Original by Joseph Cromwell, updated by Hannes Ulbricht
Effect Properties are set by Bethesda, and the ability to create them without the appropriate tools are limited. However, if you understand the basic structure of nif formate meshes and have nifskope installed, it is easy to copy and paste branches to tweak and reuse effects that you encounter in the vanilla files. There is quite a variety of usable effects, from animated textures to animated meshes over particle effects and vertex lighting. Many things can be realized with these basic effect types, given the number of controllers to modify them. Note that like with BSshaderproperties, BSEffectProperties are one level below Nitrishape Data and there can only be one of its kind in a Nitrishape, so you might want to use several Nitrishapes in your nif mesh (NiNode skinned rigs or BSfadenode for statics) if you need several effects. The general workflow would be, similar to how you can exchange shader properties, to:
- search through meshes for an effect property that supports your vision
- copy the branch of the effect property
- remove the branch in the new mesh that is to be replaced
- paste the branch that you copied there in the Nitrishape
- tweak the controller settings (numerical values) and set up textures
- check if you can / have to sanitize the mesh with Nifskope spells
- check placement and CK implementation, Test it in-game
First Example: Glowing Lantern
Hello, Travelers, today we’re going to teach you how to make lanterns glow in Skyrim. We originally encountered problems with the way lanterns glow in Skyrim, but one of our members contributed a tutorial on how to make lanterns glow in Skyrim properly.
- So, to begin you open the lanterns you want to make glow in NifSkope.
- Then, you select the paper’s NiTriShape Branch. In that branch, remove BSLightingShaderProperty as well as any other nodes in the branch (Especially anything with alpha layer data in it).
- Open one of the Dunmer lanterns which we know has a glow effect in another instance of NifSkope
- Click on the paper and right click on BSEffectShaderProperty, highlight Branch, and select Copy Branch.
- Go back to the lantern you want to change. Select and Right Click on the NiTriShape Branch you removed BSLightingShaderProperty from, and go to block=>paste Block.
- At this point you have successfully made lanterns glow in Skyrim, however it has the Dunmer texture, so click on the BSEffectShaderProperty we just copied and in the block details window scroll down to “SourceTexture” Double click on this line and put in the path for the texture you want.
- We now have to set the glow map not to override our color. In the flags change “SLF1Greyscale_to_palette_color” to “SLF1Greyscale_to_paletteAlpha” (This is why it’s important to delete any alpha layer data in step one as we are tricking the mesh in this step.)
- If you don’t like how bright your lanterns glow in Skyrim, you can adjust that in the settings down near the bottom of BSEffectShaderProperty.
The result should look something like this, albeit on whatever mesh you choose.
Other Example: Rain Clouds ( you can also emulate Thunder Storms, Animated Doors etc)
Other Example: Vulcanic Smoke ( you can also emulate floating textures like water, lava and similar)
Other Example: Exploding Ice Chunks
Learn more, join our community!
Arcane University (also for non-members!)
Welcome to the Arcane University! We are a collaborative effort of Beyond Skyrim aiming to help people learn the various aspects that play into mod creation, like scripting, level design or 3d modelling to just name the major ones. If you are interested in learning one of these or just want to help out others achieve their goal, feel free to join us on our Discord server and begin your journey. Previous knowledge is not required, only that you are willing and eager to learn. Below you can find some work that students of the Arcane University made during their time with us. By honing your skills you can eventually graduate, those students may choose to work on one of the various Beyond Skyrim teams or the Atronach Forge, our cross-province content creation hub. So it is a good chance to get involved with the project and learn a few handy things along the way. Hope to see you soon!