How to make great renders

Bring out the beauty of your builds with these programs!

Ever heard the saying: “If it looks like a duck, flies like a duck, and quacks a duck, then it probably is a duck”? Well, I’m here to let you in on a little secret – when it comes to minecraft.net, that saying is a lie. There are times on this site that a gorgeous build or amazing vista of a server looks like Minecraft, flies like Minecraft, quacks like Minecraft, but it’s technically not Minecraft. Shocked quack!

Yes, these builds have been made in Minecraft, but they’ve been transformed into a 3D work of art using other programs. Here’s how you can do it to your builds!

Mineways

Mineways is a program that enables you to export your creations out of the game and into another program. It can be used to turn your maps into 3D printed models, but there’s a secondary option that lets you upload your selected work to SketchFab, a site that shows off 3D models. All you need is the Mineways program and a SketchFab account. It’s better to grab a SketchFab account first as the Mineways program ties into it.

With Mineways installed and open, your first task is to find the level you want to import from your Minecraft saves folder. When it loads up, here’s what you do:

 

With those simple steps, you’ll get something like this (click this link to go to Sketchfab.com and see!)  

That’s the mansion from Minecraft’s very own 10th Anniversary Map. Imagine if you have a build you love and want to share it with the world? Now you can! It’s not perfect, but it does the job. And you can adjust the settings on SketchFab to tag areas if you want people to admire your work. Mineways automatically tags uploads, so you can see what others have made.

The Hard Way: Chunky

If you want a higher fidelity rendering, including light sources, then you need to use Chunky, a program so wide and deep that it could be a ravine. So let’s spelunky through Chunky. 

Chunky has been covered here before, but we never explained how to use it. It takes some trial and error, a good PC, and a whole lot of time. You could prepare an intricate five course meal and eat it at a luxurious pace while your vista renders, but if you keep things simple it could go much quicker! 

Make sure you have 64 bit Java installed then grab the Chunky Launcher (not the installer) and load it up. Now open the advanced options and change the download server to http://chunkyupdate2.llbit.se/ and make sure ‘Download snapshots’ is ticked. If you have plenty of RAM the “Memory Limit” slider can be dragged to a higher number. With that all done you’ll get the latest version of the program when you hit “Update”. 

It currently only fully works with Minecraft Java 1.13, but we’re doing it this way to somewhat future-proof your set-up. This is the version the developer is focussing on going forward. Trying to load up an earlier build that you’ve not optimised or a later world will cause issues, so just stick with 1.13 and load up.

The first thing you should do is rename the scene from “Default” to something appropriate to your world. If you don’t do this, you can lose all your lovely art as the program will overwrite it with every new rendering session.

All you need to concern yourself with is the top-right, where it says “Change World”. Direct it to your saves. I went with Cube Block by XxRexRaptorxX. It’s small enough to render swiftly, but it looks pretty amazing. Here’s how to render it:

Now yours won’t be in that shape or at that angle, but it should look similar. You have rendered a world. It’s basic, but it's yours. Be proud of yourself! 

That’s the basics of Chunky. There are tonnes of other options. You can add skins, texture packs, or new skyboxes. You can keep the player in the frame and change their size, or change the angle of their body parts. It's very powerful, and it’s the secret behind making your own builds look extra solid.

If you want a higher-resolution image or one with a lot of light-sources and detail, the Canvas Size and Target SPP settings can be increased as you wish, but it gets pretty taxing on your PC. People have been known to keep Chunky running for days in order to make the most of it, which you can see on the Chunky Subreddit

Chunky’s limits are really just defined by your hardware and patience. It might ask a lot, but if you’ve spent the time creating a worthy build in your game, why not take the time to memorialise your work? And show us what you’ve made!

Written by
Craig Pearson
Published

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