People want good graphics but they don't realize that they actually need to do something for good graphics to happen. In all games that look good, the maps are designed in a way that forces you to look at the right spots that actually look good. Objects/Trees are placed so they cast perfect shadows. Shiny surfaces/puddles are placed in a way that forces you to look at the reflections. And the sun (or any other light-source) is positioned perfectly so that you can't miss the good graphics.
In Minecraft, none of these things are done for you. People want "Ray-Tracing" and install PTGI - but all they do is take screenshots of sunsets, clouds or
boring landscapes. This has very little to do with ray/path tracing. There is so much more that most people will never see.
The same applies to Textures. People see my Videos and are impressed by the graphics. They download and install it (with wrong settings of course).
Then they go on a Minecraft flat-world, place a few random blocks and then complain that it doesn't look like in my videos. But why doesn't it look as good?
Does Real-Life always look realistic? Sure. But does it look good all the time? Probably not. A photographer picks the best spots and tries to get the
perfect lighting, camera angle, etc. - Even if you had the most expensive camera setup, your photos will still look terrible if you don't know what you are doing.
We have to become "Minecraft Architects" to build the right way and we need to become "Minecraft Photographers" to take awesome screenshots.
I'll teach you a few basic concepts.
This knowledge applies to any visual art: Photography/film, Drawing, 3D Rendering/Modeling, Graphic Design, Architecture, and so much more.
I will show you two of my builds/scenes and explain exactly what I did and why.
With my work I want to show you a completely new and different way of playing Minecraft - It's similar to 3D Software. We are basically inside a 3D Modeling and Rendering Engine that allows us to play around with all kinds of cool visual effects - In real-time. We don't need to create 3D Models and we don't need to wait ages to render an image. We can just place blocks and can change things on the go. We can walk around in our environments while we design them.
The screenshots above are from R16 and R15 (To download and test it yourself, head over to: Releases)
Both have a different style/theme but for both I used the same basic principles to make them look good.
Building:Extremely simple and small. You don't need to build huge castles or cities. Every single block is placed for a very specific reason.
Lighting:Both of the screenshots have the exact same lighting setup: A bright, white light-source in the center of the image.
Reflections:After I created this big, soft light-source, I placed a few objects in the hallway - for two extremely important reasons: Soft Shadows and Reflections.
Okay, now you created an awesome build/scene and you want to share it. You take a few screenshots.... but they do not look as good as in-game.
Why is that? You need to know a few very basic things about photography. An image can always have a quality on it's own, no matter the actual "content".
Look at the two Screenshots below. Exact same map, same scene, same shader, same settings, etc.... but why does the one on the left look better?
Everything is identical except for one thing: The "Camera" (Camera Angle, Camera Position, etc...)
Even such a super simple clean white scene can look good.
First of all: Set your Field of view (FOV) to something like ~50. Lower FOV values look a lot more "professional" or "cinematic".
How to find a good Camera Angle/Position?
There are all kinds of rules and principles for good scene-composition but we don't really need them here.
Most of it comes down to "feeling" it. Sounds weird but what I mean by that is that you don't need to know why it looks better.
Just take a few screenshots from different angels. Change the FOV, play with the player-height, just take a lot of screenshots from different angles/positions.
Then look at the screenshot folder and simply compare them. Try to look at them from a distance. Maybe try squinting your eyes a bit. Try looking out the window and then back on the screen - so you can look at them objectively. Over time you will "feel" if a screenshot looks more "professional" or "cooler" or whatever your goal is.
I try to go for a "cinematic" look - seems to work out best for me. You will learn which screenshots look good and over time you will automatically take better ones.
Look at some high quality movies. Every shot is very carefully arranged and planned. Look at professional photos. Architecture photography, etc. (pinterest, ...)
Anyways, here are a few simple rules I found very helpful:
Coming soon: Practical Tips on how I take screenshots and videos (with PTGI specifically) and edit them.Notes: replaymod, skymap, timelapses, Noise reduction, post processing, DOF closeup shots, software, time-lock,