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How to make a "Beautiful Character"

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#1 SeV

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 11:34 AM


Have you ever looked at a screenshot or picture of a fantastic character that just made you stop and think "how did he do that?" How about the ever-popular phrase, "wow, I wish I could make characters that looked half as good?" Making a "beautiful" character in Oblivion is easier than many people think. The purpose of the following tutorial is just a basic gathering of information pertaining to making character faces in Oblivion. It would be impossible for me to give you step-by-step directions for achieving your definition of "beautiful". That is ultimately up to you and your imagination to decide. Instead, I will try to note as many tips and tricks, and as much general information as I can to get you started in your Oblivion character.

First, I would like to explore the different methods of creating a character, and the tools they involve. Most people think that you have to create a character from scratch, using the facegen editor in Oblivion. While that is the traditional way of doing things, you don't necessarily have to go that route. Below are some options and descriptions that will help you decide which path is right for you.

NOTE TO XBOX 360 AND PS3 USERS: I really don't want you guys to feel left out. Although this guide/thread sways heavily towards the PC side with the mention of mods and other pc-only applications, there are still a lot of tips and tricks that are pertinent to both sides of the coin. You can make a vanilla Oblivion character that is still extremely attractive: my best examples are of course Kae by Kafeid which uses no outside mods (except for More Generic Faces, but that's irrelevant) and by personal creation Emma.
So please don't feel like this information is worthless to you. Read a bit, and I'm sure that you will find a lot of general tips that will improve your facegen experience.

UPDATE: Rog2000 gave console users some great tips in a post on the second page, I'd like to quote-bump-post him up to the first:

I'm on the 360, so I don't have access to all the mods mentioned throughout this thread, but it's still possible to make some great-looking faces even on a console. Also, many of the tips and techniques in this FaceGen tutorial are absolutely great pointers, some of which I'd never considered in depth, so thanks for the time spent compiling all that info.

So far I've managed to make a chisel-jawed noble Nord warrior, a middle-aged angry dark elf assassin, and a slimy degenerate wood elf. All three have distinct faces that I've been told look very realistic (as realistic as fantasy characters can look, at any rate). I do have some background in art, therefore a slightly above average knowledge of anatomy, which definitely helps. The best advice I can give is if you're becoming frustrated in your character creation, find a face you like in a magazine or somewhere, and try to tweak the facial features in Oblivion to mimic the features you want. It can be a time-consuming task, but after a few tries, it becomes faster, easier, and a whole lot of fun.

Also, not having the benefit of constant saving on the 360, my advice is to either write down the general slider settings as you finalize features or take a snapshot with a digital camera, that way if you mess up at any point, you can get back to something close to what you started with.

UPDATE: Another tip from Bluto, working on the PS3 version:

thanks for writing this faq.

I have the ps3 version and it helped me.

so far I was able to make a [censored]ty looking blonde that my friend said even looks like she has the stereotypical [censored]ty dumb blonde look.

And a chisel jawed imperial type.

What has helped me fix the "save" issue on consoles is to make the basic character at the beginning of the tutorial, then when you get to the end of the tutorial and have the option to modify before you leave the sewers- SAVE.

then modify, then save, save twice, save three times to different files till you get the character you like, put out the torch, use the torch, go outside and look at character after that- but you have the saves right before and can just keep walking into the sewer gate to save inbetween face changes.


DOWNLOADING A FACE PACK/CHARACTER SAVEGAME: There are several beautiful faces packs and savegames available for downloading on tessource and other related Oblivion modding sites. Both contain faces already created by facegen artists, some of which are very, very good.

THE GOOD: There are several reasons why you could choose to go this route. First, it is 100% acceptable to download a face pack or character save game and "tweak" the character's face and make it your own. This would be ideal for someone that wants a pretty face, but doesn't want to spend a lot of time fussing over the minute details. This is also recommended for someone that is just starting out in creating their character. Once you have a basic general face to work with, you can edit a little here, and a little there, and customize them to your liking. I will list some popular faces so you can shop around and get a sense of what you might like to work with if you chose to go this route.

THE BAD: The bad thing about downloading a character, is that most of the times, they require additional mods to be downloaded. This isn't necessarily a huge deal, but some of the more exotic characters like Sia, there are multiple mods to download. So make sure that you RTFR (read the freaking readme) and fully understand the needed mods before attempting to install any of these face packs.

LYRES BEAUTIFUL FACES: Lyre has composed a number of stunning faces, both male and female, all for your downloading pleasure. This includes all races, except for Khajiit and Argonian, for obvious reasons. Definitely a must-see.

KAE BY KAFEID: One of my favorites and an inspiration piece that got me interested in creating faces. Kae is a stunning Bosmer, and probably one of the most famous examples of a beautiful face In the Oblivion community. You could say she is the most downloaded Oblivion girl on the net, with her clothes on anyways. :evil: I also tip my hat off to her creator Kafeid, one of the nicest people I had the pleasure of talking to online.

Xender's Angels and Heroes: Another work of art, Xender really nailed the faces of his girls. If I had to choose one general pack of females, this would be my first choice. The quality that Xender has put into his (or her) work deserves to be commended, in every way.

Sia the Mystic Elf Female by Floydian1: The mistress of everything evil, skimpy and cute herself. She really needs no introduction, but if I don't give her one she will eat my heart for dinner. Sia is an extremely popular little vixen, crafted by no other than Floydian1 himself. She exhibits a lot of traits that I will be trying to cover in a "beautiful" character a little later on, so even if you don't want to download her, at least check out her picture(s). You can learn a lot.

TIP: One final note regarding face saves. Proper etiquette says you should mention that you are using an edited face if someone compliments you on your work, but it's dependent on how much you've edited the face, and of course, it's not mandatory by any means (unless specifically asked by the author).

FACEGEN MODELLER: A company by the name of Singular Inversions has made an interesting program called FaceGen Modeller. What it does is basically what the random button in Oblivion's facegen tool does, except you get more human-like faces. It's an interesting concept, and although the faces don't come out as relatively well as you would like them to, it's still something interesting and worth checking out on a rainy day. You can download it here. You will also need this nifty tool made by Scanti called Facegen Oblivion Version. It adds the Oblivion face models to the Facegen Modeller software, so you can mess around with Oblivion faces inside the software.

THE GOOD: Well, this piece of software makes generating faces in Oblivion a bit more interesting. With the full version, you can actually take a few pictures of yourself and it will create a model of your face, so you can plant it on that Oblivion character of yours. This is probably your best chance to have your face inside Cyrodiil, so take advantage of it.

THE BAD: Steep price tag for the full version. $250? Ouch. Also, the faces don't come out as well as you would expect. Mixed results, at best.


"We come to the real work at last...." - Raminus Polus

Creating a character using Oblivion's system can be frustrating, time-consuming, and tedious. But it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE. I'm sure you have heard of a lot of people (including myself) commenting on the amount of hours they have spent making a character. However, don't take that as a guideline or a benchmark of any sort. You are finished with your character when YOU say you are finished with your character. Do not think that just because you worked on her (or him) for 15 minutes, that you need to work on her longer because you feel that wasn't enough time. Trust me, because I say this from experience: there is only so much editing and re-editing that you can do, and the longer you spend on a character, the bigger the chances are that you will end up with the same character you started out with 12 hours ago, minus 3/4th of your sanity. Not to say that there is anything wrong with tweaking and re-tweaking your character, but make sure that you are heading in one direction, not going around in circles. If you don't understand what I mean now, you will.

Let's start this section off much like we did the last one, and narrow down the options you have of working within the system, so you can choose the one that best suits you.

TRADITIONAL OBLIVION FACEGEN: I believe this is the route used by most of the "face artists" that I know. It's a good balance between being able to do what you want, and still giving you boundaries so you don't go off the deep end and make a hideous character with one wrong click.

THE GOOD: There's a lot of good things about using the regular facegen sliders in Oblivion. First off, you are in-game, so you can see all of the changes you have made to your character's faces in real-time. You can also "fine-tune" your character with more accuracy, especially when using the More Chargen Numbers mod discussed below.

THE BAD: The sliders are both a gift and a curse. The sliders have limits to them, so it keeps you from making some really bad-looking characters. However, they're linked. So if you move slider a, slider b in another facial category might move too. This is an extremely important factor, and to be fair it makes sense (think about it: when you open your mouth, do your cheeks not cave in?) Unfortunately, that is how the body works, so that is how the facegen works.

CONSTRUCTION SET FACEGEN: Definitely for the hard-core crowd. The construction set facegen is accessed within the TESCS. Some people actually prefer using this facegen, because of the freedom it provides. However, my personal recommendation would be to use this only for special situations.

THE GOOD: The good thing about the construction set facegen is it allows you more freedom than the traditional in-game system. There are no boundaries, so you can make some changes that would otherwise not be doable in-game. For example, if you wanted to shorten or lengthen the horns on your Dremora, or if you wanted to make you Kahjiit's eyes bigger than the TOB (traditional oblivion facegen) allows. It also uses a different method of editing your character. Instead of using sliders, you hold the right-mouse button over a facial feature (like the cheeks for example) and you directly edit the face by moving your mouse in a direction.

THE BAD: There are very little restrictions. You can make an ugly character very easily. The mouse is extremely sensitive, so be aware of that. The preview window is really small, so its hard to gauge how your changes are going to look like until you restart the game with your changes. The importing/exporting of faces needs to be done through Wyre Bash which can be confusing if you don't know what you're doing.

MORE GENERIC FACES: More Generic Faces is a mod that resets all of your sliders to 0. You should note that the sliders don't ALL reset to a perfect 0, its nearly impossible. The mod does the best job it can in making the sliders as balanced as possible.

THE GOOD: More Generic Faces is an excellent tool for beginner facegen...ers? Is that a word? Anyways, the good thing about resetting the sliders to 0 is you get a Generic Face which makes a pretty good starting point for your character. You can easily muster out a pretty character just by tweaking a little here and a little there off the sliders. I've heard a lot of success stories using this method, a lot of people say the quality of their characters improved by tenfold.

THE BAD: I would whole-heartedly recommend this mod: the only problem is that the mod warps the character's faces, so if you wanted to for example share your character, everybody would have to have the mod. A good example of this is Kae by Kafeid: she used Generic Faces on her character. If you don't have Generic Faces installed, Kae will come out looking very warped. I've also heard rumors about warping NPC faces as well, although I can't confirm that for sure.

The other bummer about using this mod is that it's incompatible with the cosmetic mods. So if you really want to use it, you're going to have to merge the mods using the TES4PLUGIN UTILITY. The obvious work-around to this, is to zero out your sliders manually before you start your character. Yes, I'm aware it can be a pain, but in the end you will save yourself a lot of hassle trying to figure out if future mods are going to comply with MGF.


So far we've covered the different alternatives you can use to creating a beautiful face, as well as the options you have for working with the system. So let's go ahead and start discussing the some basic strategies to creating a successful face: one that you will be content with. Like any other project, what is the first thing we need when we start building something? Tools!

RECOMMENDED MODS: This is a short list of recommended mods that will help you in your facegen creation. Definately choose one from the facial texture category, and one cosmetic pack to work with. It opens up many choices for your character, and makes them look considerably nicer.

TIP: When I first started working on faces, I made a face using cosmetic compilations. After several days of creating and re-creating, I finally ended up with a face that I thought was perfect. The problem? I wanted to use Mighty Magick with my character, and Mighty Magick unfortunately is only compatible with Beautiful People. That cost me a lot of time, and I don't want that to happen to you. The lesson? Make sure you know what's compatible with what BEFORE you start creating. There's nothing worse than starting over on your project because of something you overlooked.


Facial textures are replacements for the vanilla Oblivion face textures. Basically, it makes your characters faces look nicer. If you want a "deeper" explanation, they bump up the resolution of your faces, giving them an overall better look. There are two facial texture packs that the community uses:

IFT (Improved Facial Textures): Improved Facial Textures by Shady Tradesman. This is the most popular of the two facial textures, by recent poll. Very nice features, you can check out the difference between the vanilla faces and the IFT faces in the screenshot provided.

Natural Faces: the alternative to IFT. I like this facial texture pack, it's definitely worth checking out before you make a decision on which one you want to go with. Natural Faces leaves a bit of room for older faces, so wrinkles shine a bit more. You probably won't be making an old hag character, but remember that these texture packs affect ALL characters, not just yours. So choose wisely.

Danis Beauty Patch v1.1: Danis beauty patch is a patch specifically made for Natural Faces 1.1. It makes the cheeks and lips stand out a bit more, and it's a good addition to the patch, especially if you're making a female character. Check out the comparison screens and decide for yourself.


Cosmetic Packs are actually several mods tied into one mod, for your convenience. They usually include more custom races and eyes for your characters. Definitely a must when you're making your character: you want all the options you can get.

Beautiful People: Beautiful people is the more popular mod, and for good reason. It boasts more custom races than it's counter-part (including the almighty cute Ahnimi!), and some nice eyes to boot. Taken from the readme: "This mod combines Ren's Beauty Pack and Mystic Elves, Nequam's Ainmhe, Nequam's Elaborate Eyes, the Custom Race Fix by KyneTarse, KyneTarse's Vampire Hunter's Sight and Khajiit Night Eye toggles, Grimdeath and Syko Fox's Tang Mo, Capucine's Colorable Beast Hair, Trigger190's Bald Hairstyle, and Theodic Marthil's Skyrim Khajiit. I also made the Dremora hair and blindfold playable. Also included is Damos' Custom Race Fix for the Boethia shrine and a version that uses Zeladin's Hair Fix. Zeladin's hair fix is required if you use that version, but don't use Zeladin's ESP."

Cosmetic Compilation: Cosmetic Compilations isn't a bad alternative to Beautiful People. Although there are less custom races in Cosmetic Compilations, I am favorable to their selection of eyes, which look great. If you don't care about any of the custom races (although keep in mind it does have the mandatory mystic elf and Dremora races) then this is worth considering. Taken from the readme: "The mod currently includes Capucine's Character Expansion v1.2, Jeepers Creepers Peepers v2.0, Ren's Beauty Pack v1.1, and shadytradesman's eyebrow fix for Imperials and Redguards. I plan on adding more mods in the future, so please, request what you would like to see in the mod."

Soya 4 Hair Pack This pack adds four new hair styles into the game. To be 100% honest, only one of them is actually useful (I'm sure you can guess which one right away). The others don't contour to the shape of your head nearly as well as they should. It's still worth checking out though, there are plenty of creative uses for the hair(s)

UPDATE: Divine Avenger has made an awesome character using one hair from Soya's hair pack. It's a really sweet character, I was flabbergasted at the work he did (yes, I had to drop the f word for this one.) Check it out if you have a chance, the link is here.

UPDATE 2: Soya's Hair link has now been updated to be compatible with the 1.2 patch. If you downloaded the hair pack before 1.2, please re-download this patch. Thanks to w00t for the fix and Divine Avenger for the link.


CHARGEN WITH NUMBERS: Chargen With Numbers is a mod that adds numbers to the sliders, making it easier to gauge how much you're changing the face, as well as giving you a rough estimate of where you were if you needed to go back. This is especially useful when messing around with coloring, one of the more touchy aspects of Oblivion Facegen. There's real down-side to this mod, pick it up to add to your arsenal. (thanks to Captain_Snafu for the tip)

Ok, we have our facial texture. We have our cosmetic pack. Lets talk about some general rules and tips before we start messing around with the facegen.

RULE 1: SAVE. SAVE. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SAVE. I can't stress this enough. There is no such thing as over-saving when you're making a face. Save often, and save in different slots. Don't worry about have 400 savegames, when you're done with you character you can go back and delete the saves you made in the my documents/my games/oblivion/saves directory in your hard-drive. You can even delete the savegames in-game if you want, so don't be afraid to save.You move a few sliders around, save it. Save any time you feel like experimenting with your face. This does two things: one, it allows you to go back to the face you had before, if you don't like the changes, and two: it lets you compare your faces to each other to see which changes you like better. Trust me, you will know when you are almost finished with your character, and when that time comes, you will want to scrutinize every last detail, so going back and forth between changes so you can see which one you like is crucial.

TIP: There's a good way to save without going in and out of the facegen menu. While in the facegen menu, hit the ~ key to bring up the console. Now hit ESC to bring up the save menu and the save option should be highlighted. This is especially useful for after you exit the sewers and want to change your face, because once you exit the sewers and go back into your facegen menu using "showracemenu", if you make any changes and hit accept, you lose all of your xp.

RULE 2: CARESS YOUR MOUSE. Ok, I couldn't think of a better term, so I'll go with that. Make sure you realize that one millimeter goes a mile when you're creating a face. The last thing you want to do is just wildly move your sliders around from one end to the next, trying to find a happy medium. Think of it as painting. Take light strokes with the mouse, don't get too excited and move the sliders more than you have to. This will go a long way and save you a lot of headaches down the road. Keep in mind that you're not going to get the effect you want out of one slider alone: it's a combination of sliders that make up the face, so have some restraint, take it easy, and go slow. Kate Beckinsale wasn't built in a day. :wub:

RULE 3: YOUR STANDARDS ARE YOURS ALONE: As someone reminded me recently, don't try to judge your work by someone else's standards. You are an individual, with your individual tastes, outlooks, thoughts, feelings. Don't try to compete with anyone except yourself. This is your character, be happy with it.

RULE 4: PATIENCE IS THE KEY: There will be times when you will get extremely frustrated at the facegens. You will want to murder the facegen sliders and all of the little facegen slider kids. Be patient. If you really feel like giving up, just save and leave for the day. Start over if you don't like the way your character is coming along. Revert back to a savegame. But remain patient at all times and don't give up. In the end, it will be a very rewarding experience.

RULE 5: HAVE FUN! Nuff said. ?

THE SECRET TO MAKING A BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER: The next thing that I would like to discuss is very important, which is why I wanted to make this a separate comment. There is one very important skill you should practice while creating a character. It's very simple, it just takes some time to get down, but after a while you will be doing it naturally. When you create a character, keep in mind what sliders you're using and how they individually affect the face. It's sort of a"duh why are you telling me this" point, but it's extremely important. I like to call it the "sixth sense". The biggest frustration to anybody starting out in facegen is how the slider works. Often times, you move slider a in the chin area and it affects slider b in the cheek area. This is because they are linked. Try to pay attention to what else is going on when you're moving your slider. This allows you to grasp a sense of what you need to do when you need to do it. I don't know how many times I've thought "ok, I need to make the nose longer" and I had to fiddle around with several different sliders just to get the nose longer without losing the overall structure of the face. I know this sounds a bit complicated, and maybe a little intimidating, but if you've read this far, I'm sure you can handle it. It's very easy to learn, it just takes practice to master.

With this in mind, I'm going to segway into the next chapter, which I hope will be the most helpful to you, and the one you will be spending the most time in. In this next section, I will try to give you a GENERAL idea about what sliders you should manipulate to get the effect you want. I will also be giving you some little starter points that I use to start my character. They are very general, the only purpose is to give you some insight in what you should focus on first. PLEASE NOTE: This next section is VERY experimental and subject to change. I am only speaking for myself, and sharing with you the ways that I like to start on a character. Please understand that there are SEVERAL methods of starting your character, there is no such thing as right or wrong. I will be explaining why I do the things I do first, so you can get a better understanding and develop your own starting methods.

For this section, we will be mainly working with Beautiful Faces 2.2, and IFT (you can use natural faces .95 too, it really doesn't matter). For your starter face, we're going to go with a mystic elf. Yes, I know everyone has a mystic elf, it's been overdone to death. But there's a good reason. Reneer did an excellent job in the design of his (or her?) elves. They pretty much start off beautiful. Go ahead and fire up Oblivion and get into the face editor. Ooooh, scary huh? ? Don't worry we'll take it slow.

Let me give you some general tips before we begin:

TIP 1: SHOWRACEMENU IS YOUR FRIEND. The command "showracemenu" is very handy, as it allows you to go back and forth from the race menu to the game, whenever you feel like touching up your character. To use it, hit the ~ on your keyboard to bring up the console, and then type showracemenu. Note that if you do this after you leave the sewers, it will have strange effects on your experience. So make sure that you use the save trick and DON'T hit accept changes if you want to edit your character outside of the sewers.

TIP 2: TFC. LEARN IT. LOVE IT. TFC is a console command that allows you to move the camera around and look at your character in different angles. This is very helpful for when you want to look at your character the way NPC's look at her. Get used to exiting the race menu, opening up the console, typing tcl and positioning the camera in front of your character. That way you can periodically exit out of the menu and see how your progress is coming along You only have to do this once, the camera stays put as you enter and exit the race menu.

TIP 3: SELF-SHADOWS HAVE TO GO. If you have a video card that supports self-shadows, turn it off while you're working on your character. While self-shadowing is a cool effect, it hinders your ability to see the skin tone of your character, among other things. Turn it back on after you're done editing.

Ok so, we're finally ready to beging. Go ahead and start a new game, open up the facegen and lets have a look.

First thing you want to do is pick a hair for your character. While this doesn't apply as much when you're using vanilla Oblivion hair, it's extremely important for custom hair like Ren's hair pack or Soya's hair. Why the hair first? Well, these custom hairs don't tend to bend and flex with the shape of your character's head when it's being edited. So what we're going to do is, we are going to fit your character's head to your hair, instead of the other way around. Now the good news about this is that the arc of the hair is pretty standard, so what means is that if you choose to go with another hair style later on, it's not going to pose much of a problem because they all fit the same (assuming you're using the same hairs from the same hair packs).

TIP: If you're not planning on using a modded hair, and just want to go vanilla, there's a bald head style in the beautiful people mod. Some people say it's easier to edit your face, because the hair doesn't get in the way. Do whatever feels most comfortable to you.

Next, let's go ahead and set the age slider to 0 (all the way to the left) and also pick a skin tone that we would like to work with. The reason I like doing this at the beginning, is because for some reason both age the age and face sliders change the shape of your face. It's kind of odd, I never understood it, but it happens. Once again, if you can get a general tone that you want to implement, it's easier to go back later and tweak your characters skin tone a bit so that it doesn't warp your face too much.
Ok, we got those down. Great. Now we're going to start molding our face to the hair that we choose. Let's start with the forehead sliders.

TIP: This is extremely important to remember: you're going to have to manipulate the sliders in several categories, so don't think that once you exit a menu that it's the last time you're going to have to work in it. Think of it as stretching out dough. You mold a few corners at a time until you get the shape you want. Keep going back and forth between menus, so you can slowly start a fundamental structure for your face. And DON'T FORGET TO SAVE!

Forehead Small/Large is going to change the width of your face.

Forehead Tall/short is going to change the height of your eyes. This is pretty important for when the hair you chose has bangs, you want to make sure that your eyes are going to clear the bangs. Don't worry too much if they don't though, you can tweak it a little more when we start working on the eyes. Just focus on getting your character's head to fit the outline of the hair.

Forehead Forward/Back is also going to stretch out your face a bit, but take notice to your lower face area. See how it warps the cheeks a little? Don't worry about that for now, we're just trying to align the face.
Next let's go ahead and move to sliders in the Face menu.

Face Thin/Wide is going to allow us to tweak out face a little bit more. Go ahead and tweak out your face a bit more to fit the contour of the hair.

Face Brow/Nose/Chin ratio is going to scrunch up or stretch out your face. You understand it better by trying it out yourself, instead of me explaining it to you.

Face/Forehead/Sellion/Nose Ratio is a curious little slider. The best way I can explain it is it raises the inner corners of your eye sockets and your brows. Think about it as the same effect you get when you raise your eyebrows. I usually keep this all the way to the left, but you can definitely tweak the eye-level effect a little better by going into the nose section later on if you want that look.

Face Heavy/Light pretty much makes your character chubby or skinny. I usually don't go too overboard with the heavy section, keeping it maybe 75% light, but I don't recommend going 100% light, unless you're trying to make Nicole Richie.

Face Round/Gaunt is pretty self-explanatory. It's a pretty important slider, because it allows your character to either have a round, cute face or a more elegant, slender face. Definitely don't overlook this slider, it will come in handy later on when we work on the jaw outline.

Ok, I hope that wasn't too confusing. Remember to caress the mouse, don't jerk it around. Light strokes will do you good and save you a lot of headaches. Remember to keep going in and out of facegen with the "showracemenu" command. Trust me when I say that sometimes you character's face in-game doesn't look the same as it did in the race menu, so don't be afraid to exit out of the facegen menu, look at your face, and go back into it with the "showracemenu" console command.

The next few sliders we're going to be looking at are going to be where you're going to spend most of your time tweaking. If you look at any beautiful character, the first thing you should pay attention to is the jaw-line. Why? Think of it as fitting a puzzle together. Where do you usually start? The outer frame. The jaw-line, in my opinion, is the MOST important aspect of a beautiful character. It basically makes or breaks your girl (or guy) so we have to tweak this until we get a result we're satisfied with. Unfortunately, this is also the most complex part of your character, and involves a combination of several different sliders in several categories. Don't think when I say "jaw-line" I mean jaw menu alone. I'm referring to the combination of jaw/cheek/chin sliders that make up the bottom potion of your face. This section is going to be a bit tricky to explain, because like anything else, thereās no right or wrong way of starting, but no other section holds truer than this one. Let's get to it.

I'm going to split this up into two categories of sliders: primary and secondary. The primary sliders are the ones that you want to be mainly focusing on for the overall outline of your jaw. The secondary sliders are sliders you're going to want to take into consideration when you want to tweak the line a little more. Have patience, and you can get through this with little or no problems. Most of these are self-explanatory, but I'll give you a little bit of insight on each of them.


Chin Shallow/Deep changes the length of your face. If you want a longer face, make it deeper. If you want a shorter face, make it shallow. I like to make round cute faces, so I always lean towars the shallow side. If you go deep, don't forget to fill in your cheeks and jaws with the Jaw Wide/Thin slider and the Cheekbones Concave/Convex and Cheekbones Round/Gaunt sliders.

Chin Wide/Thin basically makes your chin wider or thinner. You'll be working with this to shape out the tip of your chin/jaw area. Good for making heart-shaped faces. Use with the Cheekbones Concave/Convex and Cheekbones Round/Gaunt to shape out your chin properly.

Cheekbones Concave/Convex goes along with the cheekbones Round/Gaunt sliders. This slider determines the width of your cheeks. You'll want to mess around with Jaw Wide/Thin as well when you're working with these sliders. Chin Wide/Thin and Jaw-line Concave/Convex to shape out your chin properly.

Cheekbones Round/Gaunt goes along with the Cheekbones Concave/Convex sliders. This slider determines whether your character has a rounder face or a slim, elegant face. Look at the Face Round/Gaunt slider when you're tweaking this as well. Use with the Chin Wide/Thin and Jaw-line Concave/Convex to shape out your chin properly.

Jaw Wide/Thin basically does what the title says: makes your jaw either wide or thin. For some reason I like to leave this all the way thin on most of my characters, but if you want a character with a "chisled face", then by all means crank it more towards the wide side.

Jaw-line concave/convex works well with Chin Wide/Thin. This will make your character either have an oval chin or a very pointy chin. Once again, useful when you want to make a heart-shaped face. Use with the Cheekbones Concave/Convex and Cheekbones Round/Gaunt to shape out your chin properly.


Chin Tall/Short makes your chin... taller or shorter. :)

Chin Pronounced/Recessed accompanies the chin Tall/Short and Chin Small/Large sliders. This slider, accompanied by the others, determines the size of your chin, as well as how much your chin sticks out.

Cheekbones Thin/Wide makes the upper part of your face (around the ears) wider or thinner. Good for trying to fit your ears inside or outside of your hair.

Jaw Neck-Slope High/Low is very important to your character. Make sure you turn your character side-ways when using it otherwise she might come out with a turtle/turkey neck.)

Obviously there are other sliders involved that need your attention when it comes to shaping out your face. However, these in my opinion, are the ones you should primarily be working with. Don't forget that it's not one slider that makes up the face, it's a combination of sliders. So if something isn't working, go to another slider that you think might give you the effect that you're looking for.

If you're getting to this point of this tutorial, I'm assuming that you have the outline of your face, including the chin, ready. Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back, everything from here on is all smooth sailing. So let's go ahead and save our work, and get to the eyes.


People say that the eye is the "window to the soul." This is especially true when you are creating your character. Your choice of eyes can mean the difference between good and evil, cute and playful or serious and stern. When you're picking out a set of eyes, make sure you think about your overall tone of the character. Try to choose something that compliments your hair color too. Instead of going over the eye sliders, I am just going to give you some basic pointers to help you on your way.

LARGE EYES: To have the large eyes effects, first you need to have the Eyes Small/Large set all the way over to... you guessed it: large. The next thing you need to check is the position of your cheekbones. The higher your cheekbones, the smaller your eyes get, so there's definitely a trade-off. Also, try not to make your eyes too big, you can overdo it with the big saucer eyes pretty easily in the race menu.

SMALLER EYES: Same as above, just go the opposite way.


Some nose sliders, such as Nose Sellion Down/Up affect the shape of your eyes. In fact, a lot of the sliders you use, like anything else, are going to have a little bit of effect on the eyes, whether it's your cheekbone sliders or your forehead sliders. Be aware of what's going on with your face, and adjust accordingly.

Like I said previously, the eyes are an important aspect of your character's personality, so take a little time choosing the right color for your guy or girl. Sometimes a stare is worth a thousand words.


There's not much to say about the nose. It's there, it rests between your eyes, and of course, the shape of it should be contoured to your face IE if you have a longer face, have a longer nose. If you have a shorter face, have a shorter nose. Be sure to turn your character side-ways in the Race Menu every once in a while to make sure that honker of yours isn't too large!


Perhaps one of the worse sections of the face to work with. The vanilla Oblivion mouths look very ,very odd to me. They remind me of little worms mating under my nose. Ren's mystic elves have better-looking mouths, just because of different texturing. However they all look like they've been sucking on lemons for days ;) You definitely have to tweak out the mouth area on the mystic elves to try to get more of a natural look out of them.

TIP: If you aren't getting what you want out of your mouth, go back to some of the chin and jaw sliders. The Chin Pronounced/Recessed and the Jaw Retracted/Jutting among other sliders have a direct impact on your character's mouth. Sometimes they can make the mouth more or less puckered, so if you're having some hard times with the mouth, just revert back to some of the other sliders until you get that effect you're looking for.


Coloring of your character pretty much makes or breaks him/her, especially if you're making a female character. Talent in this field is crucial, I can't stress this enough. The skin tone, tone of the lips, the eyeshadow, it all brings your character together and gives him or her a real sense of life. Coloring of your character is a VERY delicate situation. Remember how I told you to stroke your mouse? Well you want to stroke it 10x lighter when working with the skin. It's EXTREMELY easy to mess up your character and give him or her a half-baked potato tan, so follow these simple rules:

1. Go light on the mouse

2. Save. Save. Save.

The reason you're going to want to save often is because its hard to go back on your sliders once you've made changes It's not like in shaping your character, where you can sort of gauge how to go back - sometimes, for some reason, you put the sliders back exactly where they were, and your character STILL looks like a different color than when you first started. So I urge you to save as many times as you can when working with skin tone. I am hoping to extend this section of the guide, hopefully to include some good tips regarding coloring and the slider usage: for right now, however, I am going to leave it in general terms.

One final note, be sure to check the color of your character against different lighting and backgrounds. If you have ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where he dates that girl that only looks good in certain lighting, you know what I'm talking about. Don't let your character become that girl! Tweak, tweak and re-tweak if you must.


IF you have been reading so far, I hope you've gotten the basic tools and ideas needed to create your character. If not, then I suck as a tutor :P In either case, I will be updating this as I get time, and hopefully we will see more posts from real experts with their tips and tricks to creating a character. Until then, happy creating :)

FINAL NOTE: Feel free to contact me by PM, with any question, suggestions, ETC ETC. I would also like to thank EVERYONE that contributes to the "Pictures of Oblivion Characters" thread: you guys do some absolutely mind-blowing work with your stories, pictures and slideshows. I really don't know of a better group of people on the net. You guys rock, and I thank you deeply for all the fun we've had in the last few months.


My avatar courtesy of my own little personal artist, Rumms

#2 Treetop Smoker

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 11:38 AM

Its nice to see this thread again ! :cheers: Very helpful !

Edited by Treetop Smoker, 07 May 2007 - 03:03 PM.

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#3 cyborgakadjmoose

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 12:12 PM

Agreed! This is an extremely helpful thread.
CYBORGAKADJMOOSE (Cyborg also known as DJMoose)

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#4 Ennaedwyn

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 06:49 AM

Thanks for the tips!

#5 jaxson

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 04:48 AM

Those are some nice tips...

In my expierence, I think the most important parts of designing a good face are: The Brow Cheekbones and Jaw line. Getting those set right makes the character look much better

The other thing I do is start off doing the Random Faces, scroll through them until you find a face shape that looks good then go back and adjust the age and complexion first.

From there make you tweaks to the Nose, Brow Cheekbones, etc..
NORDS RULE! Posted Image

#6 Yorkmaster

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 01:48 PM

Does anyone have soem good tips concerning lighting conditions for the skin tone tweaking such as locations (mod related or vanilla) preffably indoors.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogroves,
and the mome raths outgrabe

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#7 Shotgunner

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 09:10 PM

Hey, just wanted to say thank you. Although I own the PS3 version, this tutorial helped me a great deal. Granted, without the mentioned mods it is more time consuming, but I am very pleased with the improvements in my faces since reading this. Thanks for posting it!

#8 Acleacius

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 08:34 PM

Thanks for this info, thought I would give the FACEGEN MODELLER a try you mentioned, rainy day :)
Hope it's pretty user friendly or does anyone know a link about usage when trying to make a face for oblivion?

Thanks. :)

#9 -Visitator-

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 01:26 PM

Most of the links are broken :(

#10 -Silent_Shadow-

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 01:38 PM

For broken links replase "tessource" to "tesnexus.com" and links will be work normally. =)

#11 -JustGuest-

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 03:41 PM

The Sia character save doesn't work even with the downloaded stuff required, the save just crashes.

#12 -AgratefullGuest!-

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 01:37 PM

Hi , i found this really usefull even though i play oblivion on 360 , its hard to find threads that cater to console users so thanks!
i found i took more time with my faces and added more depth into creating and i now enjoy creating characters ! million thanks to this thread! :cheers:

#13 -Daevhar-

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 07:09 PM

doesn't anyone use the facegen modeler method of making faces from pics anymore? I always found that that was the method that produced by far the best faces. I haven't seen anything that came close to what I used to make, for the now defunct Oblivion Face Library, using the facegen modeler and custom textures for each face. here's an example..

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#14 Chimera

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 09:05 AM

I've been using SI Facegen for quite a while. The only other person I know has it is Ghost13. Sad so few use it. Some of my recent characters:

Natalie Portman:



Samuel Jackson:

Some drawbacks are that SI Facegen is expensive and not all SI Facegen faces export well into Oblivion. Angelina Jolie is a good example due to her peculiar lip structure, etc. Also you may need to do a bit of photo shopping on the nostril area of your SI Facegen export before trying to use it in Oblivion, otherwise the bottom of the nose will look fuzzy and have poor definition. I usually cut and past the bottom nostril from the actual photo onto the SI Facegen exported face before using the face in Oblivion. It' been about a year of trial and error before I became used to how to use SI Facegen with photo manipulating software, so I would not recommend it to the faint of heart, but to those with a passion for it; as it makes a great hobby and for me was well worth the price.

Edited by Chimera, 07 January 2009 - 09:14 AM.

#15 -Daevhar-

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:03 PM

Nice, looks good Chimera. I wish I had the time and energy to devote to projects like these still. Yeah I remember trying to get Angelina's face to turn out good, and it just wouldn't work lol.

It's good to know the people, who spent so much time figuring out how to transfer the facegen files for use in oblivion, time wasn't wasted and it is being put to good use. Even if it is a small minority that know how to do it. ...I just have such an aversion to ugly looking characters lol. And the vanilla oblivion was just chock full of em heh.

#16 BuddhaKhan

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 08:26 AM


I have one question: How can I prevent Oblivion from using the same facetextures for all the default races and especially for both male and female?

I created a character (female) I'm really pleased with, but when I add my favorite facetexture all the males of all default races look like drag-queens. (I have nothing against transvestites or homosexuals, but nevertheless that belittles my game experience as it doesn't really fit in the game)

Does anyone know how I can force Oblivion to seperate the female/male face-textures?

Thanks in advance


ps: perhaps there is already a thread/post about that somewhere, but be clement please, everything is in english and it's not easy for me.

#17 --chimera--

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 11:24 AM

You need to use constructin set instead of the procedure you are doing. It involves either making a new or duplicate race. If you are still interested pm me as I hardly check this thread anymore.

#18 -DancesWithWolves-

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 03:47 PM

When I Slide The Age Thingy To Make It Look Younger The Lips Get Retared....
Help Me :crying:

#19 -dreno-

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:29 PM

im on the ps3 version of oblivion, and i want a dark elf character, only i dont want them blue. ive actually gotten good at making a dark elf character look white ( looking like a wood elf anyways ) the only problems i have are some of the color in the face, like the cheeks will be red-ish, around the eyes is blueish green, and the nose is red-ish aswell, ive found that messing with the light/dark of facial hari is a good solution to make them the same color as the rest of the head. so if anyone an give me any advice on how to make the head all the same color, ( im a pale-ish red head thats why my characters need to be pale too, just not too pale ) it would be greatly appreciated.
also, im having some trouble with the shape of my characters noggin. itll look good until i actually go to play as my character, than it looks different than it did when i was in the create mode. i just want a face that looks manly and not at all like a girl head on a dudes body. thats just creepy. so any help would be awesome.

#20 -Someone in need of this mo-

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:59 PM