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#1 z929669

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:43 PM

Proper ENB Compares

I am in the process of creating a more comprehensive and representative suite of screenshots of several different relevant ENBs.

Configuration

I used Mod Organizer to prepare specific profiles as recommended by each of the presented ENBs over the top of STEP:Core 2.2.8. Each configuration uses the default recommended settings of the respective ENB (less the letterbox effect, which I personally do not like). This means that all recommended lighting and weather mods and INI configurations were used as per the author's recommendations (fGamma=1.0000 if not defined explicitly by the ENB). Thus, I have mad no changes other than disabling letterbox for maximum screen comparisons, since many use it and many don't.

I am going to add files for each ENB to soften the downloads. The best way to view these is to extract all archives to a single directory. They are named such that all screens and versions will be in a consistent sequence as listed following. This list will grow as I add the 11 screens of saves I have configured specifically for this presentation. I will upload to the Nexus if I finish and have something respectable enough that passes muster here. Let's begin:
  • Bleak ENB - ELFX-based. Just as the name says. Well balanced overall. (I used the no vignette and no grain optionals)
  • Falkonian ENB - ELFX-based. Also a bit oversaturated, but good lighting and color tone is also good.
  • Grim & Somber ENB - Realistic Lighting, fantasy, interiors way too bright (that is RL I now know), even with darker dungeons (saturation is good though). RL is not required, so it may be better without that. water subsurface scattering is also an issue. Not happy with the skylighting ... there is no color in the sky and the sun is all but absent.
  • HRK ENB - CoT-Realistic lighting, realistic. Good balance overall. Very realistic. Skys/suyn are not my favorite though. Realistic lighting causes the strange colors and glow in caves, just like Grim & Sober, so RL may be causing what I don't like here (exacerbating vanilla)
  • SkyLight ENB - CoT-ELFX-based, realistic, water subsurface scattering needs fixing (this is under 58148 weather). Also, interiors on clear days are much darker than on snowy days for some reason. IMO, interiors should be almost the same in any weather with only subtle diffs (except day should be crisper and cooler than night due to window lighting). I would want to delete all interior lighting references from the weather INIs and use the global for interiors.
  • Therion ENB - ELFX-based, dark/bleak, fantasy - uniquely stylized, a bit too grainy and dark at dusk/dawn, incredible (IMO).
  • Unbleak ENB - ELFX-based. The opposite extreme of Bleak. Too saturated IMO, but not bad ... need a Midbleak version (I used the no vignette and no grain optionals)
I am stopping here for now, as I have developed some of my own ideas about ENBs ... need to do some testing for my own game. I am especially impressed by Therion's. It is just fantastic and needs a closer look. I also like RealVision and Seasons of Skyrim, so will be looking at those more closely as well. I'll return here when I have more to share ;)

#2 CJ2311

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 11:31 PM

Nice work z. Definitely thinking of giving Seasons of Skyrim (True HDR) a try now. Also, I suppose it's a bit late now, but I think two other popular ENBs could have been interesting to cover : Phinix Natural ENB, and UNBleak ENB. They both don't depend on any weather lighting mod either.
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#3 z929669

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 11:58 PM

Nice work z. Definitely thinking of giving Seasons of Skyrim (True HDR) a try now.
Also, I suppose it's a bit late now, but I think two other popular ENBs could have been interesting to cover : Phinix Natural ENB, and UNBleak ENB. They both don't depend on any weather lighting mod either.

I'll take a look at them now and update the file ;)

#4 Marlen

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:53 AM

This one for vanilla lighting, Natural Lighting and Atmospherics for ENB by Confidence-Man: https://www.nexusmod...rim/mods/50065/
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#5 z929669

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:24 AM

[quote name=''Marlen' pid='68673' dateline='1391928796']This one for vanilla lighting' date=' Natural Lighting and Atmospherics for ENB by Confidence-Man: https://www.nexusmod...rim/mods/50065/[/quote']
This one requires speciall additions as well. I'll do another pass with a select few based on these results.

OP updated

#6 PlanetExp

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 06:43 AM

That is a great comparison! Thank you! Been sticking with Phinix for a while after Skylight became unbearably dark (for me), but have to give Seasons of Skyrim (true HDR) a go now.

Here's the list with respective links to nexus:

/edit
At the time of writing only 50% of the links work, but I can't see anything wrong with them so I suspect its nexus that is overloaded or just really slow.
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#7 Aiyen

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 07:13 AM

Nice overall job overall Z! A few points if I may. There is absolutely no reason not to include the particle patch... it only alters mesh shader flags. Only when ENB is active will this matter. Vanilla will still look the same. Also more vitally. If you alter the ingame brightness then it will affect how screenshots are taken and which programs you use to do it. Any ENB that relies on this is sorry to say poorly setup in that regard. I know many older presets, my own previous versions included used to rely on this, but it is just not optimal. Anyways it is worth mentioning. Also as a small sidenote about my ENB: It is only dark if you do not use what I say in the install! Certain Vanilla image spaces produce darkness.. which means you have not used the setup I said. However since quite a few people seem to think this is a major flaw, then the next update (not the one today) will include all vanilla image spaces overhauled so that the patch I have for vanilla will make vanilla look nice again. However my ENB is always going to require an .esp that fixes this, since making an ENB with all of the default image space values on will just never work, and require many .esp to fix many locations.

#8 z929669

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 04:41 PM

@PlanetExp Thanks for providing the links! @Aiyen I use Fraps for my screens, not ENB if that matters. My screens also look exactly like they do in game, so I assume my captures are accurate. I also know that your ENB (and some of the others) require some additional options and config, so I will look at those separately. I just wanted to do a fast compare outside of reliance on MO, since load times are hugely reduced by running Skyrim directly through SKSE. More to come.

#9 plaGGy

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 04:25 AM

Nice work! I guess you have always used the most recent version, with the ENB settings out of the box?
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#10 z929669

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

Nice work!

I guess you have always used the most recent version, with the ENB settings out of the box?

Correct. This version of the compares is the "quick and easy". Right out of the box with latest enbseries and no fussing around.

I am working on a more comprehensive and fussy compare of all the relevant ENBs, but that takes time, as each ENB has specific requirements/recommendations for lighting and weather taht I need to profile for each in MO (and load times are much longer :/ )

#11 Allsunday

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:29 PM

Also more vitally. If you alter the ingame brightness then it will affect how screenshots are taken and which programs you use to do it. Any ENB that relies on this is sorry to say poorly setup in that regard. I know many older presets, my own previous versions included used to rely on this, but it is just not optimal. Anyways it is worth mentioning.


The difference could be huge. True Vision does require the in-game brightness turned all the way down, but Bleak/Unbleak are "meant to be used with default game brightness (slider set to the middle position)." (Bleak readme quote). True Vision with default in-game brightness is just too damn bright.

Would you mind explaining the "relying on in-game brightness" thing? I mean, how is it some ENBs rely on this and others don't? I thought it was of equal importance for every preset and if the readme didn't mention the in-game brightness you were supposed to leave it in the middle (default).

Anyway, nice work z! I love Bleak and that's the ENB I use but Quietcool is one of my favorites and I would love to see it here. You may want to take Matso and Opethfeldt into consideration too.
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#12 Aiyen

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 01:56 PM

The reason it is a bad idea to alter the fGamma is that you can technically get the same look using enbeffect.fx. However most older presets do still not use GUI controls for such things, hence it is much easier to adjust fGamma ingame then bother with the enbefffect.fx values where you have to trial and error your way through it. Since the gamma is a power function, then even slight variations from what the preset creator suggest can create huge differences. However these days then it is just a bad practice, since it is silly to make your users go alter that setting because you did not want to spend the proper amount of time tweaking the enbeffect.fx file! At least in my opinion!

#13 Allsunday

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:25 PM

Thank you, now I understand. I hope popular ENBs like Seasons of Skyrim drop this bad practice then.
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#14 z929669

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:39 PM

FYI, I could not get any impact from adjusting in-game brightness setting under Therion ENB ... not sure how this setting impacts others ... is this the same as the gamma setting in the INI? Also, Therion is fantastic in clear daytime using its recommended settings/mods. Nights and interiors are much too dark on my system though (it does not use CoT but rather ELFX) ... screens not available  ... yet. Most ENB stress either in-game brightness at lowest setting (with a few exceptions, usually 50%) and/or gamma=1.0000 (with a few exceptions; 1.2000, 1.4000, etc)

#15 Aiyen

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:43 PM

The fGamma in the ini is the same as the ingame slider. A value of 1.0 is the default middle value. And yeah it is normally either all the way down or in the middle... all depends on the basis that the preset creator started from. It is a real pain to change once you have something that look nice, since then you have to retweak essentially all other values. Hence why they do not go away from it again... it does involve quite a bit of work.



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