Demystifying Body Mods: An Expert‘s Guide to UNP and CBBE in Skyrim - 33rd Square (2024)

So you want to enhance the beauty of female characters in Skyrim? Well my friend, you‘ve come to the right place. As a veteran modder and self-proclaimed Skyrim fanatic, I‘ve spent an enormous amount of time playing with popular body replacers like UNP and CBBE across multiple playthroughs.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll be sharing my expert insights on implementing these mods seamlessly based on years of trial and error. Whether you‘re looking for lusher curves, better compatibility, or crashing less (oh the crashes), let‘s delve into the nuts and bolts of body modding!

An Overview of Body Mods

First, what exactly are body replacer mods? Simply put, they modify the mesh and texture files for character models to enhance their shape and appearance. For female bodies, popular choices like CBBE and UNP reshape them to add more curves, smoothness, details, and realism.

Body mods only affect the player character and NPCs by default. But there are addons to extend changes across all races and males too. The major things they alter:

  • Meshes – 3D shape of body parts like the torso, legs, arms etc.
  • Textures – Images defining colors, lighting, and details of skin.
  • Physics – Jiggle bones, collisions, movement.

These combine to create a radically improved visual experience compared to the blocky vanilla body models. But enough theory, let‘s see them in action!

Demystifying Body Mods: An Expert‘s Guide to UNP and CBBE in Skyrim - 33rd Square (1)

The luscious curves possible with body mods like CBBE bring life to characters

Introducing UNP

UNP or Unified UNP Female Body Replacer is a lightweight body mod that‘s been around since 2011 and still hugely popular today with over 1.4 million downloads.

What makes it special? Well it takes a minimal approach by only modifying the meshes and textures for armor pieces designed for UNP. Your naked character model remains untouched.

According to veteran modder Tumbajamba who created UNP:

"This mod gives all of the armor and clothes in Skyrim the voluptuous curves that the female body should have, while keeping the lore friendly appeal you would expect."

Let‘s breakdown how it works:

  1. You install UNP‘s textures and meshes like normal. No esp plugin needed.
  2. Mods labeled as UNP will detect these assets and override the vanilla female body assets when equipped.
  3. Your naked model remains vanilla, only armor is changed.

This makes UNP super compatible with most armor/clothing mods as it avoids modifying the base character model. No messy conversions needed!

But it does mean no shape customization for the naked body. For that we need something like CBBE.

CBBE – Total Customization

Caliente‘s Beautiful Bodies Edition (CBBE) takes things further by providing a full-body replacer with all-new meshes and textures. On its own it will give every female character supermodel curves and skimpier proportions.

Demystifying Body Mods: An Expert‘s Guide to UNP and CBBE in Skyrim - 33rd Square (2)

CBBE (right) dramatically alters the female form compared to vanilla (left)

But the real power comes from modularity. With the BodySlide tool, you can customize everything about the shape from breasts to butt size. Mix and match presets, import looks, adjust on the fly. Over 5 million downloads for this mod and counting!

As active Redditor RallerenP explains about CBBE:

"This mod is the gold standard for customizable bodies. The specs are up to your imagination."

Of course, a total overhaul like CBBE has downsides:

  • Requires compatibility patches for lots of armor mods.
  • Can create texture seams on outfits.
  • Naked bodies look consistent but lose uniqueness of races.

That‘s where combining it with UNP helps resolve these issues.

Blending UNP and CBBE for Perfect Synergy

After extensive testing across playthroughs, I‘ve found the best results come from using both UNP and CBBE together. Here are my top tips:

  • Use CBBE for your naked base body to get the shapes you want.
  • Get UNP-compatible armor mods to avoid conversion issues.
  • Run Bodyslide on UNP armors for optimal mesh-shape fitting.
  • Use Outfit Studio sparingly to convert any problematic items.

This pairing gives you enhanced vanilla outfits thanks to UNP while retaining CBBE‘s custom body freedom. Some clipping may still occur but overall they complement each other incredibly well.

UNP vs CBBE Features Compared

Body MeshUnchangedFully replaced
TexturesPartialFully redone
CustomizationNoneExtreme via Bodyslide
Armor CompatibilityExcellentRequires patching
Performance ImpactNegligibleModerate

Advanced Mods and Features

We‘ve only scratched the surface of modding possibilities! Here are some advanced tools and mods to take things to the next level:

Physics Extensions

  • HDT-SMP – Dynamic breast/butt physics and collision
  • CBPC – Improved physics with fine-tuned animations


  • BHUNP – Curvy shapes tailored for UNP
  • CBBE Slim – Leaner flat shapes
  • CBBE Curvy – Voluptuous enhanced curves

Race Mods

  • Beautiful Beasts – Beast races redone for CBBE
  • Imperious Races – Unique shapes for all races

Body Mods for Males

  • Better Males
  • Female Body for Male
  • SAM

And many more! Body modding offers unlimited options if you‘re willing to experiment. Always remember to clean mods and create backups.

In Closing

I hope this guide has shed some light on the power of body replacers like UNP and CBBE for enhancing beauty and realism in Skyrim. Take advantage of their strengths while avoiding pitfalls with Bodyslide and proper load order. The time invested is well worth it for breathtaking visuals. Here‘s to happy modding!

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Demystifying Body Mods: An Expert‘s Guide to UNP and CBBE in Skyrim - 33rd Square (2024)
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