Updated 2nd November 2017
I’ll update this list regularly with great portrait mods I stumble upon, both static and animated. I’ll only include variants of vanilla portraits or unique species; I feel like out-of-universe portraits can ruin immersion a little so, for example, you won’t find any Mass Effect or Warhammer 40K portraits here. I have another post dedicated to established sci-fi franchises, though.
Some of these authors have Patreon or other artwork pages (linked where they exist). Please consider visiting and donating if you like their work and want more of it!
These mods are more-or-less universally compatible. Lots of them contain pre-made empires, which won’t work if you use mods that alter the vanilla empire characteristics (such as ethics, civics, species traits etc.). The portraits will still be available for you to use, though.
If you have an interest in astrobiology, then a great primer (read: brain food for sci-fi stories) is An Introduction to Astrobiology. I borrowed this in my high school library and it’s fed my internal machinations ever since!
You can subscribe to any subset of these (or all at once) using my Steam Collection “Stellaris Species Mods“. I’ll update this list periodically as the modding community continues to put out such high quality work – make sure you subscribe to Odin Gaming or otherwise connect with me to be notified of updates.
The list is sorted alphabetically below – first original animated, then animated variants, and finally static. I’ve included some flavour text from some of the mods’ custom empires to give some insight into the authors’ creative process. The full list:
- Original Animated
- Elves of Stellaris
- Fishbowl Bots (New!)
- Gold Devil Portrait
- The Hidden Eye (New!)
- Holosphere Rising
- Human Revolution (Standalone)
- The Lovers
- The Pallid
- Robot Unicorns (New!)
- Silicoid Portraits (5 portraits) (New!)
- Space Unicorns (New!)
- Star Falls (8 portraits)
- Synthetic Portrait Pack (8 portraits)
- Synthetic Portraits
- Synthetic Portraits – Expanded (15 portraits)
- Xenon Sector – Race & Ship Only
- Animated Variants
- Avian Variations
- Cat Dimorphism
- Creatures of the Void Variations
- Dragon Dimorphism
- Extended Synthetic Dawn Variants (New!)
- Extended Vanilla Clothes
- Fox Dimorphism
- Fungoid Parasite Dimorphism (New!)
- Horse Dimorphism
- Human Variety
- Llama Dimorphism
- Monkey Dimorphism
- Otter Dimorphism
- Ox Dimorphism (New!)
- Squirrel Dimorphism
- Void Mammals Dimorphism
- Warthog Dimorphism
Aquilesi are prideful and shrewd people, evolved from an avian species of solitary predators from Enchiria. They are natural leaders, fierce and charismatic, but only when dealing with other, more peaceful species.
Once divided in many tribes, they have slowly coalesced into a single empire after generations of tighter and tighter trade agreements between their former nation states. Their society is based on discipline and competition, rewarding excellence with socio-political advancement.
Aquilesi are ready to brave the unkown depths of space, discover new species and conquer them for the glory of the Empire.
In the words of the author: “swirly faced potato-head monsters”. Just what my galaxy needs – I don’t know about you.
Author: Nicolas Sabo
This one stands out as a truly novel and genuinely alien-looking species. It’s a weird hybrid of existing vanilla species, some sort of blind avian, although it looks like it could easily be taken for a mammal also. Why should alien biology conform to our own taxonomic hierarchy?
Descended from blind cave hunters, the Cuelaan nonetheless managed to rise to the top of their biosphere and rule their planet from their subterranean lairs. Over time, the Cuelaan people have united through strict adherence to martial and spiritual rites and forged themselves a society of enlightened warrior-poets. War has ceased to exist on Cuel’ua, but her people remain warriors all the same.
After thousands of years, however, even the space within their beloved homeworld Cuel’ua has begun to fill with their hungry juveniles. It has become time to cast off their shackles and ascend to the stars above – and to seek out fresh prey. The sky is dark and empty but, then, the darkness has never bothered them, has it?
Definitely not the Tau.
The Cyborgs were once like the other races of the galaxy, weak and organic. Over the millennia, however, they had shed their interior flesh in the pursuit of perfection. After fully mastering bother their planet and their bodies, they soon turned their attention to the stars, in hopes of gaining new technologies and spreading their perfection to the heavens. Resistance is Futile.
Elves of Stellaris
Authors: TheGrandN, Teneb Kel, and Princess Stabbity
This mod includes an incredibly detailed new animated portrait, with literally tens of thousands of possible variants with all of the combinations of different phenotypes and clothing.
One thing that particularly strikes me about this species is that they have situational clothing – pops wear different clothes depending on whether they’re on a cold planet or warm planet, are enslaved, are primitive, or are a fallen empire.
Author: Agamidea [LGS]
Floating sapient fishbowls. And brains. Very mid-20th sci-fi.
Tribal-tattooed orange demon things.
The Hidden Eye
Playing off of the space-lizards trope, this portrait mod also introduces new civics, a city set, a room, and new advanced traits for organics and robomodding.
Author: Sìlfae and Oskar Potocki
Play as everyone’s favourite inter-dimensional cutie.
Another genuinely unique species that look like they’d be right at home in the Stellaris universe. These guys look like they hit technological enlightenment well before they discovered space travel!
Not only do they look striking, but there is sexual dimorphism and cast variety, so their appearance changes depending on their societal role! And they sparkle!
Holofrixits trace their origins to the frozen caverns of Zixiprat, an abandoned planet surrounded by the torn remains of ancient battleships and the ruins of forgotten civilizations.
A seamless union between organic and cybernetic matter, the Holofrixits are a young but prolific species. United under the Xechiros, the free-thinking administrative caste, they have quickly overrun the desolate, arctic plains of their homeworld, greedily feeding on electrical discharges pouring from the power plants of their predecessors.
With the resources of their homeworld depleted, the rulers of the Holosphere started to turn their gaze to the stars. Able to phase in and out of a virtual reality of their own making, the Holofrixits have started to create holographic starfleets, plugging their consciousness in their servers and projecting themselves into space…
Human Revolution (Standalone)
There’s an incredible amount of variety in this race’s portraits. Having the already expansive human base variety to pull from, Stallfish has gone to town on humanity’s cyber descendants.
Viverrokans are a nomadic species evolved from social mammals. Despite their carnivore diet, the Viverrokans’ scavenger instincts have resulted in their societies developing with a distaste for direct violence. While their ruling planetary government is rife with deadly plots for supremacy, open war is perceived by most Viverrokans as an unnecessary risk.
Evolving on a desert planet has granted this species a notable resistance and aptitude for recycling which they still make use of now that they have reached their interstellar age.
Their homeworld, Kortomakon, was once a recollection of trading city-states, each competing for the few vital areas of the otherwise barren planet. These fractious societies have been brought together at the start of the XXI century with the creation of the Rising Throne, an intercontinental agreement between the most powerful merchant families of Kortomakon to peacefully handle the more sensitive trade disputes by appointing a permanent judge from the clergy, known as the Caliph.
Although the position was initially meant to have only minimal powers, during the course of the following century a string of shrewd Caliphs managed to progressively centralize their authority, taking it away from the merchant lords.
By the start of the XXIII century, the Caliph has become the sole ruler of Kortomakon, wielding tremendous spiritual and secular power and controlling the increasingly important star trade, which has been booming since after the discovery of the warp engine.
Author: Nicolas Sabo
This species is sort of like a weird stalker for the rest of the galaxy. Dogkisser has managed to put an unusual but coherent twist on a race that encompasses the variety of the rest of the galaxy.
A half-understood organic soup of shape-shifting aberration, the Lovers desperately wish to seek out other races and bond with them, talk with them. They take many shapes, hoping that one will be pleasing to the eye of their hearts’ truest desires, but they do not understand why they are met with such disgust. They will keep trying. They will spread and spread and they will keep trying, forever and ever, because they love you. They love you. They love you. They love you. They love you. They love you. They love you. They love you. They love you. They love you.
Octee-lans are amphibious, hermaphroditic cephalopods who feel comfortable only in the deepest recesses of tropical oceans. Though they can survive on the surface and crawl out of water, they prefer to avoid it whenever possible, unless proper environmental equipment is available for them to use.
They are a charming and energetic species, particularly appreciated for the vibrant color patterns of their skin and their graceful bearing.
Most Octee-lands are frivolous and clingy creatures, always looking for new trinkets and pets to satisfy their mood swings. They tend to be extremely possessive about their prospective partners, and since their biology allows each Octee-lan to self-inseminate herself when needed, they are free to seek mates outside their species. While Octee-lans spend a lot of energies and attention in the obsessive pursuit and manipulation of their partners, they are notorious for the lack of care they show towards the swathes of grubs resulting from their relations.
The origin of the Octee-lans is lost even to their own archives. Whether the species evolved on its own or was uplifted for the specific needs of its former synthetic masters is unknown, and equally uncertain is whether they originated on Nyumiri-tee or if they were brought on the planet alongside all of its many exotic inhabitants.
Then again, according to some Muubulic historians, the planet itself might be an artificial creation.
Regardless of their origin, it is doubtless that the Octee-lans are the oldest of the current inhabitants of Nyumiri-tee, and have allegedly been the favourite pets of the masters of Oichi-kee since time immemorial.
Octee-lans are neither the most numerous nor the most skilled amongst the species living on Nyumiri-tee, but their ability to manipulate and bully other creatures has allowed them to become the undisputed rulers of the oceanic planet.
One of the six arks of the Ulysses Initiative became lost in a dark ocean of nothing, drifting for countless years in a timeless void. Humanity was changed. The mark of an alien race of forgotten civilization spread quickly. It infected the colonists; changed them. They were no longer human but a pale yet somehow… darker version of humanity. More than a hundred years have passed since then.
Unfortunately the aline overlords barely remember their past lives and power, thousands of years within a dream of infinite darkness pushed their knowledge to the oblivion… The time to seek the reborn of the lost empire is now.
Author: Agamidae [LGS]
The Internet wished for it, Agamidae provided it. Ladies and gentlemen, the Robot Unicorn.
I don’t really think this one takes much thinking, does it?!
Astroraptors are a vain and contentious race of predators. Their entire history is an endless cycle of military advancement and escalation of rivalries between the Megapacks dividing their homeworld.
With the discovery of space travel by one of the many warlords, global unity was finally achieved, as the other packs decided to find common ground with their rival in order to have access to the newly discovered hyperlane.
The Glourious Crescent has been created.
From the custom bio, it sounds like Sìlfae was railing off a great CK2 game:
During the XXXIV dynasty, the great Sethian civilization had long consolidated its dominion over Zephrek-tan, extending its greedy clutches beyond the heavens and starting the colonization of the barren satellites orbiting the homeworld of the She’sesi.
Unfortunately, by the end of the dynasty, a catastrophic failure of the Sethian Solar Network nearly doomed the She’sesi to extinction. A devastating cascade of explosions consumed the holy surface of Zephrek-tan and burned the moon-colonies of Mylyktar and Shuutri, killing billions of serpentoids and snslaved subraces.
Setrikmeth XVI, the ruling Pharaoh at the time, was killed in the cataclysm, alongside most of his relatives, and the entirety of the Scared Palatial Bureaucracy.
With the XXXIV dynasty vanquished and the central government destroyed, Zoster III, governor of Eryktan, the only surviving moon-colony of the Technosethi, used his feeble, far-removed ties to the royal bloodline to proclaim himself new Pharaoh, reuniting the surviving serpentoids under his rule.
Once content of a peaceful encroachment, the She’sesi grew restless under Zoster’s rule. With the ancient homeworld made inhabitable and all the servant races extinct, the Sethians would have needed to look farther to ensure their survival, and find a way to cross the stars themselves…
The result of Sìlfae’s first Patreon poll hasn’t disappointed. Consider supporting him if you want to participate in future polls!
A violent and voracious species, sharkanians have evolved as amphibious creatures, even though they prefer to still live underwater. Their once nomadic societies have been recently reorganized into a a one-world government after a devastating global conflict that nearly extinguished all life on their homeworld.
The Deep Tide is a militaristic totalitarian regime that encourages active participation from the citizens to eradicate political and cultural corruption whenever found. Its main goal is the preservation of a clean and ordered society at all costs, shaped upon a romanticized view of Carcharian primitive communities. Although this system fosters both an egalitarian drive and a meritocratic government, it also results in a low tolerance for anti-conformist points of view and foreign cultures.
Silicoid Portraits (5 portraits)
This is something I have personally been waiting for for some time; an extensive set of animated silicoid portraits. Something like this was conspicuously absent from the Stellaris species roster.
There are variants of the various portraits and sexual dimorphism in some. The mod also builds on the new archetypes species system introduced with Stellaris 1.8 and, as such, every silicoid species has a special “Silicoid” trait, which has a number of effects including the fact that they don’t need regular food to sustain themselves (at the cost of reduced growth), an effect reminiscent of the Silicoids in Master of Orion.
On top of this, there is a special set of traits from which to choose for silicoid species, akin to the Machine Empires introduced in Synthetic Dawn. Also available are two new civics, a city set, and two premade empires.
War-painted skeletal humanoids. Because sometimes you need an obvious bad guy. No relation to the Skeletor. Includes female variants.
Author: Agamidea [LGS]
Space Unicorns. These are the heights that Stellaris modding has risen to.
Star Falls (8 portraits)
Authors: Miss Nobody and Crusader Vanguard
This mod includes eight portraits from a novel universe, amongst other additions. I’ve seen new portraits being added to this pack over time, so there may be more to come!
Synthetic Portrait Pack (8 portraits)
Author: Nicolas Sabo
This is a truly epic modpack from Nicolas. These “synthetics” stand out amongst their biological peers to bring a much-needed alien vibe to the galactic robotic presence.
I’ve seen new portraits being added to this pack over time, so there may be more to come!
Sìlfae answered a lot of players’ wishes with this one!
Synthetic Portraits – Expanded (15 portraits)
This mod doesn’t just add additional robotic portraits, but new mechanisms surrounding synthetic ascension – check out May’s mod round-up for more information.
Some of the portraits in this pack are featured elsewhere on this page, including this mod’s precursor, Synthetic Portraits.
Xenon Sector – Race & Ship Only
Adding more (welcome) cybernetic variety to the galaxy.
Rebellious teenagers of the galaxy.
Xirmians are obnoxious socialites endowed with bright, chaotic minds. They evolved on a temperate world as a vegetarian species, their diet being made up of mostly sugary fruit.
They are short humanoids with a weak frame and a youthful appearance, fond of recoloring and modifying their own body to meet their aesthetic needs.
Having unified their conglomerate of nations through social media, they quicjly moved to the stars, already set on welcoming and integrating new friendly species within their Astral Concordate.
While not outright pacifists, Xirmians use diplomacy and political manoeuvring as their main weapons, taking a pragmatic and moderate approach to the interplanetary power games, forging strong alliances while isolating and surgically removing those they cannot reason with.
My favourite of Sìlfae’s (so far!) – these are some haunting mechanical angels.
Zeriphens are enigmatic beings whose origin is unknown. Whether through natural evolution or artificial engineering, these creatures have adapted to survive only near the boiling surface of their home star.
Unable and unwilling to live on the solid surface of the planets around them, the Zeriphen seldom leave the Gates of Elikiol. Yet, when they do, their intentions are far from peaceful. Their oligarchic leadership, organized in a complex set of hosts, harbors a deep hatred towards all other living beings, and are all too happy to cleanse any species that is so unlucky to become their neighbor.
Adds four total variations across two avian races. Who doesn’t like more options when creating their leader? Adds to the variety on the pop screen, too!
I can finally tell the female cat-people from the males. Little flourishes like this really pull me into the game.
Creatures of the Void Variations
Smoother, fuller faces and smaller horns for the females of this reptilian species.
Extended Synthetic Dawn Variants
Adds variations to existing Machine Empire portraits (e.g. altered armour colour) as well as adding additional Machine Empire portrait sets that use red lights instead of the vanilla colour. A simple way to expand portrait variety.
Extended Vanilla Clothes
1100+. That’s a lot of variety!
Note that this only works on vanilla species. It also won’t replace clothing on the variants introduced by the dimorphism mods listed here.
Fox McCloud will be pleased.
Fungoid Parasite Dimorphism
Adds more host species for the fungoid parasite species.
Just in case you wanted to tell your male-analogue-space-horses from your female-analogue-space-horses.
Adds 32 new male and female clothing options to human pops and leaders, with pops of different ethics choosing different clothing.
They really look more alpaca-esque to me…
I must admit, some of these Earth-creature parallels would never have struck me before Sìlfae started naming them.
My spirit animals.
Never again shall you suffer in silence as the female form of the space ox is conspicuously missing from your game!
I think this is my favourite dimorphism mod yet!
Void Mammal Dimorphism
Author: [TNC] Rivershaw
The portrait mod makes some subtle changes to the female void mammals; less prominent tusks and smaller spines.
This mod also introduces an “albino” variant to enjoy.
Concerned about equal gender representation of space pigs? No longer!
Alien Suns (18 portraits)
There is a long history behind these portraits; see my dedicated post here. There are some truly alien species in this pack.
Alien Suns: The Outer Rim (9 portraits)
The long-awaited expansion to the original Alien Suns mod has finally arrived, with nine new (totally original, static) alien race portraits. Also included are 14 new namelists.
The aliens featured in Alien Suns are incredibly detailed and highly imaginative; there’s nothing else quite like them!