[Top 15] Skyrim Best Animation Mods

Parkour in Skyrim? Not quite, but it’s the next best thing

We all love Skyrim, and we all love modding Skyrim. But as the game grows older, the outdated animations haven’t aged too well. To be frank, they weren’t excellent to begin with. But thankfully, the power of modding lets us fix that.

While Skyrim modding is as old as the game itself, the animation category is going through a Renaissance of its own right now. Every now and then I’m seeing things that I never thought were possible in Skyrim. I’m going to skip mods that replace animations, those are a matter of taste. The ones I’m covering are going to really change things up.

Let’s dive into it without further ado. But before I jump in, the list doesn’t include Nemesis or Dynamic Animation Replacer, but almost all the mods depend on them.


15. Expressive Facial Animation -Male Edition-

For starters, let’s begin with expressions. Without facial expressions, you might as well be talking to a robot. And in Skyrim, we spend a lot of time talking to people. So I don’t have to elaborate on why this mod is nice.

While Skyrim has decent facial expressions, this mod tinkers with the facial morphs to make these expressions more distinct. There are subtle changes in the movement of eyes, lips and brows that make these facial expressions more animated. It’s a very minor thing in the grand scale of things, but it’s a change I can’t play without.


Download Mod: LegendarySpecial


14. Waifu Expression Redux

I have another facial expression mod, this one for female NPCs and player characters. While the author of the last mod has one that does that same thing, I think this one does it better. The expressions appear to be a lot more noticeable.

The author of this mod wanted to make the expressions a little more exaggerated so that they’re more pronounced during the game. I can’t complain with that approach, because the facial animations do look very nice. This mod also supports High Poly Heads. Even if you choose not to use that one, this alone will make the in-game female NPCs look a lot more lively and believable. 


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


13.  Lively Children Animations

Besides facial expressions, another essential part of conversation is body language. It’s true that many Skyrim NPCs do become expressive, except in certain dialogues. I have a series of mods that fix that, starting with the children. If you’ve talked to a real child, you’ll notice how expressive and animated they can be when they’re comfortable. Skyrim’s kids are definitely not alright.

This mod shakes things up. It makes the children perform different idle animations depending on the dialogue. The goal of this mod is to make the kids seem more childish and playful. You’ll see them use their arms when they’re talking, fold them occasionally and lean over. While I don’t spend a lot of time talking to the kids in-game, it’s a handy addition.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


12. Gesture Animation Remix

From the creator of the last mod, I present another mod of a similar nature. This one also expands on body language, but chooses to focus on something slightly different. This one focuses on gestures during dialogues.

You know how when some people talk, they move their arms a lot? You’ll probably find videos on Youtube that teach you to flail your arms to be more engaging. This mod basically does that for Skyrim NPCs. Of course it’s not exaggerated, they move their arms like a normal person. And it pairs really well with the other mods by the same author.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


11. I'm Glad You're Here - a follower and spouse appreciation mod

Touch is a common and effective way of showing affection to those we care about. Something as simple as a hug is commonplace among friends. I’m not about to argue that Skyrim needs it, but it’s definitely nice to be able to spread some love. In a SFW way.

This mod lets you show your love to your followers, adopted kids and spouses. But the mod goes above and beyond just a simple hug animation. A separate, romantic variation will play when you’re hugging a lover. The hug animations are also accompanied by many voiced lines, some of them conditional. And if your character of follower is too short or tall, rejoice! The animations are adjusted for height differences.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


10. DAR - Dynamic Swimming

This is another one of those little-things mods that go a long way. I think Skyrim’s swimming animations were decent, but this mod makes them better. How does it do that? By variation, the spice of life!

This mod detects various conditions and plays appropriate animations based on them. When the player has more stamina, the swimming animation will be stronger. When the stamina runs out, or the player is wearing heavy armor, a different, weaker animation will play. There’s even a setting in the installer that makes Argonians be fine, because they’re natural swimmers.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


9. EVG Animation Variance

Animation variance is something we absolutely love. It shows an attention to details and a lot of love for the artform. While this wasn't a big deal in 2011, mod author Everglaid has worked hard to create a mod that fixes it.

This mod adds many varieties of animations to the game. The most noticeable one is how people hold torches. Now different NPCs will hold in different ways. That’s not all, the mod also covers different NPC idles, greetings, salutes and even wounded animation. I could go on and on about it, but the best way to experience it is to see it in-game.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


8. Movement Behavior Overhaul

This mod makes a bunch of alterations to player movement through animations. Movement feels much more smoother and realistic when using this. When you switch from run to spring or turn backwards, you'll notice animations in transitions rather than just changing or turning all at once. It also adds animations to the end of a sprint.

One cool detail is that characters will lean slightly while running. Another neat feature is the ability to crouch slide instead of the usual sneak roll. And thankfully, this mod is highly compatible with other movement and sprint mods. Sadly, this one is only available for special edition.


Download Mod: Special


7. Jump Behavior Overhaul

Usually, I defend Skyrim’s outdated animations and mechanisms. But the jump animations and behavior always got on my nerves. This mod addresses all my concerns. Before we get into it, this one is available only for the special edition. 

Firstly, the default jump animations have been remade, making them feel organic. Secondly, the behavior edits are amazing! Different animations will play depending on armor worn or player perks. Variations in directional jumping also makes it more fun. Thirdly, and most impressively, this mod gives us several landing animations depending on your perks and jump height.


Download Mod:

Special: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/36889


6. Conditional Expressions - Subtle Face Animations

This mod changes the player character's facial expressions based on the situation. The changes made by this mod aren’t very noticeable if you play in first person. But every now and then when you pop out to see your character’s face, you might be surprised.

When standing in idle, the player’s face will go through many different expressions. The player will now squint their eyes while sneaking or swimming. One of the nicest touches is the injured expression. Like a normal person, they will make a ‘hurt’ face. You can head over to the mod page’s description section to see a long list of the expressions.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special 


5. EVG Conditional Idles

This mod is another gem by Everglaid. It adds many idles that will play depending on certain conditions. But you probably guessed that from the title. I’ll try to give you a short rundown of what you can expend. 

One of the most noticeable animations is the low-stamina, which will play after sprinting from a while. Another really cool animation plays when in cold regions. NPCs will hug themselves and shiver. When it rains, you’ll see people using their shields to cover their head. This might be troublesome if you use a shield-on-back mod, but the configuration menu allows you to toggle any of the idles.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


4. Animated Interactions and Idles

This mod adds more idles to the player, but don’t worry. There is no conflict with the previous mods. The idles played by this mod happen under different conditions. Now, when you open a journal or read a book, your character will play an animation. It’s very satisfying to see my character flip through the pages of a book like a real person.

You’ll also see different animations during dialogues, which depend on the relationship with the NPCs. Pretty neat right? For this to work properly, an unpaused menu mod is recommended. But don’t worry if you don’t want to use one, you can always turn off certain settings in the mod configuration menu.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


3. Immersive Interactions - Animated Actions

It’s pretty common in RPGs to not have interaction animations. I never had a problem with Skyrim not having any, but after using this mod there was no going back. With this mod, an interaction animation plays for a lot of actions. Want to pet your horse, or a dog? Or greet a child? Now you can do it.

Sometimes I can’t believe that this mod exists. It’s really cool watching your character reaching forward to open a door, or pick an item. All the animations are very brief, so don’t worry about wasting too much time. And you can always cancel them by jumping, or use the configuration menu.  I know, I’m impatient too. 


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


2. UNDERDOG - Animations

This mod is similar to EVG Conditional Idles, but it adds so many more of those! And the animations are such high quality, it’s almost unbelievable. I know I’m hyping it up, but it’s true. The number of different walking animations is baffling. There’s one for low-stamina, for being drunk and also injured.

It’s not just about adding different animations for these states. Depending on how low your health is, you’ll see different injured-walk animations. The same goes for sneaking around. You can replace the default animation for a crawling animation. Even if you keep it vanilla, you’ll see many, many variations depending on many factors.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


1. EVG Animated Traversal

I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed that ladders don’t work in any Bethesda games. I honestly believe that functional ladders aren’t too much to ask for, but apparently Bethesda’s attempts never went well. For years, I believed I would never see one. But then came this mod, which not only gave us ladders but much, much more.

This mod lets you interact with the surroundings and use them to travel. Now you can do various things, like climbing over, slipping through cracks, ducking under a tent. There are so many things it’s impossible to list. The mod itself is just a framework, but the description section has links to everything you’ll need.

Now don’t expect an Assassin’s Creed style parkour mechanism, Skyrim modding isn’t there yet. If that is even possible. It’s more like Witcher 2, where you can press the activate button for the animation to play. But even so, the addition of the mechanism is revolutionary. Unfortunately, this one is only available for Special Edition.


Download Mod: Special

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A prolific and published author with a fervor for gaming, I have decided to dedicate myself to these two bring in a way that inspire passion and desires to learn and explore in others.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Assassin's Creed 2 , Dishonored

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