Aronfel's Reshade: A Mildly Interesting Story
TL;DR: I made my own ReShade configuration. If you want to get right to it and see how it looks, scroll down to the "Before & After Screenshots" section and the "Video Examples" section. If you like what you see, follow the download instructions in the "How can I get this reshade?" section and you'll be all set. Thank you and enjoy the show!
Howdy, fine folks of the ESO subreddit! I'm u/Aronfel (pronounced "air-in-fell"). Some of you may know me already; the overwhelming majority of you most certainly don't. I'm fairly new to the sub, but have become pretty active in here over the last month or so, mostly posting screenshots from my adventures and making long-winded comments on your posts. You may recognize me from such hits as, "Sunrise on the Gold Coast," "It's a Beautiful Morning in Solitude," and "Went to Artaeum for the First Time Last Night…." And this is the part where I seamlessly segue.
I've been working on my own ReShade configuration for the better part of a month now, and it has been featured (in its many iterations) in the several screenshots I've shared to the sub thus far. I'm a professional photographer IRL, and I have some background in video editing as well. So when I first discovered ReShade, a lot of the shader effects felt pretty intuitive, as they're incredibly similar to what I use on a daily basis to edit photos and videos. This skill set has allowed me to create (what I believe to be) a pretty damn good looking reshade for ESO. And while I originally created this reshade for personal use to make my game and, by extension, my screenshots look as good as possible, I've had many of you fellow adventurers say to me,
"Damn, Aronfel; how the hell did you get your game to look so much more gooder?"
Well I'm glad you asked! And I'm happy to say that after a receiving such positive responses to my screenshots, my reshade is now officially available for public use! I've spent weeks obsessively tweaking settings, trying out new shader effects, and re-configuring the reshade from scratch after fucking it up more times than I care to remember. But I finally feel confident that it looks as close to perfect as possible in all areas and lighting conditions in the game.
So if this reshade sounds like something you're interested in, then read on and learn how you can "Make Your Game Look More Gooder™" today!
What is a "reshade?"
Before we get started, let's talk about reshades, for those who aren't familiar with them. To put it in ELI5 terms, imagine a reshade like a photo filter that goes over a picture, such as the filters used on Instagram. Shaders don't actually change the graphics of the game under-the-hood the same way adjusting your graphics settings does; rather, they only affect the way the final image is processed and presented on your screen. Because of this, reshades are often able to be utilized to make a big difference visually with minimal performance impact (depending on the effects being used). Simple things like color correction, saturation enhancement, and sharpening are pretty low-impact effects and can generally be used on lower-end gaming PCs without issues. However, reshade effects are incredibly diverse and can create a multitude of different looks, depending on the effects you use and how you configure them. To learn more about the specific shader effects I use in my reshade, see the "Shader Effects Breakdown" section below.
To run my reshade, I utilize a freeware program called ReShade. I'll show you how to download and install it in the "How can I get this reshade?" section.
What does Aronfel's Reshade do?
My goal with this reshade was to enhance and "modernize" the look of the base game, as opposed to totally changing and overhauling it. Before I discovered shaders, I already thought ESO was a gorgeous game, and I didn't want to take away from that natural beauty. But after exploring many different shader presets and effects, and comparing them to the base game, it made me realize just how dated, lifeless, and "flat" it looked by comparison. So my reshade is an attempt to build upon the game's natural beauty and unleash its full potential. There aren't any LUTs included that drastically change the colors of the game, so if you prefer reshades that make the game look more "filtered" or appear substantially different from the base game in terms of color grading, this may not be the reshade for you. Instead, this reshade focuses more on color correction and bringing the best of out of the colors that are already present.
The main things that this reshade accomplishes:
- Adds a sense of "realism" to the game.
- Smooths out "cartoon-ish" textures, while simultaneously sharpening and enhancing details.
- Enriches tones to create a deeper sense of contrast between highlights and shadows.
- Adjusts hue + saturation to breathe life into the game and make colors more vibrant and accurate.
- Improves light sources to create more discernible and realistic lighting effects.
Before & After Screenshots
No reshade would truly be complete without some good, ol' fashioned before and after photos. And trust me: I got plenty. Just click the nifty Imgur link below to scroll through the full gallery of before and after shots taken from various areas of the game. These screenshots utilize either the "Classic" or "Cinematic" versions of my reshade (see the "Reshade Versions" section below for more details).
While I appreciate the difference that "Before & After" photos show as much as the next guy, I honestly don't feel like screenshots alone do a good job of fully capturing how my reshade looks in-game. So I decided to put together a few "video showcases" in some of my favorite cities in the game to give everyone a chance to see the reshade in a more dynamic way before deciding whether or not y'all want to install it.
All of these videos feature the "Cinematic" version of my reshade (see the "Reshade Versions" section below for more details), and each one was captured at a different time of day to show how the reshade looks under different lighting circumstances.
• Alinor (Sunrise)
• Abah's Landing (Early Morning)
• Solitude (Midday)
• Daggerfall (Sunset)
How can I get this reshade?
So you've seen what this reshade is all about and now you want to try it for yourself. Great!
Fortunately, installing reshades is a pretty simple process! I'll go ahead and walk you through it step-by-step and try to make it as easy and straightforward as possible.
IMPORTANT: Before attempting to install ReShade or my shader configuration, make a copy of your ESO "client" folder. The directory for your "client" folder should be similar to the following:
C:Program Files (x86)Zenimax OnlineThe Elder Scrolls Onlinegameclient
Seriously. Do it. It's highly unlikely that anything will go wrong, but it's better to be safe than sorry and avoid having to do a fresh install of the game.
SIDE NOTE: If you have any other reshades installed for ESO already, I would recommend uninstalling/deleting them to ensure that there are no conflicts.
Okay, now with that out of the way (because I know you definitely listened and just finished making a copy of your client folder), let's get into it!
Step 1: Download ReShade 4+
Follow this link (I promise it's not a virus) and download the most recent version of the ReShade software:
Step 2: Install ReShade 4+
After downloading ReShade, you'll want to run the "ReShade_Setup_4.x.exe" file.
When the setup launches, click the box that says, "Click here to select a game and manage its ReShade installation." The Elder Scrolls: Online will not auto-populate on the list of applications. So what you'll need to do it click, "Browse…" near the bottom of the window. That will pull up your file explorer to go searching.
You'll now want to navigate to your "client" folder where the "eso64.exe" file is located and direct ReShade to that file and then click "Open." As noted above, the default directory for the game is:
C:Program Files (x86)Zenimax OnlineThe Elder Scrolls Onlinegameclient
NOTE: If your eso64.exe file isn't in the default location, but you do know where it is located, direct ReShade accordingly. However, if your eso64.exe file isn't in the default location, and you don't know/can't find where it's located, follow the troubleshooting guide towards the end of this post.
SECOND NOTE: If you'd like, you can go ahead and create a shortcut to this folder for quick access, as we'll be coming back to it several more times throughout this setup.
Next, when it asks you, "Which rendering API does ESO use?," you'll want to select "Direct3D 10/11/12."
Lastly, when it asks you "Select effects packages to install," you'll simply want to click the button that says "Skip." And after that, you'll be all done setting up ReShade for ESO!
Step 3: Install "Aronfel's Reshade"
Next up is actually installing my reshade! I provide everything you'll need, so you won't have to go download anything else in addition to this. To download my reshade, navigate over to the "Files" tab above. You'll want to click the button that says "Manual Download," which will then open a pop-out menu. Assuming you've already followed the directions in steps 1 & 2 and have successfully installed ReShade, you'll just need to click the "Download" button.
You'll then be redirected to a page where you will select your download type. If you happen to be a "Premium" member of Nexus Mods already, you can select the "Fast Download" option. Otherwise, just select the "Slow Download" option (don't worry though; the file isn't that big so the download really isn't that slow).Once you've downloaded it, you'll need to unzip the file to access its contents. You can unzip it to your desktop and then move the contents of the folder, or you can just unzip it directly into your ESO "client" folder (the same location of the "eso64.exe" file you directed ReShade to in the previous step):
C:Program Files (x86)Zenimax OnlineThe Elder Scrolls Onlinegameclient
The folder and files in the "Aronfel's Reshade.zip" folder will go directly into the "client" folder. Do not remove anything from the "reshade-shaders" folder; simply place it in the "client" folder as-is along with the .ini configuration files.
Step 4: Configure ReShade In-Game
Alright, now that you've successfully installed my reshade, you're just about ready to load it up in-game and give it a whirl! But first, there is a quick, final setup to do in order to get everything working properly. So first, you'll want to go ahead and launch ESO. You should see a little banner pop up when you open the game. Whenever you open the ReShade interface for the first time, it will ask if you want to run through the tutorial. If you want to, knock yourself out. But it won't be necessary to get this reshade working, so you can just click "Skip." Now if you haven't already, you'll want to press the "Home" key on your keyboard to pull up the ReShade interface.
Next, you'll want to make your way to the menu bar up top and select "Settings." What we're going to do now is direct ReShade to the proper folder to load the effects and textures you'll need to run my reshade. So go ahead and click Alt+Tab on your keyboard to minimize the game. Go into your file explorer and make your way back to your ESO "client" folder and open the "reshade-shaders" folder, and then the "Shaders" folder. Once you're in the "Shaders" folder, you'll want to go up to your navigation bar, right click "Shaders" to pull up the options menu, and click "Copy address as text."
Reopen ESO (the game) and press the "Home" key on your keyboard to pull up the ReShade interface again, if it's not already opened. In the "Settings" menu under the "General" section, you'll see an entry for "Effects search path." Click the "+" button and that will open up a sub-menu. In the search path box at the top, you will want to press Ctrl+V to paste the file path we just copied. Now go ahead and click "Ok" and your effects search path should be all set!
Alright friend, you're so close to being done you can almost taste it. The last thing you'll need to do is repeat this process for the "Texture search path" entry below the "Effects search path" entry; only this time, you'll be directing it to the "Textures" folder instead of the "Shaders" folder. So for one last time, make your way back to your ESO "client" folder and then open the "reshade-shaders" folder, and then the "Textures" folder. Once you're in the "Textures" folder, you'll want to go up to your navigation bar, right click "Textures" to pull up the options menu, and once again click "Copy address as text." Then follow the same steps you did for the "Effects search path" process.
Now all that's left is to load the preset you want to use and be on your way. To select or change the preset, press the "Home" key on your keyboard to pull up the ReShade interface. Make sure you're in the "Home" menu and you'll see a box at the top that currently says "Default Preset." Click on that and it will open a drop-down menu with all of your available presets. Simply click on the one you want to use and you're all set!
Step 5: Enjoy!
Now that you've successfully completed the installation and setup process, you can sit back and enjoy Tamriel in a whole new way. If you have any issues with installation and can't find the answer in the "Troubleshooting" section, feel free to shoot me a message here and I'll see what I can do to help you out!
P.S. If you like the reshade, please considering leaving it a quick "endorsement" on the Nexus Mods page to boost it and help others find it so they can enjoy it as well 😊
For this reshade, I've configured several different presets that are all based on the same core settings, but differ in their broader appearance. The color correction is the same throughout each version, but each one has its own, unique style. Read the descriptions to learn more, and try out each version in-game to find out which one you like best!
This is the original reshade that all other versions use as their foundation. This is the most balanced configuration and will enhance sharpness, texture, color, lighting, and contrast without going too heavy on any one, particular effect. Use this version if you want the reshade to look the way it was originally intended to look.
This is my personal favorite configuration and the one I use when I play; it's also the preset I used in all of my showcase videos. It's almost exactly the same as the "Classic" version, but it adds a bloom effect that integrates softer light and a mild blur that gives the game a more modern, cinematic look. Use this version if you prefer the look of modern games, want a more immersive game experience, and/or like to frequently take screenshots. NOTE: Due to the bloom effects that this configuration utilizes, it is likely to be the most resource-intensive preset and may not run well on lower-end gaming PCs.
This configuration reduces contrast to give the game a flatter, more even look with less dramatic lighting. Use this version if you enjoy the appearance of the base game, but want enhanced colors and textures.
This configuration was created as a recommendation from a few of my friends who tried the reshade and weren't fans of the softer look of the Classic and Cinematic configurations. It removes all blur effects and focuses on sharpness and contrast, in addition to the color corrections of the classic configuration. Use this version if you prefer a sharper, less soft look.
This configuration is for people who want to run this reshade on a lower-end gaming PC, or don't want to sacrifice any amount of FPS while playing. It may not look quite as good as the others, but I tried to get it as close as I could using the fewest number of effects possible. Use this version if the other versions are too resource intensive on your PC.
I'm hoping this section won't need to be utilized much, as I'd love for this to be a smooth and easy process for everyone. But sometimes things go wrong and hopefully I can address some of the few issues I, or others, have experienced while installing/using this reshade.
"I can't find my eso64.exe file."
If you're having a hard time locating your "client" folder or "eso64.exe" file (and it isn't in the default directory listed in the installation instructions above), there is an easy way to find it! All you need to do is launch the game and then open your task manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard. Once you do that, find the "ESO" process and right-click on it. A list will appear and you will want to click on the "Open File Location" option.
Once you do that, your file explorer should open up to the location of the "eso64.exe" file. Make note of the location in the navigation bar and commit it to memory so you can properly direct ReShade to the correct file.
"My game is crashing at launch."
Hopefully nobody downloading my reshade will run into this issue, however it did happen to one of my friends who installed it. And it turns out it's actually a problem with the ReShade installer and not my reshade specifically; what I'm saying is it's not my fault, okay?! Anyway, the fix for this is actually pretty easy. What you'll want to do is navigate to your "client" folder where the eso64.exe file is located (and if you don't know where that is, refer to the troubleshooting guide above) and look for a file named "dxgi.dll." Once you've found that file, you'll want to right-click on it and select "Rename" and change the name of the file to "d3d11.dll." Once you do that, everything should be working as normal. If not, then unfortunately I don't have a fix for you and I hope you made a copy of your "client" folder like I told you to do at the beginning of this post for this very reason 😜
"I tweaked your reshade too much and now it looks like trash."
If you decided to take matters into your own hands and adjust my reshade settings, but made a horrible mistake and now the game looks really bad, worry not! This is another easy fix. Just go into your "client" folder and delete the configuration file for whichever preset you were tweaking (e.g. "Aronfel's Reshade (Classic).ini") and then re-download the file and replace it. This will set everything back to my default settings and you'll be all set. And if you want to tweak the shaders in the future, be sure to make a copy and edit the copy just in case things go wrong (trust me, I've learned this the hard way one too many times).
"Your reshade is bad and you should feel bad! How do I get rid of it"
If you install my reshade and decide you don't like it (no hard feelings), or it's unfortunately too resource intensive for your PC to handle, then getting rid of it is even easier than installing it! What you'll want to do is run the "ReShade_Setup_4.x.exe" again and direct it to the "eso64.exe" file again. Whenever you do this, you will be offered two choices: "Update" or "Uninstall."
Go ahead and click "Uninstall" and BAM! Just like that, your game is back to looking like shit 😉 Just kidding; I appreciate you giving my reshade a chance all the same! And if there's something in particular you didn't like about it, or areas where you think I could improve the reshade, I'm 100% open to any and all constructive feedback. Feel free to message me here on Reddit and I'd love to chat!
If you've made it this far (and actually read the whole thing): damn. I greatly appreciate you and hope that everything I've included here was helpful in some way and not a complete waste of your time 😅
I've had a ton of fun throughout this whole process; from configuring the reshade itself to capturing the screenshots and videos to show it off, to even putting together this novel of a post. And I hope the fun I've had making this will translate to more enjoyment of the game for anyone who downloads my reshade. I know for me personally, adding ReShade to my game has made a world of difference and has helped me really get immersed and lose myself even more in this beautiful game.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me in even tiniest of ways since I started playing the game and becoming active in the sub. This truly is a great community, and honestly the best I've experienced in the many MMOs I've played over the years. So I hope I can use this reshade to give back to the community in some small way.
If any of you find yourselves using my reshade to capture some screenshots, I'd love to see what y'all take! If you share your screenshots here on the sub, please feel free to tag me in the posts, or even message me screenshots directly.
And for anyone looking to hang in-game, I'm on PC/NA and my user tag is: @ BucketLegacy. Feel free to shoot me a friend request!
Anyway, that's all for now, folks! Enjoy the reshade and happy adventuring 😄
Source: Original link
© Post "For those who have been waiting: My custom ReShade configuration is ready for its public release!" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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