3D modeling for Minecraft: 2. Modeling (part 1)

MrbrutalMinecraft6 Comments

In this post, we’ll take a closer look, at how to model things in Cinema 4D.


You can get it here: http://www.maxon.net/products/cinema-4d-studio/who-should-use-it.html

Again, make sure you also have the BodyPaint module or if you have the Studio version it should already be included.

Now that you’ve opened it there’s something you should always check first. By pressing Ctrl+D you can get to the project properties, where you have to make sure the scale is right:


It is best to use Meters or Centimeters, since that is the closest scale you can get to the Minecraft scale. 1 cube being 1x1x1m big. When you will later export the model, you will also be prompted with desired scale, so rest easy if you choose something you didn’t intend.

Now that the scale is set, you’re ready to model. But how? Well I wrote this in the previous post already, but here is a good site with tutorials again >> link. You can also check on youtube for some novice tutorials. You’ll mostly use cubes anyway, and no fancy geometry tools, so essentials should be enough. What I usually do at the start is place a cube of 1x1x1m at the bottom of the grid, just to have a point of reference on any future cubes, so that the scale can be imagined easyer.

Here is where you click to place a cube. Cinema does this thing where it makes it 2x2x2m by default, so you should resize it to proper dimentions.


This can be done 3 different ways:

  1. Rescale the cube with the scale tool while having Shift key pressed (So you can scale by 10% at a time). Click anywhere in the perspective window and drag. If you want to just scale in one direction click the arrow with a cube at the end. (Red, green or blue)
  2. Scale the cube in the object properties panel.
  3. Scale the cube in project coordinates panel (scales everything uniformly).


One important thing to note when making models is also the size of the cubes in the model. Techne and FMC already make the boxed properly scaled, but since Cinema 4D is a professional modeling software it is not suited for Minecraft. If we take the dirt block, for example, it has a texture that is 16 pixels by 16 pixels. Which means that basically Minecraft will "stretch" a 16 pixel image over a cube 1x1x1m big. So if we divide that 1m cube by 16 pixels per side, we get 0.0625 which means that if we had a texture of only 1 pixel by 1 pixel, the cube would have to be 0.0625m big to cover the whole texture. (Or 6.25cm to put it in an easier unit of measure)

What does this mean? That if you want to have a properly textured model, where the textures in pixels are exactly the same size as the box they texture, you have to make all the boxes be the multiple of 6.25cm in Cinema. But if you don’t care about this nonsense, and you don’t care if textures overlap and are mismatched, you can ignore the above part. But don’t complain later if the textures don’t match up like they should. 🙂 I like things to look perfect so there has to be some math behind this.

But what if you need to make an object that isn’t rectangular in nature? Well, here we have a slight problem. If you stick to cubes, the polygons always have 4 corners, but if you use something else, they might have 3, or 5 or 8 or even more. Which sadly Minecraft doesn’t like. There is a way around this, but this is more of an advanced thing and not something you should worry yourself with. (If there is interest I can also make a tutorial on that, just write it in the comments) The good news though is that most things can be done with cubes. Yes that’s right, even curves, cylinders, and balls.

You can make your job easier by using something called the Cloner. You can find it here:


What it does is basically make copies of your object in different shapes, and directions be it a line, circle, or something completely random. After placing a cloner object into the project you can click on it on the right, which will bring up the properties. By simply making your cube a child of the Cloner, you can achieve the desired effect. Then just play with the settings, to have it make copies in the shape you want.

Cloner settings

  1. You just drag and drop the cube over the Cloner object to make it a child (Like in the picture).
  2. These are the settings to change, just play around a little, see what they do.

That’s basically it for the modeling part. The only thing that’s left is the tedious process of placing cubes of different shapes and sizes until something cool comes out. 🙂


This is it for today, but next week we’ll take a look at some other modeling tips and ways to present or render your model. If you get stuck or have questions, you can post it in the comments, or you can tweet me @Mrbrutall

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5 years ago

As long as you add autoracks, gondolas, heavy-duty flatcars, 6 and 8-axle tankers, boxcars, flatcars, wood-transporting wagons and passanger wagons, maybe some snowplow locomotive and Schnabel cars I will be happy and will die like that!

4 years ago
Reply to  JJ

I am going to try to add maybe some new engines!

5 years ago

Amen to that. I am stuck in 1.6.4 until this updates to 1.11. I would not mind snow plows. I am constantly fighting snow on my tracks. I have pixelmon installed, so I have no trouble searching for a snow biome. My tracks are 5 blocks in width, and length still in progress, but has hit around the 3 million mark. I have quite the trip from one city to another! Also, I would be extremely happy if a Work Engine was added, along with a excavation car? I can not think of the exact name, but it has a built-in excavator. I would like for it to take fuel, and the use to be picking up animals, and such. That would make it so much easier to transport an animal and put it in a livestock car. Imagine having two trains parked by eachother, one a working Engine with an excavator car, and a work car which is already in-game. Then, you have a train on the opposite side with a deisel engine, and livestock cars. You could have the tracks run by a farm, which the Work Train could transport the animals onto the Livestock train. LIFE WOULD BE MUCH BETTER! (With the cost of extra fuel, probably diesel)

5 years ago
Reply to  Zac

Another idea, a car with an animated canopy. It would hold strictly dirt and cobble, and much like the grain cars and rail transport, would fill up more with the larger amount of slots filled in the inventory.

5 years ago

Another idea, a car with an animated canopy. It would hold strictly dirt and cobble, and much like the grain cars and rail transport, would fill up more with the larger amount of slots filled in the inventory.

4 years ago

Could we get switches like this in the future? That way we don’t have to place down 4 separate switches to get a similar function?
Also when is the next update?