. Then using photoshop to make more specific changes, some of which you can see in the pictures above. If you want to know more about that process or how to do it yourself, there's more information and links in the descriptions for some of my previous mods. In terms of meshes I also deviated a bit from the Cathedral/SkyRealism versions, just to try to get the reflectiveness consistent on every item. Harder than you'd think since the metallic maps are all over the map in terms of brightness... no pun intended.

I've included a lot of different comparison shots in the images section. Some are just comparisons to Cathedral Armory, others are comparisons to vanilla and there are even comparisons to aMidianborn ebony armor by CaBaL120. I just included those since there aren't many ebony retextures out there and I'm sure people will be wondering if these are "better" than Cabal's.

The reason I bothered with these rather than upscaling the aMidianborn ebony armor is a bit complicated. The aMidianborn ebony armor is really good. It's not as reflective and for me the engravings don't look as realistic as the vanilla engravings, but it's still really good. The reason I don't personally use it is because there aren't any matching ebony weapon textures in aMidianborn. Its armor style doesn't really match the vanilla weapon engravings in my opinion, and there aren't a lot of ebony weapon textures to pick from to try to find one that does match. SkyRealism has some really good textures compared to vanilla, and covers both weapons and meshes. Some of them just had some pretty heavy compression artifacts that become really noticeable due to the intense environment mapping. Not super noticeable in normal gameplay but in 1st person, or playing at 4K, you start to notice the blocks and the distortion of the engravings and let's just say it motivates someone with OCD to make some adjustments lol.

So I've included comparisons to aMidianborn just so it's easier to decide which you personally like better. After many hours working on this I still don't think it's an easy decision. Not every texture was simple to improve, I'd like to start from scratch on a few of them but don't have a lot of free time at the moment. I think the screenshots should help indicate that these textures work better if you want the armor and weapons to be consistent or if you really like the satin reflections, but aMidianborn's work better if you really like a lot of sharpness and contrast in the ebony armor.

I've uploaded several other upscaled texture projects too, including aMidianborn armor and NordwarUA's armor mods, plus a dirt cliffs overhaul. You can find them all on my user page. They all tend to complement each other pretty well because I make these mods for my own use, and I try to improve on whatever mods I already have installed if possible.

I have a feeling that I'm forgetting to mention something here so if you have any questions let me know in the posts section.