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Straightforward, functional way to give vanilla NPC a new face?


Fredas

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This process is still more or less voodoo to me.  I have this inkling that the process of getting a non-vanilla face working in Skyrim is inherently something of a kludge, rife with bug landmines, and even a bit unreliable, as evidenced by the fact that about 5-10% of the time I load a save, random NPCs with custom faces (which is almost every NPC in my Skyrim) will sort of forget they're using a custom face and revert to long-faced vanilla with purple hair.  At that point it's time to reload from the main menu.

 

So what I'm trying to do is take a certain vanilla NPC and force it to use a face+hair I found on a follower mod.  Or one I put together in RaceMenu.  Either way.  There are guides for this.  The problem I'm having is that the custom face doesn't seem to "take", resulting in that long-faced vanilla look.  I read about people getting a "dark face" bug when things go wrong.  That's not what I get.  I get the long vanilla face.

 

Methods I've tried: Simply copying the FaceGeom .nif from the source follower to the target NPC.  Creating a face with RaceMenu, exporting that as .nif, and copying that to the target NPC.  Using NPC Nif Merge to do whatever it's supposed to do to make Skyrim happy about the .nif it finds.  In each case, I get the vanilla-long-face problem.  The face always looks 100% the same, like it's sort of the default look when Skyrim just doesn't like what it finds in FaceGeom.

 

The NPC in question has already had their face changed by at least three different makeover mods that I've found so far.  I'm not especially satisfied with any of the results.  Plus I would very much like to be able to force the use of HDT hair.  That's why I'm doing this.  But three different people have had much better success with this than I have.  There's some step I'm not finding - something that locks the custom face in and prevents Skyrim from freaking out and defaulting to its ugly long face.

 

Edit: Since it'd probably be ten times quicker, for anyone well-practiced at the required procedure, to simply do the replacement themselves rather than try to guess at what I'm screwing up, I'm just going to leave my most recent RaceMenu export here and see if anyone bites.  The target NPC is Eola (0x1990F).  The RaceMenu export uses a HDT KS Hairdo if that matters.

 

Eola_try1.7z

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How on earth did that one pass under my radar?  That's some Expired-caliber shenanigans going on with that mod.  Good find.

 

Now... if I could pin down either 1) how to do the same with a RaceMenu export, or 2) how to swap the hair to something else without engendering the dreaded Skyrim-doesn't-like-it-so-here's-a-vanilla-face issue, all would be golden.

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How on earth did that one pass under my radar?  That's some Expired-caliber shenanigans going on with that mod.  Good find.

 

Now... if I could pin down either 1) how to do the same with a RaceMenu export, or 2) how to swap the hair to something else without engendering the dreaded Skyrim-doesn't-like-it-so-here's-a-vanilla-face issue, all would be golden.

 

 

Make sure the facegen data( and the nifs have the correct meshes) is overwritten in the same order as the ESP

 

There is NO reason to get face  bug if you follow this advice.

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Make sure the facegen data( and the nifs have the correct meshes) is overwritten in the same order as the ESP

 

There is NO reason to get face  bug if you follow this advice.

 

The above mod focuses on direct transfers between existing NPCs.  So I can't use a face I arrange in RaceMenu, or swap out hair for something I like better.  Technically, there's no reason for the NPC Nif Merge solution to have failed, but it certainly did.  I got pretty sick of seeing that ugly vanilla face (made even more ugly by how it uses non-vanilla assets).

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Like you, I've changed the faces of many female npcs myself and I use the Nifmerge method exclusively, without fail.  I think your problem is a load order issue.  The esp with which you applied the change(s) must be the last to load amongst all the other esps that modify the same npc(s).

Here is a refresher tutorial on using Nifmerge :  http://wiki.tesnexus.com/index.php/Using_a_face_made_with_Chargen_Extension_on_an_NPC_for_Skyrim

 

Good luck

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Nifmerge didn't work for me either.  However, I was able to achieve the same result by using nifskope and manually rename the titles of the target nodes (the face I want) to match that of the source nif (the face I do NOT want) before replacing the files.  Theoretically this is probably how nifmerge works but somehow I can only get the match by doing it manually.

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