Minecraft Renders

One of the things I’ve been doing in the time since my last major blog post was dabbling with rendering some of my Minecraft exploits.

One of my biggest projects in the game (before I started “cheating” with INVedit and MCEdit) was Skull Island. Across a wide expanse of water from my original spawn and home base, I found an island with a large mountain near the water. It could be seen faintly from the water’s edge near my spawn, and I thought it’d be a cool project to carve a large skull into the cliff face. After a few weeks of work (not always consistent play, but it did take a awhile), I was finished. It wasn’t the best thing I’d ever seen made in Minecraft, but I liked the result, was proud of my work, and have decided to post the results here, for the curious.

In order to render my Minecraft levels, I first output them to OBJ format using mcobj, which is a great little tool. I used my old 3D standby, trueSpace, to do the actual rendering, and did a little work in Photoshop afterwards for some of them as well.

Here’s the final render I did of Skull Island. The depth of field effect, which was part of the original render, gives it a nice little tilt-shift photography effect that I feel is very appropriate for Minecraft. I also did some post-process color work in Photoshop.

That line coming out of the water and going into the skull’s mouth is actually my mine cart track that leads back and forth between the two land masses. On the way over to Skull Island, you come flying up a long incline and immediately see the giant skull looking ahead before your cart goes sailing between the front teeth!

I also did an alternate view from my home base area on the other side of the water. There’s no sky output when you export maps from Minecraft using mcobj (and I don’t see how there could ever be, really), so I had to make my own. The following two images show the render with and without my faux-Minecraft sky.

I also did a render of a small lake, to test water transparency / reflectivity and depth of field.

And finally, just for kicks, here’s an image of my poor computer trudging through a rendering… the phrase “firing on all cylinders” comes to mind!

If you play Minecraft and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty with some simple 3D work, rendering your worlds is a pretty fun way to make the whole experience a little more artful. There’s a good sub-reddit for mcobj at r/mcobj, and people have also written up some decent tutorials for creating renders with Blender too, so there are lots of resources out there to help get you started if you’re interested in all of this.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any tips, tricks, or other things to share about creating Minecraft renders, be sure to add them in the comments below! And of course, if I create any more interesting renders, I’ll be sure to post ’em here on the blog!


  1. Martin - Over a year ago

    Comments should be fixed now. Apologies for the inconvenience!

  2. xot - Over a year ago

    These are really neat. The depth of field is a really nice touch. I think I just might have a new picture for my desktop. Seems like it could be great fun importing stuff into LightWave 3D, but it looks like textures are not export. Am I seeing that right, or was that a artistic decision on your part?

    I wish Minecraft ran better for me. I’ve praised but dismissed it for myself in the past, but I do want to give it go sometime. It’s really starting to shape up, especially with mods and tools. I tried the PC Gamer demo and it is so laggy sometimes. I guess my ancient GPU is just not up to it. Until I can upgrade I’ll just continue to live vicariously through the Yogscast.

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Thanks Xot, glad you liked them!

      The textures did not export on the version of mcobj that I was using, but I haven’t updated it in a while – it might be that you can now export textures, or it might at least be easier. I do like the non-textured look too, though… it almost has a LEGO-like look. Clean and nostalgic!

      It’s too bad your current computer can’t run the game. At the very least, it’s fun to just run around and explore, or use tools like those I mentioned above to load your inventory with all kinds of gadgets to play around with and see what you can create. There are various settings in the game to turn down draw distance and decrease the graphical intensity of the game, but it’s not as much fun (or as epic) when everything you make is obscured by fog.

      Or you could try other games, like Terraria, which I’ve heard good things about. I’ve considered picking up that game as well, but after experiencing the timesink of Minecraft first-hand, I’m not sure if I’m ready for another game like that quite yet. In the mean time, I’ve got a handful of big games to play through before all the awesome stuff from E3 comes out this fall!

  3. Niq - Over a year ago

    Inspired by your renders, I decided to have a bash with C4D (my app’ of preference). I’ve begun replacing the exported textures and working on the lighting but there’s still a fair way to go yet.


  4. Minecraft Torrent - Over a year ago

    minecraft exploits are so easy to find nowdays xD

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