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How the hell do I mod my Skyrim SE? Series 3

Ma Ri


From Ugly to Beauty Skyrim

Episode Three - CME Presets for  Skyrim SE, how to use them?


For this Series I will show you guys...


- How to use CME Presets in Skyrim SE?

- What is the easiest way to use ECE?

- How to easily export nif Files when using ECE?

- Why would I use ECE instead of RaceMenu?

- Why I needed to install RaceMenu as well but it does not needed to be check on the Mod List?




From the last Episode, I believe that we installed  NIO Replacer folder that contains both NetImmerseOverride .pex and .psc and also the skee.dll and skee.ini in it's SKSE folder. But you may wonder why?, Why do we need this folder and why we did install this folder in this way?


Why do we need this folder?


NIO Replacer contains nioverride.pex and nioverride.psc which are needed to some mods that needed NetImmerse Override plugins. They are not actually plugins but they somehow be able to make these mods to work in the game. You also have a choice not to really install these files that is if you are not using any mods that requires NIO. As we all know there is no NetImmerse Override in Skyrim SE and if we ever use the NIO of Skyrim LE even if you ported it, the outcome will be an error, unrecognizable or unsupported by Skyrim SE. That is why some authors made a way to somehow make a working NIO in Skyrim SE that is by creating a mod which is the RaceMenu SSE which has a built-in NIO on it. Remember we just took those NIO that was originally from the RaceMenu mod. And since RaceMenu will not work together with Enhanced Character Edit (ECE) that is if you want to use ECE sliders, the RaceMenu sliders will always replace ECE no matter where you place it on your Load Order. In short, RM will always overwrite ECE when you set it on active or you activated both of them in MO2 at the same time. Some of the mods that needed NIO are NIO Highheels, NIOPA, and more because NIO's usage was particularly on the placements or positionings of Characters, NPCs, Creatures, Equipments, and Objects we use in the Skyrim game. So in the preparations of installing mods more in the future, we installed these files ahead of time if that particular mod will somehow needed the NIO.


This tutorial is about using ECE, right? So to be able to use it, we will not activate RaceMenu on the Mods List because it will only prevent ECE to work in the game. And to make ECE really work in-game, there are files in the RaceMenu mod that are needed. We also included those files in the NIO Replacer folder we made from the previous tutorials. These files are the skee64.ini and the skee64.dll which involves on the Character Creations and Modifications of ECE. These files can be found on the SKSE folder of NIO Replacer folder we made earlier and will have a connection on SKSE for the management of our characters if we modify it using mods.






Why we did install this folder in this way?


Just like how the placements of  folders in the RaceMenu before, we just copy it on that way, so the MO2 can be able to read it and make it work in our Skyrim SE game. We just follow how these folders are arranged and leave it like that, it is like we are cheating the MO2 to run RaceMenu eventhough it is deactivated in the Mods List.


You all can see the arrangement I did right? The RaceMenu mod is always there but it is deactivated there so to be able to run Enhanced Character Edit, I only activated the NIO Replacer and the Enhanced Character Edit mods in the Mods List.


Also from the last Episode, I show you how to properly install Enhanced Character Edit and to make it work by also making a folder which are the destination path for the player's character presets. We placed that presets folder of ECE called CME_save shortcut on the desktop for easy access.  So if we added more presets that came from Mods sites then we can easily overwrites or replace and even added more here.  


I renamed it as CME_save - Skyrim SE because there is another folder there with the same name and I am using that folder for Skyrim LE. As you can see there's two Mod Orgnizer 2 shortcuts, one for Skyrim LE and another for Skyrim SE. I didn't do/use that game instance settings of MO2 to not make me and the program confuse on the folder paths of those two games. I am not recommending you to do this as well especially for those new modders out there, because it will really be confusing to use two Skyrim game at the same time. Just focus on one and that is the Skyrim Special Edition game that we are having a tutorials.





How to use CME Presets in Skyrim SE?



I took this part of the tutorial from Skyrim LE because the process of using ECE there is almostthe same in Skyrim SE


Just always remember that the folder of ECE/CME Presets will only appear once you saved you very first character using ECE slots. By default it will always go to Slot 1. When you are done doing that then the folder will appear in the Documents folder. There you will find a newly made folder named My Games.



Then open the My Games folder, under it you will find the Skyrim or Skyrim Special Edition  folder which designates for Skyrim LE/SE game. Just open that Skyrim folder.



There under that folder you will find several files and folders as well. The folder that we really need was named as CME_save. Just right click that folder then tap Send to and select Desktop (create shortcut).



And then in your desktop, the CME_save  Shortcut will be available meaning it will be easily accessible to you from now on.



When you open that folder, you will see the save CME Preset file that you saved previously in-game. You can use readily used the CME Presets of others by just replacing/renaming the number of the file name. Also no matter what Skyrim you are playing wether it is for LE or SE, CME will always work. The shape of the face/head will always remain, the only issues are when you didn't installed the required face/body parts yet. For example the CME preset was using Tullius Hair and you didn't installed the Tullius hair yet, the outcome in your game was that CME Preset will use the default hairs available in-game instead. So always remember when using CME Presets, to always know what are  the required face or body parts that they used in that particular preset before using it. To make it really look like the one you are expecting, then you need to install these required face/body parts mods.



Well I already have the Ari and Arini CME Presets from Skyrim SE so we will just use those characters for now and replace the default. It will not really look like on the picture below because I didn't installed the face and body parts mods yet. I just Copy the two CME presets I saved before and Paste it to the CME_save folder to replace the existing _1_commonTriRaces.slot there. Now you will expect that the look may come close to just like on the picture below. I like having a photos of a particular preset so that I will know what the outcome appearance might be. It will not really look like on that source photo but it will still look close to it somehow.



I play the game and open the showracemenu to modify the look of the vanilla character I saved earlier in the game. I went to the Body Interface and selected the Slot Load sliders there. A new tab will appear and let you select which Slot you are going to use, but don't ever select any Slot there yet. Select the Next option instead, so that a new tab will appear that will show you Slots 1 to 8. Just select Slot 1 and the character will eventually change it's appearance. The Slot 1 for me which is my character Ari will look like below when I use slot 1.




And I added more CME Presets from the outside sources or Mods sites. Always remember that the format of the CME should always be in this form, _x_commonTriRaces.slot where x stands for the number of the slot in the ECE which it will use. 




CME 1 is Ari character I used which is the girl on the left of the picture while CME 2 is Arini on the right. These are really their original amd actual look in the game which was made by Craven. The appearances of my characters was slightly different from that picture because I am using a different skin textures for them.



The photo below is the real appearance of Pretty Lili which is on CME 3 while CME 11 was my edited version of her, it was using a black hair and eyes on that slot.




Slot 4 was used by the character named EarJN which a CME Preset I randomly got from Tullius Channel Site.




You can see from the gifs below, how the CME presets I saved to CME_save folder works actually on the Enhanced Character Edit Interface in the Skyrim SE game.


I started on CME 11 - Lili Black from Slot 11 then switched to Slot  1 (CME 1) which is my Ari character.



From Slot 1 - Ari, I switch to Slot 2 which is used by my Arini character. You can notice that Arini got a Loli appearance that is why she is shorter and more childlike.



From Slot 2 - Arini, I switch to Slot 3 which is used by my Lili character.




From Slot 3 - Lili, I switch to Slot 4 which is used by EarJN character.




From Slot 4 - EarJN, I switch back to Slot 11 which is used by another Lili character.


With the gifs above, you will now have an idea how these CME saves actually work in-game. This is how we use the CME save as our character in the game and when you want to switch character, appearance or look - then you just choose from the Slots number that was being used. When you choose an empty slot then there will be no character to use from there and the ECE will notify you that it was not being used.






What is the easiest way to use ECE?



ECE or Enhanced Character Edit is a mod that replaces the built-in Character Creator/Modifier/Editor in the game Skyrim LE/SE that is why it looks almost the same with the vanilla character editor in-game. ECE adds up a lot of sliders, races, editor and slots where you can save and be able to change your character/ appearance at any time.


The easiest way to use ECE is just by typing showracemenu after tapping the tilde "~" key of your keyboard. This is also the way to open the character editor with the vanilla character editor and with RaceMenu mod. Modifying your character using ECE is quite easier because the Menu Interface was almost the same with the vanilla editor of the game so if you switch among the Options of the Menu to go to each part of the head and even the body parts, it is much easier by just scrolling the sliders left or right until you achieved the desired appearance of your character.


RaceMenu was also easy to use and very user friendly as well but since the focus of this tutorial is about ECE, then we will have another tutorial dedicated on using RaceMenu. If you look carefully on the Mods List of my MO2, the RaceMenu mod was also installed there but is not activated to prevent any conflicts on using ECE in-game. Practically if you want to edit the face or part of it by manually touching it, it is best to use the RaceMenu. We can also solve some issues for example neck seams we will encounter in the game by using this mod, and that is why it is still needed to have this installed in your MO2.


ECE can also be used in a way to just copy and paste the presets directly or replacing the existing CME Presets on the CME_save folders which is easier compared to RaceMenu Presets that needed two or three files for the preset to work on it. ECE only needed 1 file character preset in the form _x_commonTriRaces.slot  where x is the Slot number used in the ECE  and can be used directly and readily in game. While RM uses two files which are the form x.nif and x.dds files respectively to be able to use that character preset and sometime it also needed another file in the form x.jslot just for the head mold or shape. The x in RaceMenu represents any name/words as long as it was an acceptible name. And  usually these three files are all named the same.


To show you how to use ECE,  first we needed an existing CME Preset coming from the outside sources or mods websites. Of course if you want to make your very own original character that is also a choice for you so then there's no need to use other's CME presets for this particular reason. But for the sake of an easy way to use these presets then you just need to copy/paste or replace an existing or other's CME presets.


First, we needed to go find, search and log in to your trusted Mods Website for example the Nexus Mods. Here you can find a lot of mods not only for Skyrim LE/SE game but also in other games. This is a trusted site and needed you to log in your account to be able to access/acquire or download the mods you like or needed from there. There are a lot of mods for Skyrim LE/SE game in there and we will never end if I describe each and every mods there, we are only after the use of ECE so only focus on finding the CME presets of characters from that website.


But I am not satisfied with only doing that so instead we will take the harder route of looking for CME Presets, the website is called Tullius Channel where most of the character presets you find there are CME presets. You can see the link is below,




When you go there, it is hard to read because the language is not in English but in Korean instead. The only English word you can read there is my name. Hahaha!!! ? I am just kidding so no worries.



If you are a Korean (South Korean of course), then you can easily understand this website but if you are not a Korean then just use the automatic  English Translation for this website. I am using Google Chrome so setting the English Translations of other language translated sites is practically easier. I don't know about the other browsers settings so just set them manually if you want the site translated into English language.


On the URL bar, there are icons on the right side. There is a G icon there representing Google Translate icon which used is to automatically translate the whole page into another language. The Tullius Channel site is by default in Korean language so we just need to translate it into English by just tapping that icon and the Translate this page button that will appear below the bar, just like what you can see on the screenshot below. Press that button so that the Google Translate will automatically translate the page into English in default. So whatever country you are in, the Google translate will translate the page into English automatically not unless you tweak the settings and change the default language you are using.



Now you can see below that the site page was translated into English language so we can somehow understand the words in the website. Just tick the Always translate Korean into English so that every time you visit this site, the language use will always be in English.



We are after the CME Presets so among the group of pages there, select the preset tab just like below. Remember that you don't need to register or log in to this Tullius Channel site just to download a particular mod they shared.



Under the preset Menu, there are several pages there which for sharing other people's character/s preset/s. When you are on the Menu, the name for example preset was highlightened by making the font darker in color. You can see below the list of the presets shared by other players of Skyrim SE. Under the list , the font of the pages will remain black, meaning you didn't read that thread yet and when it turn into gray then it means that you visited or read that page already. By scrolling down and going to the next page of list, you just read the pages one by one or those that your are interested in. When you hover your mouse on each thread, you can somehow see the preview photo of the appearance of the character he/she was sharing, but sometimes other members don't attach or place a photo of the preset they are sharing. Just check and read each thread there, so that you can actually see the character preset each member was sharing.



For example I found a thread there which catches my interest  and you can see it below. This is somehow interesting because the character's preset is really pretty. 



It is always a good practice to read the whole description of the thread you have chosen, so that even there's no sense in some of the sentences that describe it, it can somehow give you a general idea on how will that preset is going to work on your game. Sometimes the author will also describe the list of mods needed/required for it to be able to make the appearance the same with the supplied screenshot there. You will notice a link was also present on the descriptions which was also supplied there so in that way one can be able to share his/her presets. You can notice that the links are in blue color and underlined when you hoverthe mouse pointer there. Just click it and you will be directed to another window or tab.




Then when you are on that new window or tab,  you can just directly download that preset. The CME preset is always in the form _x_commonTriRaces.slot which is usually ready to use directly on the CME_Save folder.



I downloaded it together with the picture of that preset if available. I always do this so that I will have a reference on the appearance of that preset character.



Then I also open the folder of the CME_save on the desktop, you will notice that there's no preset there which has the same name with the file we downloaded earlier. I already told you about why I place a shortcut or the CME_save folder on the desktop and this is one of the reasons why. We can easily place/replace presets there in this way because it was very accessible in the desktop. No hassle on looking any where! Or where the hell this presets were supposed to go, right?


I Just Copy or Cut the downloaded CME preset together with the attached photo and then Paste them directly on the CME_save folder of your Skyrim SE  game. I included the attached photo so that I will have a reference on what that character should look like in the game. You should not expect more about the appearance to look exactly the same, but somehow close to it. Always remember that different players maybe using different systems, different ENBs, skin textures (that is if you didn't manage to get the required skin called Flour V2), and also the other beautification mod requirements for this particular preset.


And now let us see it on the game...


Normally the hair, the eyes and makeup if any will not set initially because sometimes the slot number or placement of that particular headparts is on the different number slot. Sometimes a modder had already installed other hairs or eyes before installing this preset so it is best to always read the description written by the author of that preset. In that way, we can exactly figured out what hair, eyes, makeup he/she used on that preset.


It is on the Slot 14 as you have seen earlier from the previous screenshots. So from Slot 3, I just switch character to Slot 14 and you can see how I do it below.



The hair used on this particular preset is zzz8.0_KS_Mix_98_Orchard_L of Tullius Hair Pack 2 V12. I have known this because I already read the descriptions written by the author of this preset. And the same way why I already knew what eyes the author used on this.



With or without ENB activated, the Preset looks the same.



And these are the reference picture and video the author of that preset provided for us.




It looks the same but not exactly because I am using a different skin texture for my character. But still it looks very  pretty for me.






And I named her Quinn (Quintessence Timeaway).








How to easily export nif files when using ECE?




As we all know or even noticed, the Enhanced Character Edit for Skyrim SE cannot export nif files directly by using the F1 Hotkey while on ECE in-game. It will notify you instead that it didn't succesfully exported the CME Preset into nif files. We export nif files for the players who use RaceMenu. The ECE of Skyrim LE can export both the x.nif for the head mesh and x.dds for the tint/makeup used becasue some players also want to use the same preset but in the RaceMenu form instead.


So to be able to export the nif files together with the dds file, we just need to install another mod which usage is to export the preset you are currently using or editing in the game. The mod is called CharGen Export SE made by osnius who is also the author of the popular mod called BodySlide and Outfit Studio, the CBBE body mod, and more.




You can find the download link below. The descriptions on how to use this was also written by the author there but for the sake the actual demonstrations, I will show it on this tutorials.




I downloaded it and then install it on the MO2 so that I can now use this to export a Chargen Presets while using Enhanced Character Edit. I placed it together with the other utility mods in mods list and plugins. 



To be able to use this Chargen Export in-game, just go to the spells list by tapping TAB key and selecting the spells menu icon which usually on the left just like what was shown below.



The a new tab will appear showing all your available spells in-game. You can see a spell named Export Head there. To be able to access this spell at any time you want, just tap F key so that it will become a Favorite spell from now on. Favorites shortcut will be and to be able to access that is just by tapping the Q key. 



Tapping the Q key is a shortcut bar for not only the Spells but also for utilities and outfit you want to wear right away without the need to go through your inventory just to find a aparticular outfit. Just always remember that you needed to make a spell, utility or equipment be a part of your Favorite (by tapping F key so that there will be a star icon beside it) to be able to place them on Shortcut Tab  (tapping Q key). 

Once you equip a spell, it will be shown that by the arrow key icon beside it. That will depend wether you place it to right or R and left L, but activated spell will always work when equipped on the right hand or R. So for this spell to work just place it on the right hand, R. In the mouse, if you right click a spell it will be equip on the right hand of your character.



Once you are done equipping a that spell, just cast it to yourself so that the face you are currently using will be made into a RaceMenu/Chargen Preset. Remember that this spell will only work on the current character you are using and will not work to any NPCs or followers in-game. It also only work to the current character ECE preset you are using so to  be able to have Chargen presets to you other ECE characters, you need to switch your character on the showracemenu first. And when you successfully exported the current head of the character you are using, a notification just like below will show.




When you quit your game and checked the MO2, you will notice that the Overwrite at the very bottom of the Mods List became red in font. A notification was also added to the previous ones, it tells that there is a file/s present in the Overwrite folder. Actually this is just normal when you saved and tryto export the CME Preset from your Skyrim SE using the spell in-game.



So let us check what is inside that Overwrite folder by right click and selecting the Open in Explorer.




When you open that Overwrite folder, it contains SKSE folder. Double click it to open that folder. You can also notice that we are atthe MO2 folder containing that overwrite folder.




Then open the Plugins folder...



After that then open the Chargen folder, with this we can say that it is a preset folder for the RaceMenu mod.



There are a lot of CME presets that I export using the Spell in-game and we can see that one of those presets was the actual preset we saved previously named Quinn which is also our current game character in Skyrim SE. It also means that we can finally used that preset as well if we play a game that is using RaceMenu mod.



Then let us activate the RaceMenu in the Mods List. There is nothing to worry about if the Enhanced Character Edit and the NIO Replacer were activated as well. The RaceMenu will always Overwrite them no matter where you placed the RaceMenu mod in the Mods List. When you activated the RaceMenu mod, you will find that the plugins produced by this mod was atthe very bottom of the plugins list. Just place these plugins just below the ECE plugins so they will be grouped together accordingly.



When I run the game again but using RaceMenu mod in my game this time, I successfully exported Quinn, the character I exported earlier using the spell for ECE. You can find the .nif RaceMenu Preset files in teh Sculpt section of the RaceMenu Editor.







Why would I use ECE instead of RaceMenu?



For me, I use ECE most of the time now because it is really much easier to use than RaceMenu. The CME presets really contains the more closer appearance of the desired look of the character than in RaceMenu. But in both ECE and RM, if you have all the face or body parts required for that preset then it is easier to locate the missing parts of the look of the character. At first in either RM or ECE, there will be missing hair, eyes, makeup or body but it is easier in ECE because when the number actually matches in the CME preset then it will automatically used that parts. While in RaceMenu, the head or body parts are described in  a particular name and it will not match automatically but you need to find it yourself. For example if your character preset is using Sina hair in default, the ECE at the right number where it is placed will match it up and automatically wear it unlike in the RaceMenu, you will wear the vanilla default hair  and you need to find that particular hair first to be able to match the desired appearance of the character. The good thing about RaceMenu is the hair for example was described in a name and number as well. The downside of ECE is it was only described by a number in the sliders not unless you have to choose each of the hair to see what is the name of that particular hair.


Another benefits of using ECE was it will prevent us on having neck seams on the characters even it didnt match the skin texture color of the head and the body. The color matching is easier to adjust compared to manually Sculpting the neck seams in the RaceMenu editor. There will be also some instances that a preset will have a neck seam that is if it was deliberated or a very unique CME presets, for example it was using another race aside from the default ones present on the Enhanced Character Edit. Another Race presets are expected to have neck seams or the color of the head not matching the color of the body.


There are also disadvantages on using ECE, one is it is harder to use the Vertex Edit than the Sculpt of RaceMenu so fixing the neck seams in ECE will be harder as well. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use the face tats, body tats, hand tats and feet tats build for RaceMenu because it is not available in ECE. Everytime you use RaceMenu, you have to match the color you have in the reference if you have it. 


The neck seams are shown below using RaceMenu, it will happen most of the time if you don't have a matching .jslot and .nif of the same preset. The disadvantage of RaceMenu is you are always provided with .nif files and .dds files and without the .jslot file so expect that you are going to have neck seams for this reason. And when you change between characters without the same .jslot file, expect this issue as well.




But in ECE, it will not happen that is if they have the same race. As you can see below, I changed between the adult body and child body but the neck seam did not appear right? Obviously Ari and Arini have different body shape and different body weight/height as well.



Using RaceMenu Preset if you have .jslot preset of the character you want, then just find it on the list you have. For example I will use that Valmilia Preset on my list, I have a lot because these are the converted CME presets into RM presets I have before.



When you find and use it, it will a have an odd shaped chin just like below. Thankfully we didn't encounter neck seams here.



Then I went to the Sculpt section of RaceMenu and find the Valmilia.nif there. I used it and now the chin has finally became smooth just like what we can see below.



I already have the correct Eyes and Brows so I will only look forthe right hair that was use on the reference photo I have. The description said that it is using SG Hairs and on my list it was on the lower numbers. I did find it easily and use it to match the reference.



I turn on my ENB so that I can adjustthe color of the makeup or tint. Then there you have it.



The original reference photo of Valmilia found on Nexus mods. I somehow managed to match it, I am using different body textures and ENB so it is not exactly the same but somehow close to it right?



Okay! This is one of the disadvantages of RaceMenu, without a reference you will have a hard time figuring out how to come up with the same exact appearance or look of the character. In ECE, you will only have to find the correct Eyes and Hair there but most of the time it will match it up automatically that is if you already installed the correct hair and eyes needed bythat preset.





Why I needed to install RaceMenu as well but it does not needed to be check on the Mod List?



There are times or some mods that are really RaceMenu mod dependent but because we did a way to make the RaceMenu files work even without activating the Racemenu mod on the mods list so just like a backup for a file, we left the RaceMenu mod there in the list. Sometimes we need to convert presets from ECE to RaceMenu or vice versa so you don't have to install the RaceMenu every time you do this, instead it will act as a mod in waiting or a mod that is installed but not activated. RaceMenu will really overwrites the UI of the ECE once activated no matter what is it's place or order in the mods list, it will became a priority of MO2 and disables the UI of ECE or makes the ECE not work on the showracemenu. So if you are an ECE user just like me, then just see to it that if you are using ECE presets, just don't make this RaceMenu mod not checked or not activated in your mods list.






On the next series, we will go back in time and show you what are the essential or foundation mods - their usage and importance and a technique how to mod or a way to expand and add more mods effectively using MO2. See you next time...









...to be continued.


Edited by Ma Ri


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