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A soup-erb interview - ElSopa


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Today we are talking to ElSopa - long-time member of the site, texture artist, and creator of "I can't believe it's not an ENB" as well as several SkyUI themes and widget designs.


Note: features swearing/inappropriate language.

BigBizkit: To start this off, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?


ElSopa: Well, first of all, I want to thank you guys for giving me this space, as you have given other super talented authors!


About myself, well it's kind of, let's say, complex?


Years ago I used to play this online game, and to make it as short as possible, some really troubled guy got obsessed with me and then I found that he even travelled to my neighbourhood to find me, it was really creepy. Some sort of dangerous stalker, since then I'm very very reluctant to talk about myself online, I hope you understand!


But I can say I'm a dentist and I live in Argentina (I found some people who think I'm a woman... sorry guys!).



Your username translates to “The Soup”. How did you come up with this soup-erb username?




When I was young (even younger than today!) I used to watch a TV show called "The Soup". In this online game I mentioned I had a different name in Spanish that sounds really controversial in English, so I changed it to "Soup". Many players were from Argentina and called me "Sopa", so that's the origin of my name. 


(I wonder why that question surprises me coming from someone called Bizkit).



"Fun fact: I don't like soup."

- ElSopa, modder named after a creamy, tasty liquid commonly known as "soup"

What kind of mods do you make mostly? How would you describe them?

90% of my modifications are textures, then there are replacers for icons and my beloved SkyUI theme (it's not abandoned, stop asking :D ).


And how would I describe them? Hmmm, I try to add some spark of creativity when possible, for example, I remember a grindstone retexture I did, I added the mark of the foot to the wooden pedal, I guess it's reasonable after so much use.


You’ve been a member of the site for over six years now. What got you interested in modding initially and what was your modding journey like?


Oh, my first contribution was a SweetFX preset, it's still there, it's not too nice tbh, but I tried my best to make it better, and after that, I did one called "I Can't Believe It's Not an ENB". I had a pretty weak PC and running ENBs was impossible for me, so I made this preset to be used in combination with Climates of Tamriel (a weather mod, for those who don't know) trying to make it look like an ENB. It got super popular and people loved it (even Gamwich praised it, I even embedded a screenshot of that to the description page haha). It's still being downloaded years after! After that, I made 3 more ICBINEs. And never had so much fun: for each one I made

and moving to my preset. Watch the 3rd one, it's my favourite. Watching the YouTube views counter explode after each release was so satisfying  :)


After that, I realized I couldn't achieve anything better with the shader injectors and stopped for a while. I tried making one for Skyrim Special Edition but I never liked it - maybe there are better alternatives. Then I tried my luck with textures until today and I am still learning.



How do you usually go about creating your mods/textures? What tools do you use and how did you learn to use them?

Well, I find something that I think I could improve (at least for me) then I search for textures I like and that are royalty-free, that's important since I don't want to get banned.


About the tools I use: I love Paint.NET, it's super lightweight and you can add plugins for many things, I'm really used to that, I tried Photoshop once to warp some textures for a strider but never used it again. I use a program called Mindtex2 for some normals, it's a clone of Crazybump but way cheaper, and Materialize, which is better in my opinion. Then GIMP for giving the final touches on the normals, oh, and I am slowly learning Substance Painter and even more slowly I am learning Blender. That's basically it. I also use Adobe Flash for my icons and all the UI mods -  I was lucky because I got used to it from making animations, without that practice I doubt I would ever touch it, it's kinda tricky and weird.


Oh! and how did I learn to use them? Trial and error AND MOTIVATION (aka fun), I get frustrated really fast so I guess those programs are easy to use.



How much time passed between you realising that there are ants in Skyrim (yes, it’s a thing!) and you deciding to create a retexture for them? Could you even play the game without an HD ant retexture at this point?


Hahahaha, well to be fair, my ants retexture must be the 3rd on the site at least. There were others before me I realized later. Yeah I can forget about retextures in-game because I haven't even played the game lately, lol. when I'm sitting in front of the computer I'm making textures, or experimenting to learn more stuff (there are some atrocious experiments that I guess will never see the light of day).



Have you ever collaborated with other modders on projects? What was the experience like?


Yeah! Now I can't remember exactly how it was, but thing is, I ended up making some icons for the unique weapons on iEquip (be sure to find them all, there are some cool easter eggs) - it was a great experience, Dunc (the author) was nice and often gave me raw meat, and he even allowed me to go outside the basement dungeon for a bit before resuming my work on the icons. I was also force-... I mean invited to watch all the seasons of Airwolf until I liked it (chained to the wall sadly). Hi Dunc!


I was contacted by the Beyond Skyrim team once, too, but I didn't feel I could contribute in a way that was fun to me, so I left.


Oh, also I helped some Spanish speaking guys with translations of their modpages, and other small things. And apparently my name will be added to an easter egg for a... uhm... certain Solitude mod.



Do you have any favourite mods from other authors?


You know what, I could name the obvious more popular mods everyone already knows, but I'll take this opportunity for naming some talented mod authors that deserve at least a peek at their profiles:


mnelson999 is an incredibly talented guy, I used his Nexus Mod Monitor since the ICBINE days until lately when the site changed and made it obsolete, check his profile now!!!


MrNeverLost, what a guy! He helped me a lot with stuff I didn't know about modding, and he is always so kind.


RayMaster901, he's new to texturing and learning fast!


Also, I want to thank Schlangster for giving me permission to mod his incredible SkyUI!!!


There are others that I'm not mentioning because they are recognized widely, like: Dunc001, Kojak747, QueenieAngel, Cuyima, Rallyeator, Winedave, sorry if I forgot anyone!!!! Also, Nazenn! he's super cool! and we're working on something amazing!



What other hobbies do you have?


I love playing the guitar, singing, and keeping up to date with the UFO investigation scene (which is in a sad state lately). Oh and if there's anyone from Argentina (zona sur) playing instruments I want to form a band.



Do you have any tips for people who are interested in getting into modding themselves?

Find something you think you could do better or different, and forget about getting instant big results, start with something minimal and see it in-game, even if its some simple line on a texture or whatever. First time I edited a texture, when I saw it in-game, it was like drawing a moustache on Captain Picard's face. 


Ask for help, watch a lot of youtube tutorials.



Is there anything else you would like to say to our community?

That it's great when you find good people and sad when you find the wrong people - focus on the good ones and have lots of fun!


And one last message for the people in Argentina please:


Aguante los Redondos, Soda, Avant Press, Spinetta y Charly papá!


A big thank you to ElSopa for taking the time to respond to our questions. As always, if there are any mod authors or mod projects you'd like to hear about, don't hesitate to send a message to Pickysaurus and BigBizkit.

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Just about all of your mods are exceptional, but your colored and animated icons for SkyUI are my personal favorites; combined with a good font replacer, it's like a dream come true!


Thank you for everything you do, ElSopa!

Edited by sentinel1313
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