Lighting might not seem that important in the big picture.
But once you try some of these add-ons, you’ll see why they are so popular.
Mods that change the lighting are a great way to improve the look of any game, but they are especially important for older games like Skyrim.
And with the following mods, you’ll be able to make the game look so much better that it won’t feel like Skyrim needs a remake anymore. OK, that’s too much. It still needs to be redone.
But if you change the way the light is coming in, you might not need that remake as much as you thought.
- 10. NLA – Natural Lighting and Atmospherics for ENB SE
- 9. Real Lighting Reshade
- 8. Grass Lighting
- 7. Subliminal Lighting
- 6. Darkness – Vanilla Lighting Tweaks
- 5. Luminosity Lighting Overhaul
- 4. Surreal Lighting
- 3. HDR Lighting and Weather Enhancement
- 2. Realistic Lighting Overhaul
- 1. Enhanced Lighting For ENB
10. NLA – Natural Lighting and Atmospherics for ENB SE
This mod is a faithful port of the Oldrim’s NLA lighting/weather plugin and ENB preset designed to work together.
It includes an ESP file that modifies all standard weathers, including clear, cloudy, foggy, rain, overcast, and snowy, for more natural colors and atmospheric effects.
The ENB preset was developed in tandem to take advantage of these changes. The preset is intensive, with nearly all effects enabled at varying quality to achieve the results in the screenshots.
Using the plugin or the preset on their own is not advised, as the preset is tuned for specific conditions and using it with vanilla weather or other weather mods may result in undesirable visuals.
9. Real Lighting Reshade
This is a ReShade preset for Skyrim that aims to create a more realistic atmosphere by enhancing lighting effects.
It makes lights brighter and shadows richer, creating a more natural feel to the game’s environments.
The preset is designed to work well in both exterior and interior spaces, with the sun shining brightly and reflecting on light-colored surfaces during clear days, and interiors being brightened while unlit areas are darkened.
8. Grass Lighting
This mod is a Community Shaders feature that replaces grass shaders in the game.
It includes a fix for directional light, point lights, improved lighting, and emulated complex grass.
This mod aims to enhance the visual quality of grass in the game and improve overall lighting effects.
7. Subliminal Lighting
Changes don’t always need to be massive to be good, as proven by the Subliminal Lighting mod.
Unlike most options here, Subliminal Lighting doesn’t overhaul the entire Skyrim lighting system – opting instead to introduce some choice changes that affect where light falls, just to look more natural.
Small choice changes, sure, but with amazing results.
Install and boot up a save file to see for yourself.
6. Darkness – Vanilla Lighting Tweaks
You came here for the lighting mods.
But we’re giving you a darkness mod… subverted expectations!
Jokes aside, this light tweak mod is well worth trying out.
It aims (and fully achieves) to improve immersion by enhancing lighting at night, and inside dark interiors, without overhauling the entire lighting system.
The end results are so good, that I now only adventure when it’s dark. It just looks so great.
5. Luminosity Lighting Overhaul
There are two types of lighting mods out there:
Ones that overhaul the system introducing all sorts of incredible features, and ones that prefer to tweak select things to improve what the developers worked so hard on.
Luminosity Lighting belongs to this second category.
Or rather, it dominates that category. Because the small changes you get just from this simple recoloring of the vanilla lighting system goes a long way to improve immersion.
And this mod really makes Skyrim look new & exciting once again.
4. Surreal Lighting
Skyrim is, to be honest, a game that looks pretty grim by default.
And it really couldn’t have turned out any other way, since the world is about to end.
If you’re tired of how grey the countryside and towns of Skyrim are, you should download the Surreal Lighting Mod and give it a try.
With this mod, Skyrim as a whole will be brighter and more colorful, with a more fantasy-like atmosphere that will make you forget about all the violence in the world.
If you like this look, you might also want to look into some custom ENBs.
3. HDR Lighting and Weather Enhancement
A real High Dynamic Range (HDR) experience without a screen that can handle HDR. Is it possible?
Yes, because mods can make almost anything happen.
This mod is called RCNR AE, but it’s even better than that.
It makes a realistic color palette that looks and feels as bright as it would if HDR support was there.
And the previews might not tell you much, so you should definitely install this baby and see what you think. In this case, you have to see to believe.
2. Realistic Lighting Overhaul
Enough with the small changes that show proper respect to the developer’s hard work.
The time has come to overhaul everything!
Realistic Lighting Overhaul is among the most popular lighting mods ever made for Skyrim, and there are a few good reasons for why.
But basically, this complete overhaul features thousands of changes to the vanilla game’s lighting system that required five different iterations to reach perfection.
And if you’re worried that these changes will make Skyrim run poorly on your system, fret not. Since every change is made taking the original lighting system limitations into account, so you won’t see your FPS drop much (if at all).
An excellent mod if you want to adjust the lighting, but also want to consider performance too.
1. Enhanced Lighting For ENB
The Enhanced Lighting For ENB mod might not have as many features as some others…
But it comes with something that fits in well with Skyrim’s story:
The freedom to choose.
The best thing about this ENB is how flexible it is. You can change almost all of its settings with a post-processing tool like ENBSeries, ReShade, or SweetFX.
So if you think something doesn’t look right, you don’t have to yell at the screen and hope the modder hears you. You can just change it yourself.
Since it’s your game in the end, giving you control over the lighting seems to make perfect sense.