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[LE] How to make a Custom Standalone Follower for Skyrim


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I've been trying for a very long time now to make a custom standalone Follower for Skyrim.

After many tries, I'm thrilled to say that I've finally done it.


I have uploaded a tutorial video to YouTube and I hope I can help some people out:


In my video, I created a male follower using RaceMenu and some Male meshes & texture mods.

I have made another male follower that kind volunteers have confirmed looks good and works well in their game https://instagram.com/p/6VfnwNE5dz/?taken-by=belladovah so I am hoping to upload him to the Nexus soon!


However, I found that making a female follower using ECE is more complicated. I am able to make beautiful females for myself, but when I share females with others, they look really old and wrinkled if they don't have the mods!

I've made some notes for myself which are not as useful as my video, but contain extra notes about ECE:


1. create in Skyrim
2. save as a preset and screenshot the list of all the mods used to create them
3. command: 'spf (name)'
4. save and quit game

5. go to skyrim>data>textures>actors>character>character assests and temporarily remove the tintmasks folder (you get a weird pink forehead if you don't)

6. go to skyrim>data>meshes>actors>character and create a folder for your follower
7. in this folder, put all the meshes that your follower is going to use (body, head, hair, etc)

8. go to skyrim>data>textures>actors>character and create a folder for your follower
9. in this folder, put all the textures your follower is going to use (body, hair, eyes, brows, etc)

10. open creation kit
11. file>data and check skyrim, update, enhanced character edit and character making extender (and racemenu?)

12. go to miscellaneous>texture set
13. search for skin then duplicate the relevant skinbody(gender,race)
14. edit and rename the duplicate file, its always recommended to start the name with a 0
15. edit the 4 file paths to the relevant files in the textures folder for your follower
15. ok, no, yes
16. repeat for head, eyes, brows and hands
17. SAVE!! (If it crashes, make this save the active)

18. go to items>armor addon
19. find and duplicate 'nakedtorso', edit the duplicate and rename
20. click 'select' near the biped model and select the body mesh for your follower
21. change the skin texture to the skinbody you created earlier
22. repeat for nakedhands & nakedfeet (naked feet also use the body texture)
23. SAVE!!

24. go to items>armor
25. find and duplicate 'skinnaked', edit and rename
26. delete all files under models
27. under models, right click and press new. add the meshes/armoraddons you created
28. SAVE!!

29. go to character>headpart>(gender)
30. duplicate (gender)head(race), edit and rename
32. replace the model and textures with your own
33. do the same for eyes, brows, beards and hair (& hairline)

-Go to Miscellaneous>ColorForm
-Select any color and edit it to the one you want for your character's hair by changing the RGB values
-Make sure 'playable' is ticked
-Go to Miscellaneous>FormList and open 'HairColorList'
-Keep this open and go back to the ColorForm
-Drag and drop your color from the ColorForm to the HairColorList
-Go to Race and open the race of your follower
-Tick the gender of your follower
-Go to the Face Data Tab
-In the list of available colors, right click and select new. Find and add your custom hair color here

34. Go to Character>Class and right click to create new
35. Rename it and edit as you please, the numbers represent the 'weight' of each skill
36. SAVE!!

37. Go to Actors>Actor, right click and press 'new'
38. name your Follower and tick: Essential, Unique and Doesn't affect stealth meter
38. select the correct, race, skin and gender for your follower
39. choose a voice
40. set the Disposition Base to 75
41. SAVE!!

42. Go to the Stats tab
43. check PC level mult so your follower levels with your character
44. choose their starting level e.g. 20
45. select the class you made
46. SAVE!!

47. Go to the factions tab
48. right click in the box and click new to add the following factions: current follower faction (rank -1), potential follower faction (rank 0)
49. if you want your follower to be marriable, also add potential marriage faction (rank 0)
50. SAVE!!

51. Go the the relationships tab
52. right click to create a new relationship, give it a unique id
53. change the child npc to player and the relationship level to ally or lover (depending whether they are marriable or not)
54. SAVE!!

55. Go to the AI Data tab
56. Set the Aggression to Aggressive
57. Set the Confidence to Brave or higher
58. Set the Assistance to Helps Friends and Allies
59. Set Morality to Any Crime
60. SAVE!!

60. Go to the Inventory tab
61. Set their Default Outfit (recommend clothing)
62. Give them starting items in their inventory e.g. armor, weapons, potions, food
63. SAVE!!

64. Go to the Spell list tab
65. Add any spells you want them to know
66. Add all the perks you want them to have (find online) - SAVE after each skill
67. SAVE!!

68. Go to Character Gen Parts tab
69. Click Import and find your (follower).npc
70. change each headpart to the ones you made earlier
-Change the hair color to your custom color
-If using ECE only, go to Character Gen Morphs and select Nose Type 32 (to load your preset)
71. SAVE!!

72. Find your follower in the object window and click them once
73. Whilst they are selected, click CTRL & F4
74. A message should come up, click yes

75. Use the Cell View window to select where you want your follower to be in the world
76. Double click the location to open it in the Render Window
77. Drag your follower from the Object Window to the Render Window to place them in your location
78. Reposition them as you please (controls found on internet)
79. When you are happy, SAVE and close the program

80. Go to your follower's meshes folder and open their hair with NifSkope
81. NiTriShape>BSLightingShaderProperty>BSShaderTextureSet and underneath, expand textures
82. Change the first part of the textures to textures/actors/character/(follower)/hair/(hair)
83. Save and overwrite
84. Repeat for hairline(s)

85. Create a new folder somewhere (e.g. Desktop or Documents) and name it your follower
86. In here you must place your (follower).esp
87. Create the following filepath: meshes>actors>character and copy your Follower's Meshes folder here then continue the path with FaceGenData>FaceGeom and paste your follower's FaceGenData folder here
88. Create the following filepath: textures>actors>character and copy your Follower's Textures folder here then continue the path with FaceGenData>FaceTint and paste your Follower's relevant folder here
89. Compress into a .rar
90. Share the .rar if you want

91. Load your (follower).esp in Nexus Mod Manager
92. Test in your game

93. Put the tintmasks folder back in Skyrim>Data>textures>actors>character>character assets



If anyone has any advice on how to make females look as good as males do for other people, please let me know!

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Haven't watched this yet, but I've bookmarked it to watch when I have the time ^.^ So far it looks like a very LONG, very informative video which is PERFECT - I hate when some people try to cram a few hours' worth of a process into a 2-minute tutorial....like no, I want the whole thing! Like this. So thank you very much :D


When you learn how to do it for females, you should make another tutorial *o* Subscribed to your channel to watch for updates and I'll leave a comment once I get the chance to watch the whole video.


Thank you for this!! I always appreciate you tutorial-making people because it helps out ppl like me cause I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing :,)

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Aww thank you very much! You have no idea how much this means to me :') You've made my day!


I was a bit worried that the length of the video would put people off...but it's a long process so it can't be made any shorter! I'm glad you understand.


My tutorial should help if you want to make a female for yourself. Check my notes to find the parts mentioning ECE (if you use that). I have a beautiful female follower for my own game: https://instagram.com/p/6YPaB9E5WT/?taken-by=belladovah but when other people try her, she looks old!


Basically, with my tutorial and notes you should be able to make a male with RaceMenu that you can use and share, and a female using RaceMenu or ECE that you can use but can't share :smile:


I'll keep trying to figure out how to make females look good for other people!


I'd really appreciate some feedback on my video, so thank you :smile:

Edited by Gabby2805
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You're the best omg thank you. No no, the length of the video is honestly amazing because it's going at a normal pace and is easier to understand.


Yeah the reason I want to have my female characters in other games is 1. Some of my friends really like the way she looks and 2. As a joke, I think it would be HILARIOUS to make myself in Skyrim and install it in my boyfriend's game behind his back, with custom audio (from yours truly) nagging him and saying whatever things I say just to piss him off and make him laugh xD


I don't know a thing about modding, I wish I could help but I'm sure there's someone out there who knows! :D I wish you the best of luck, as I said before, I'm reslly grateful for this tutorial so thank you very much!!!

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This seems like a pretty decent tutorial. I had to struggle through making my own custom standalone follower going back and forth other tutorials myself. lol



One thing to note that I discovered: don't put your custom follower in the custom race "Face Preset" list. It will tick the "Is CharGen Preset" box, which will fudge up the "facegendata" pathing and disable the ability to export "facegendata" all together. It wasn't fun wondering why my custom hair and face geometry wasn't being used and why the follower folders weren't being created. :sad:


Also, when you set your follower's skin tone to a custom color, be sure to match it for your follower by going to Actors > Actor > Character Gen Parts tab > Face Tinting Color. If you don't you might end up seeing a neck seam from the discoloration between the body and face. Then again, it might be different since I never selected a "Skin" trait for my follower.


As for the custom race, if you want to have your follower work with various body types, you can opt to leave out creating the body parts "Armor Addons" (torso, hands, and feet) as default. I'm still looking for more people to test out my follower using other body types, but so far my follower is working for both UNP and CBBE body types doing this.


One last thing, in the "General Data" tab of your custom race, be sure to go to the "Copied Data" section and select "Default Race" (or any others that you see fits) for "Armor Race" so that your follower will properly show the equipped armor. There was a case where I didn't do this and my follower ended up being permanently naked no matter what armor she had on. lol



Ever thought about making a helpful guide to archiving all of those loose files into a .bsa file? The CK can technically create the archive for you automatically but I think it may leave out the "facegendata" stuff for some reason. I ended up having to use a utility like BSA-Opt to create the archive manually. In the end, it helped compress the mod from being 16MB to about 3MB and simplifies it to needing just 2 files for the mod to work. I think it would be good practice for future follower mod makers to get in the habit to do so on release. :smile:

Edited by KunoMochi
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  • 4 months later...

So... I have a bit of an odd question, perhaps... All those files aren't in the folders you're showing them in. All that's in there is stuff for Cloaks of Skyrim. I have no idea where my computer has put the actual files; the game itself runs fine, so they're here somewhere. I've selected show hidden files, of course, nothing's there. Is there some step I missed?

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So... I have a bit of an odd question, perhaps... All those files aren't in the folders you're showing them in. All that's in there is stuff for Cloaks of Skyrim. I have no idea where my computer has put the actual files; the game itself runs fine, so they're here somewhere. I've selected show hidden files, of course, nothing's there. Is there some step I missed?


Oh that's very strange! Is your game connected to a Steam account? If not then Skyrim will be in its own folder somewhere on your hard drive and not in any steam folders. Or, if you have an SSD then maybe you installed it on there? I didn't have to do any extra steps to reveal those folders, they're just there. I recommend searching your entire hard drive for 'skyrim' or 'data' or 'meshes' or 'textures'. I hope you find them, best of luck :)

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Yes, it's connected through Steam; It's Windows 8 if that might make a difference? I dunno why it would though...


I checked other places I suspected it might be, but I haven't found anything. The meshes and textures folders are in the data folder, but there's nothing in them, except folders labeled "clothes" that have stuff for Cloaks of Skyrim in them O_o Unfortunately your suggestion about searching would take forever for those terms; I'm a 3d modeler/animator by trade D: Can you give me a specific name for a file that's supposed to be in those folders to ease my search? ^_^;

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