Currently Tinkering: Chunky

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See your Minecraft world in the eyes of Chunky

For a while I’ve been experimenting with Blender, the free 3D modeling and animation software which is pretty amazing. I tried recreating me and my wife’s minecraft world in Blender and it doesn’t work smoothly because small objects don’t show up well when doing the conversion using Mineways. Although I’m still learning how to make it work, I read about this program called Chunky. It’s a Minecraft 3D rendering program. It doesn’t render anything else except for Minecraft worlds.

It’s a freeware, obviously done by a fan of the game. It also runs on Java which is the basic programming language of Minecraft, so I presume it also works on Mac (I don’t have a Mac, I’ve been using a PC ever since I started gaming).

I download the program and see how it goes. My first try got me an error.

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Based on what I read, it seems like the error is a common thing, and it suggests that I try using the “bat” file instead to get the memory allocated properly.

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A command prompt window will show up, but don’t mind it but also, don’t close it. Then a window will show up asking for a world. An error showed up on my screen but I just ignored it. I selected my world and it load up. If what loads up is not the world you intend to use, just click on SELECT WORLD.

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This is the selection map. This is where you choose which part of the map you wish to render. You can’t try to render the entire map, it can load for a LONG period of time if ever. So you have to select a section. From here, there are several options from what kind of map which is overworld, nether or the end. Overworld is what I chose because it’s where most people focus anyway and me and my wife’s map is purely overworld only. You can zoom in and out out of the map, but once you know what to render just hover your mouse on the one corner of the selected section and press and hold SHIFT+LEFT MOUSE CLICK and drag to the opposite corner of the selection.

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Before you start rendering, you have the option to choose a texture pack and highlights. But once you are ready, click on the  3D RENDER tab and click OPEN 3D VIEW.

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You can move now in 3D space using WASD key commands and your mouse. WASD is for movement of the camera position and mouse is for the angle. R and F is also set for up and down of the camera position. If you need to reach far places quickly, you can also use J and K for forward and backward. So it’s like your playing a game, but your are flying. Once you get the hang of your controls, choose a view that you like.

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Once you are all set with your particular view, now you try to setup the lighting, camera, sky and all.

The general settings are for the world name, canvas size (image size), gamma correction, water, colors and image saving. You can play around with this, but the default is generally fine. Although the canvas size is by default set at 400×400. This is the suggested preview size because it takes less time to render it instead of immediately going for a high resolution like 1600×900.

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Now for lighting. This is important because it sets the mood if you are in overworld. Emitters are for any object that has it’s own light source other than the sun like torches, jack-o-lantern, glow stone and others. Sunlight is basically what it is, the main light source. Sun yaw is for the horizontal position, and Sun pitch is the vertical position. You can change the sun color too if desired.

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For the sky tab. By default the sky is just a gradient, but you can add more realism or style by adding a panoramic image of the sky. Sky rotation will depend if you have a skymap. If you don’t have a skymap, the rotation option is useless. Atmosphere adds a little fog effect for far of distant objects, while Volumetric fog is more for close up fogs, this is more effective when you are indoors and sunlight is passing through the windows or openings.

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Camera options, you can set the camera to the last position of the player or press on Center camera which resets the camera position to it’s original point. Field of view is zoom, depth of field of the blurring near and far objects. Focal offset is for what the camera is focusing on. If you are not sure what you are doing or you don’t want to play around with the depth of field and focal offset settings, use the autofocus option. The autofocus won’t mess with the field of view option.

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The advanced tab only has Ray Depth at this time. This makes objects more reflective of light. But if you are not sure what to make of this, just leave it at the default setting.

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Now with everything that I’ve setup, I press START.

Note, rendering can take really long, like from hours to even a day. It’s also CPU intensive so it can slow down your computer a lot. You can set it up with a different command to lessen the CPU processing, but it’s a command line, so if you are not into using a java script command, don’t use it.

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The longer the rendering process, the better the image turns out, but it really depends on you if you can wait long hours. It’s a good thing that Chunky has an option to save the current state of the image to a PNG image file. Also, I hear if you play Minecraft while Chunky is rendering, it can cause some errors in the rendering process.

So, here are my screenshots compared to the ones I made in a previous article regarding Minecraft modding and textures.

Minecraft screenshot:

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Chunky render with Sphax PureBDCraft texture:

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Minecraft screenshot:

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Chunky render with default texture:

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Minecraft screenshot:

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Chunky render with default texture:

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Here are some other renders I’ve made:

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Even though it’s a free program, it’s still an amazing piece of software. It’s rendering images like you were actually there and not in a video game world with jagged edges. The rendering process is long though, and if you seen how fast 3D rendering for Blender and Maya does, I’m sure that rendering in Chunky will feel like you’re in the dark ages. But you can’t deny the quality it gives out with such a simple program. If you are a minecraft fan and you want to take your world into a more realistic look, then you don’t have to look for more.

You can download Chunky here.

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