Configuring ENB

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Configuring ENB

Post  Unreal Warfare on Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:26 pm

INTRODUCTION

So you want to download an ENB configuration and dive into it and start doing a bit of tweaking yourself. The only problem for you is you have no idea where to start. My aim here is to try and give you some guidelines and pointers to help push you in the right direction. This is not a definitive guide so I will not be explaining how to tweak every setting available, there are guides for that which will be linked in this article, just a push in the right direction.


CHOOSING A CONFIGURATION AS A BASE

The first thing you need to do is choose a configuration for yourself. There are many, many configurations out on Skyrim Nexus, and many you try may not be for you (even my own) so the first thing you have to ask yourself is what you want from your configuration. What appeals to you.

Some cinematic styles include Unreal Cinema, TV-ENB, Stakado's Cinemascope & CLENB..

Some realistic styles include Opethfeldt6, Superb ENB-RL, & Sharpshooters Extreme Vision ENB.

Some artistic styles include ENBPM.

Some colourful styles include K-ENB.

Please note this is just my opinion, there are many other good configurations out there, and yes, of course I am going to give a mention to my own configuration! Smile

Please, always credit the original author for their work, and make sure you gain permission to use any custom assets!


MAIN FILES IN ENB

So now you have chosen an ENB to work from, you have opened it up, followed the installation instructions, and have it up and running. So what's next?

Well first you need to know what each file is and what it controls. Normally you will see the following files (in no particualr order):

d3d9.dll (this is the binary and required to run ENB, you won't see this in most files, it nee to be downloaded from enbdev.com).
enbseries.ini (this is where the majority of settings are configured).
enbbloom.fx (this is where bloom is controlled, some configurations use custom bloom files created by Matso).
enbeffect.fx (in general this is where colour, contrast, tone mapping and brightness is controlled. Some configurations also use custom shaders and bloom effects created by HD6. You'll normally find vignettes, like letterbox view, here).
enbeffectprepass.fx (here is where custom Depth of Field code created by Matso can be found if your files uses it, newer versions of Matso's DoF include filmgrain which negate the need for a seperate effect.txt file if you configure it correctly).
enbpallette (the pallette gives you greater control over what colours specific areas of the game are rendered in. You can edit it in Photoshop).

These are the main files used in every ENB. Not every ENB requires a pallette but most will use one. Other than the pallette the other files can be edited with Notepad.


OPTIONAL FILES

Other optional files that may be included are:

effect.txt (gives some extra options like sharpening, film grain, etc).

You can also use other post proccessing applications aswell like SMAA, FXAA, & Realistic Lighting. I won't go into the details of these applications here as I want to focus on ENB but I will list the files you will normally use.

For FXAA you'll normally use:

d3d9_fxaa.dll
injFX_Shaders
injFX_Settings.h
shader

For SMAA you'll normally use:

d3d9_smaa.dll
injector
SMAA
SMAA.h

For Realistic Lighting you'll normally use:

Realistic Lighting.esp (main file)
Realistic Lighting Patcher.esp (this always gets placed after Realistic Lighting in Load Order or your changes will not show. Always delete the old Realistic Lighting Patcher.esp before updating).
Realistic Lighting Java Patcher (not normally included, get this from the Realistic Lighting file page if you wish to configure it yourself)
Realistic Lighting configuration settings (not always included, get this from the Realistic Lighting file page if you wish to configure it yourself)

For Further Dark Dungeons for ENB you'll normally use:

Further Dark Dungeons for ENB.esp (makes all dungeons operate under the night lighting settings).

You may also find some authors include sun textures or water textures. The water textures are designed to keep water foam from being too bright whenyou start playing with fire effects so can be important to use. The sun textures are normally author choice, though sun settings will normally be configured around them.


USEFUL CONFIGURATION TOOLS

Ok, so now you have an understanding of what files you should expect to see in most configurations I will now point you in the direction of the Guide for ENB series mods. This guide covers what every setting does in the enbseries.ini and enbeffect.fx files. It also covers what setting controls other post proccessing applications being used in conjunction with ENB.

You can also use the ENB Customizer tool which is a good tool for those who want to get started but without diving into all the code.


PERFORMANCE

Be mindful some effects can really hurt performance, for yourself or others. Some of us love to pile on the effects but realistically users can have issues running them because they like to run a load of high resolution textures on a mid range rig without optimization. With this in mind it may be a good idea to check out, and encourage other users to use, the Texture Optimizer which will compress textures to a manageable level for your videocard to proccess.

The things that tend to impact performance in ENB itself are in general:

Ambient Occlusion
Complex Indirect Lighting
Depth of Field
FXAA (with Anti Aliasing at a high level)

SMAA, and FXAA without Anti Aliasing, can still have a performance hit though not as high, depending on the settings. FXAA has a bigger impact than SMAA (from my experience).

effect.txt file can have a minor perofrmnace hit. Normally only 1-3 FPS max.


THINGS TO REMEMBER

There's so many questions that can be asked about configuring ENB that I couldn't possibly begin to start listing everything here. However some general pointers I will give follow.

Have a plan of what you want to achieve with your configuration and stick to it. It's so easy to get sidetracked and lose the aim of what you were originally trying to achieve.

Make regular backups and make notes of major changes made. You might edit your configuration and realise after a while it really isn't how you want it to be. Believe me this is very easily done. Editing configurations always seems to be a never ending proccess and you tweak and tune. Sometimes you'll find you can tweak too much!

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most people within the ENB community are very helpful and will happily answer any questions you have if you get stuck. Notable people to follow especially are Matso and HeliosDoubleSix who have great experience with coding for ENB. Other users you can approach are myself, Unreal Warfare (obiviously), Kyokushinoyama, Midhras, & Mindflux.

Don't bend to the will of others. Remember, you do this for yourself first and foremost. Everyone else comes second. If you start making the configuration for everyone else it will look nothing like what you intended it to be and you will lose track of what you want to achieve. There's a fine line between fixing problems and making everyone else happy. Make sure you are happy first and make sure the configuration is tailored to your system's strengthes before you start reconfiguring for others.

Don't give up!. It can be really easy to get so far and think, that's it, I've had enough. Or to be disheartened by bad feedback or lack of endorsements. Try and get the constructive feedback and work on what fixes problems and don't get caught up in drama. If it's not constructive, ignore it. A lack of endoresement doesn't mean you configuration is bad, but maybe it just isn't to everyone elses taste. Different people prefer different things. Some of the better looking configurations don't get the recognition they deserve by the majority, for a variety of reasons.

Credit every author for their work if you use it. It's very disrespectful to an author to use their work without credit or permission. Most will allow you to if you just ask nicely. Don't get caught out and end up with your configuration getting pulled from the Nexus because you couldn't take a few minutes to type up a request.

Have fun! It doesn't need to be tiresome. Do it in your own time and enjoy the proccess of bringing Skyrim closer to your vision of what it should be.

I hope this helps to give you a slightly better understanding of what to expect in an ENB, what resources are available to you to configure ENB, and where to go for help if you need it. If you require further information, or just have a random question, feel free to ask.
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