How to Use CBBE or UNP with Mods to Create Player Characters
Using Skyrim mods to create a beautiful (or handsome) Player character using new body models and high resolution textures
Hi, and welcome to my latest hub on the Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. In today’s hub, I will look at updating the graphics for your Player Character using a series of mods.
As your Player Character is central to your experience in Skyrim, you want it to look as good as possible and the mods we install as part of this hub, will greatly improve its appearance. In addition, all the graphical improvements we make to your Player Character will be applied to the Non Player Characters, making your Skyrim game look much better.
First, we will update first of all the body models with better looking high resolution textures and a better more natural looking figure. Then, we will look at replacing the face, hair and eye textures, again with higher quality, better looking textures.
After you have installed and configured the mods I introduce across both hubs, you could end up with a character that looks like something like mine:
Once we have updated the textures and the body models, you may want to customise your character further to take advantage of the new models and textures we installed. I have another hub that goes into greater detail about using Race Menu to fully customise your Player characters face, as well Character Creation Overhaul which allows you to customise your new characters stats and starting class (mage, thief etc) as well as adding birth signs similar to those found in previous Elder Scrolls games. My hub on this can be found here:
Installing Skyrim Unbound using Nexus Mod Manager to enhance the Player Creation experience in Skyrim
The first step is to install a couple of essential mods using Nexus Mod Manager. If you are unfamiliar with it, Nexus Mod Manager is an excellent tool that allows you to manage all your mods as well as installing them with a single click. I have a hub that covers Nexus Mod Manager in greater detail which can be found here:
For more advanced users, there is another Mod Manager called Mod Organizer. It allows you to:
- Have multiple profiles, all with separated save games and different installed mods
- Each mod is installed in its own folder to reduce conflicts and make removal easier
- Broken mods can be fixed and installed correctly
- Mod conflicts are flagged to you and resolution steps recommended
My hub on Mod Organizer can be found here:
Using Nexus Mod Manager, you can install Skyrim Unbound from the Nexus website .
Skyrim Unbound allows you to skip the opening sequence and fully customise your characters game start. You can choose starting equipment, starting place (you can start in any city, town or wilderness or even jail) and also delay the main story and turn off dragons. If you also install Sky UI you can change the configuration of this and many other mods mid game, so if you want to start the main quest or turn on random dragons you can do this using Sky UI. To learn more about both of these mods, I have a hub that covers other mods that I consider essential to everyone who plays Skyrim, which can be found here:
Installing mods to improve the body models used in Player Characters and Non Player Characters in Skyrim
The next step is to install either Caliente’s Body Mod or DIMONIZED UNP Female Body from Skyrim Nexus depending on your preference to replace the female characters models. I have chosen the Big Bottom Edition of Caliente’s mod (often known as CBBE) as I like the way that the models look, plus it has an underwear mode which I prefer and also, CBBE is far more configurable than UNP. If you activate the mod in Nexus Mod Manager, using a GUI installer, you can choose between body shapes, whether the models are nude, choose textures, eye brows and finally whether you would like to install some tools to help you further configure the models. CBBE comes with a utility called BodySlide which allows you to fully configure your Player Character’s body shape which I will cover in detail below.
You can see pictures below of a CBBE and Dimonized UNP female Player Character. I suggest that you check both mods out on the Skyrim Nexus mods, but be warned there are pictures there of an adult nature.
For the male Player Characters, I recommend:
Better males - Beautiful nudes and faces - New hairstyles - Faces – GeonoxFaces by Chris57 and FavoredSoul and Better males - Beautiful nudes and faces - New hairstyles - Underwear - Slip
You can see the before and after screenshots for both female and male which show the improvements we have made so far.
Use the Caliente’s Body Mod BodySlide tool to further customize your player character body shape in Skyrim
Where Caliente’s Body Mod really comes into its own is with the use of the BodySlide tool that is an optional extra that can be installed as part of the installation process. Using it, you can take the default body shape and change it using the sliders shown below. The changes you make will immediately affect your player character’s body shape the next time you launch Skyrim. To use Bodyslide:
- In the Skyrim data folder browse to \CalienteTools\BodySlide
- Run BodySlide.exe as Administrator
- Select CalienteBody as Outfit / Body which is the mesh that you are editing if you chose the no underwear version and Caliente Undies if you chose the underwear version
- Under Preset choose the option that most closely fits what you want your player character to look like
- Click Preview Small and Preview Big and an image will appear for both sets of sliders
- Adjust the sliders that you are interested in until you get the body shape you like. You can see below the extensive list of options you have available to choose from.
- Finally, click Create Bodies and BodySlide will create two nif files in the \Data\meshes\actors\character\character assets folder
If you want to save your settings as a preset, click Save Preset, name your preset. When you save it, make sure that you save it to \Data\CalienteTools\BodySlide\SliderPresets so that BodySlide can see it. Now, next time you use BodySlide, your new preset will be available.
Now, when you run Skyrim, your player character will use the new nif files you have created and will have a body shape identical to the one you created.
Installing new high definition textures to update the eyes, hair and faces of Player Characters and Non Player Characters in Skyrim
The first mods we will install are ApachiiSkyHair and ApachiiSkyHair natural Retexture. These excellent mods replace both the hair for Humans, Elves and Orcs for both males and females. You should install all the below packs from the mod:
- Apachii SkyHair - a Natural Retexture
- Apachii SkyHair - Female Retexture
- Apachii SkyHair - Female Retexture
- ApachiiSkyHair Female
- ApachiiSkyHair Female
You can see examples of female elvish hair from Apachii’s excellent mod below:
Next, we will install Coverwoman by mrLenski, which replaces all the faces for all non beast races with high resolution textures. The mod enhances the skin on the face, the eyebrows, lips and also the make-up. It also comes in five variants which gives you greater choice over how your Player Character as well as the games NPCs will look. I personally went with look one.
Then, we will upgrade the Khajits with Coverkhajiits which comes in both a male and female version to replace models and textures for both sexes. It also improves the textures for all Khajits in game (both Player Character and Non Player Characters) and comes in two variants the 1024 and 2048 texture sizes. For those of us with slower computers, the 1024 textures are a perfect mix of performance and quality.
To complete the texture replacers, we now install four more mods.
First we install Better Beast Races v2 by Xenius. This mod changes the shape (the meshes) of the beast races the Argonians and the Khajits, making their faces less angular and more rounded. This will work perfectly with Coverkhajits (which is purely a texture replacement) as Better Beast Races does not replace the in game textures, just the meshes that create the shapes that we see in the world of Skyrim.
You can see below the difference installing these mods makes to the Beast Races. They are lore friendly and make a massive difference to how they will look in game.
The next mod we will install is the Eyes of Beauty by Gabriel Mailhot. This excellent mod comes with four options:
Standalone which will either add or replace eyes just for your Player Character depending on the option you choose
- A version for elves just again for the Player Character
- There is also an expansion for Dawnguard
- Finally, there is a package that replaces all the eyes of Skyrims NPCs
You can choose anyone of the above options and install them and they will work perfectly together. Personally, I installed them all but that is personal preference which is thanks to the flexibility offered by the modder.
The last mods I am going to look at are high resolution brows and beards by Hvergelmir. As the title suggests, these replace the in game beards and brows with highly detailed textures. It replaces the existing beards with high resolution hand painted beards which look fantastic in game. Hvergelmir has done similarly excellent work replacing the brows of everyone in game (your Player character as well as all NPCs). They both come in 1,024 and 2,048 versions depending on how powerful your computer is.
By replacing the default body models and textures for our player characters body, face, eyes and hair, from a variety of mods we have been able to make our player character look much better and more attractive than would have been possible using the Skyrim defaults.
- Today, we have looked at changing the body model of your Player Character. The two most popular mods are CBBE and Dimonized UNP. Which you choose is up to your own personal preference. CBBE is curvier and more configurable, but both are extremely popular and well supported
- Next we looked at two mods to replace males textures Beautiful nudes and faces - New hairstyles - Faces – GeonoxFaces by Chris57 and FavoredSoul and Better males - Beautiful nudes and faces - New hairstyles - Underwear – Slip and Coverwoman that replaced female textures
- Then we looked at two mods to replace the vanilla textures and meshes for the beast races, Coverkhajit and Better Beast Races
- Finally we looked at the Eyes of Beauty and Beards and Brows by Hvergelmir
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the changes that these mods have introduced and that you go on to have a lot of adventures with your new character in the wonderful game world that is Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. Thanks for reading.
Which of the two body model mods do you prefer?
© 2015 Robbie C Wilson