In the course of playing about with Oblivion the last couple days (and to make the NPCs look less like crap in that mod I mentioned reviewing) I've revisited the technique whereby one edits the Oblivion.ini file, to remove Facegen texturing. This, for those not familiar, reverts all NPCs to the base skin textures of their race. No skin tone, beard, flush/blush, eyeliner/eyeshadow, et cetera settings. It's just the basic textures.
This has been hit and miss in the past. It doesn't work well on base game NPCs. I don't think Bethsoft even gave NPC creation the 'ol college try - they just hit random face a few times on each NPC and broke for lunch.
However, I'm lately running Colourwheel's excellent Oblivion Overhaul, which handily removes the suck from the vast majority of female NPCs. As well, I'm more interested in my own character and companions than some random NPCs on the street that I pay no attention to.
So, I re-set the ini setting; intending to limit my evaluation to characters specifically set up to work with it; while ignoring the others.
The results were... encouraging...
You can see Branwen here in the getup I normally make her wear, wig and all. I removed the nekomimi, and replaced them with the black rose necklace there. Very nice.
I started a new game last night for various reasons I won't bore everyone by going into; and this is Branwen as she appears from her default inventory. You can also see the Realistic Water mod's effects in the background, there. Still looks damn good.
And this is Caridwen, also in her default look.
A trip through the Goddess store helps immensely... but they're certainly not half bad on their own.
This last one is one of the screenshots from my upcoming review... but in the inventory tab, you can nonetheless get a decent look at what it did to my own character.
The face wasn't designed for non-texturing facegen, but it didn't come out too bad. In the new game, I've since re-run the facegen specifically with the texturing off, and optimized it better for the new environment.
I think I'll be keeping it this way, at least for the foreseeable future. Should probably dig up screenshots of Viconia and Saerileth, too; they turned out fairly improved, as well.