Hey there! My name is Vilim, I’ve been creating 3D models and pixel art since 2014. I learnt modeling in Blender and first started designing Minecraft models for the Placeable Items mod. Since then, I’ve worked with numerous Minecraft servers and Minecraft Marketplace partners including BlockWorks, Gamemode One and Spark Squared, where I currently work as the lead artist. In 2019, I decided to make a series of tips on Twitter for Minecraft modelers and texture artists. I was motivated both by the wish to spread my knowledge and the fact that I didn’t have an easy time developing this skill due to the lack of resources on the topic. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which is why I continued the series until I covered all the topics I wanted to in this format. I hope you enjoy these and find them helpful!
0 – Software Choice
When it comes to Minecraft modeling of any kind, there is no software better than BlockBench. Here’s why.
1 – UV Proportions
If your texture gets stretched or skewed, the result will be awful without exceptions. Fortunately, BlockBench offers two elegant solutions.
2 – Texture Shading
No matter the material, texturing is about placing every pixel deliberately. Prepare your color schemes and apply them with the material properties in mind.
3 – Element Count and Shape Depiction
It’s always a good idea to strive for a lower element count. Define the overall shape with the model, add detail on the texture.
4 – Common Texturing Mistakes
Being easy to produce, certain mistakes will occur quite often among people who are just getting started. They might seem harmless, but they will negatively impact your entity, block and item textures, making them appear unnatural and out of place.
5 – Flipping
In many cases, there are shapes on the model that need to be symmetrical. Using BlockBench, you can make those only on one side and mirror them to the other, instead of doing everything manually. It works on all three axis, but you’ll probably use X the most. It will also rename the bone for you from left to right and vice versa (e.g. the duplicate is called leg_right2, but when you flip it, the name will change to leg_left).
6 – Saturation and Hue Shifting
This is one of the most important things to remember when working on any sort of art. It enables you to create believable shadows and highlights. Without it, you are going to end up with a color palette that looks dirty and uninteresting.
7 – Z-fighting
Something that can easily get overlooked or cause issues when you want to get rid of it. You know it when you see it, even if you’ve never heard what it’s called. Don’t just leave it be, apply one of the following solutions!
8 – Item Design Study
If you want the item textures you create to fit into the Minecraft style seamlessly, you should learn how the official items are designed. To start, we need to look at the four basic, universal steps.
9 – Parenting
You must often parent bones, especially when it comes to complex models. It is important to take into account not just whether the still model appears fine in the preview, but whether it can be properly animated.
10 – Entity Texture Design Study
Much like items, Minecraft entity textures also have certain rules they follow. In this example, you can see the process of creating the donkey body texture broken down into stages.
11 – Vertex Snapping
In order to fix cracks and slight imperfections in the position of certain elements, you can use BlockBench’s Vertex Snap tool.
12 – Seamless Block Textures
A crucial step in designing block textures, along with them looking good on their own, is making sure they work when placed next to each other.
13 – Animated Java Models
This is a trick to make your java models appear animated! Note that it only works if your model supports transparency.
14 – Creating a Color Palette
Some bad texturing practices were covered in previous tips. Now we can take a look at how Minecraft texture palettes should be created.
15 – Line Depiction on Textures
Jaggies are a common pixel art mistake that occurs due to the geometric restrictions of pixels and a lack of anti-aliasing. It can be avoided by following these general guidelines on how to depict straight and curved shapes.
16 – Pivot Points
Along with good parenting, setting pivot points in the right place is essential for animation and later edits of the model.
17 – Common Modeling Mistakes
Let’s take a look at two mistakes a modeler can make when trying to depict smaller objects (or parts of an object). Due to a lack of a better term, I named thick bits after the Chisels & bits mod.
18 – Painted Textures
This tip contains notes on what can hurt or vastly improve painted textures. For tiling, the same principles apply for all resolutions (check Tip #12).
19 – Modeling Round Shapes
This tip goes over why there is no need to attempt to depict spheres and cylinders with additional elements. Minecraft models approximate and reduce objects to their essence.
20 – Proportions
The final tip in the series tackles how proportions between different models, as well as between the parts of a single model, influence the way we perceive and use it.