Minecraft’s launcher background is a good example of the art style in question

Have you ever wondered why the promotions and trailers for Minecraft look almost nothing like the game itself? Everything in those animations is smooth, simple and vibrant – in comparison to the game, which has pixelated textures and dull colors.

If you find yourself drawn to how it looks in the promos, then there’s good news: using mods, you can accomplish a very close approximation to the art style that Mojang uses to promote its game.

Keep in mind, this method only works for Java Edition (as opposed to Bedrock/PE/Console). You’ll need two texture packs and one shader pack, in addition to Optifine. Read on to learn how.

Once you’ve finished this tutorial, you should get a result that looks like this:

Here you can see a comparison of the default game versus the trailer look.

Instructions

Step 1: Install Optifine

First, you’ll need to have OptiFine installed from optifine.net. This is a general-purpose mod that enables a wide range of new functionality – important for this tutorial being the shader support.

For a tutorial on how to Install Optifine, refer to this video guide.

Step 2: Install texture packs

Next up you’ll need to install two texture packs: Bare Bones, and an add-on to the same pack, Bare Bones PBR, by robotpant. These texture packs are designed to replicate the simple, smooth textures that Mojang uses in its promo material.

First you’ll need to locate the location to save the texture pack files to. In Minecraft, go to Options > Resource Packs > Open Resource Pack Folder. It will open the necessary texture pack folder.

Click both buttons below to download the packs. Save both to the texture pack folder you just opened.

Then apply both of the texture packs in Minecraft’s resource pack menu. The Bare Bones PBR texture pack will give a warning about being incompatible, but you can safely bypass this warning – all it means is that a few of the textures might not have depth and shininess that the pack gives the rest of the blocks.

Step 3: Install shader pack

In addition to the textures, Minecraft’s promotional images also have realistic lighting with shadows and reflections. To accomplish this, we’ll need a shader pack. There are many to choose from, however one that we find works very well for this purpose is Simplicissimus by RRe36.

To download a shader, you’ll need to locate the location to save the shader pack files to. Be sure that you’ve loaded Minecraft in the OptiFine profile. Go to Options > Video Settings > Shaders > Shaders Folder. It will open the necessary shader pack folder.

Click the button to download the shader. Save it to the shader pack folder you’ve just opened.

Now, back in Minecraft, apply the shader pack in the shaders menu.

Step 4: Tweak settings

You’ll need to adjust some of the shader settings to get everything looking right. In the shaders menu, with Simplicissimus selected, select “Shader Options” in the lower right corner. Settings you’ll want to change include:

  • In “Lighting”, enable “LabPBR Support” and “Normalmap Support” (this enables the Bare Bones PBR texture pack you downloaded earlier)
  • In “Effects”, enable “Promo Outline” (this enabled an rim light effect on the edges of blocks. It is optional – some Minecraft promo art includes this effect while others don’t, so it’s up to you which you prefer)

The last setting to change is Options > Video Settings > Quality, and set “Custom Sky” to Off. This disables Bare Bones’ custom sky, which looks good by itself but not in combination with the shader.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Now you’re all set – just create a new world and see the fantastic effect that this combination of mods creates. No longer is this style relegated to the imagination of Minecraft’s marketing department!

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