I've been playing Skyrim since it was released, and I've had a problem where certain graphical features are invisible to me. As far as I can tell, its a certain type of shader or particle effect that must be faulty, as its not whole entities that are hidden.

Example missing effects:

  • The sky-ward light beams at Winterhold College
  • Fire/Ice streaming magic
    • Fireplaces - all I see is a shimmer (like what happens on a hot day IRL)
    • Streaming fire magic ("Flames" spell), all I see is some of the flicks of flame off my hands and the resulting burn-mark on the target, but no actual flames
    • From dragons; the breath of both fire and ice breathing dragons is invisible to me - makes fights difficult
  • Portals (like what summoned creatures come out of) are just a shimmer or extra light, otherwise invisible
  • Augur of Dunlain is completely invisible (the final straw)

My hardware:

  • AMD Phenom X4 2.4GHz
  • 8GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 (built-in dual-GPU CrossFire)
  • 2x Samsung 2443bw 24" LCD monitors @ 1920x1200 (disabling one hasn't changed anything in Skyrim)

I'm thinking its something that my dual-GPU card is doing wrong, as Skyrim has been CrossFire disabled by ATI in their driver set (except for HD 5000, 6000 and 7000 series cards)... However I've tried every tweak possible in RadeonPRO to no avail (I've otherwise never used RadeonPRO).

My friends have experienced it temporarily when Alt-Tabbing, but Alt-Tabbing again usually fixes it - no solution for me.

Has anyone experienced something similar and been able to fix it?

  • I am having similar, but lesser problems... It seems that whenever I put on a mask, I have a 60% chance of becoming the headless horseman. – Aeo Jan 12 '12 at 16:06
  • Yeah unfortunately I think that's a different bug, but I've seen that too. – Ashley Jan 13 '12 at 21:06

It's a problem on systems using ATI graphics cards. Fallout: New Vegas had the same problem.

A community fix for this, and the framerate problems of ATI cards can be found here: http://www.skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=48

Note that this changes your card to be recognized as an NVidia card, which is intentional.

  • Is this just performance related or does this fix the invisible fire and smoke? – Gigamegs Jan 9 '12 at 14:41
  • Why the two downvotes on this answer? Where are the comments to support them? I see no reason not to trust this as an answer without your insight - sure, it doesn't directly address my question regarding the invisibility of effects, but it could be implied. – Ashley Jan 10 '12 at 5:16
  • @AshleySteel: It could be implied because you like the answer? Do you want to fix your problem or do you want to chat? – Gigamegs Jan 10 '12 at 11:45
  • Yes, It does fix the invisibility problems. I'm personally using it, after encountering invisible spider webs and the invisible cragon breath. – alexanderpas Jan 10 '12 at 16:03
  • @alexanderpas: Interesting. Sorry for downvote. – Gigamegs Jan 12 '12 at 2:15

My AMD Radeon 3650 didn't work either. Fire and smoke was invisible etc. To fix it I installed the ENBseries version 1.0.2 and the gionight ini file. I recommend to install Ati Tray Tools because it has many options and can improve performance a lot. Just don't do alternate pixcelcenter together with Skyrim and ENBseries patch. Here is the download link for the enbseries patch: http://enbseries.enbdev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=46.

  • Have you any links to the tweaks you made or any of the patches and so on that you have referenced? – Ashley Jan 9 '12 at 4:04
  • @AshleySteel: You can get my skyrim.ini and skyrim.prefs for free at my homepage. I've also all the latest driver for my box. – Gigamegs Jan 9 '12 at 4:09
  • Its hard to tell from your post or your ini what you actually changed that fixed the problem. I don't want to mod the game unless it will only (and directly) fix the problem I'm experiencing. Was it just the ATI Tray Tools tweaks that fixed things? – Ashley Jan 9 '12 at 7:09
  • @AshleySteel: Is this better? – Gigamegs Jan 9 '12 at 13:57
  • Not exactly... links to the exact patches you're mentioning would be useful. I found the ENBseries site well enough, but there are quite a few different patches listed and the structure of the site is less than intuitive to figure out. – Ashley Jan 10 '12 at 5:18

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