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Minecraft Palettes: Perfect Pixels – Modelling Tips 1

Minecraft Palettes: Perfect Pixels – Modelling Tips 1

Texturing Minecraft Palettes – What makes them work?

A creature of your own! Waiting to be coloured in, textured, given life. Blending with the world around it in all its beautiful glory-


Where do you start?

What colours?

How do you make it look natural?

What makes lighting fit in?



I’ll stop you there – keep reading, and let this dream manifest.

Choosing an Idea

Let’s say you’re thinking of mushrooms.


Strange thought, but let’s say you are. The very first thing to build off that should be thinking of a style. Do you want a bright, shiny mushroom? A noir detective mushroom? A cyberpunk mushroom that isn’t sure what era it’s in?

Figure out the very basic goal before anything else. Your idea and theme go hand in hand with paving the way to everything past it.

Here are some examples!

The idea and theme could be anything from an icy snail of the frozen wastelands, to a fiery butterfly destined to incinerate the rainbow fields of the Nether peaks.

Perhaps a dwarf obsessed with belts of swords and steampunk gear, packed up so high it’s a wonder they still walk, or a frog with mini cities growing out of its back.

Start somewhere – snatch that idea right out of the sky before you start ironing out your palette. (Remember: Minecraft palettes are different to other art forms!)

Research Palettes

You’re not reinventing the wheel.



Look into what other people have attempted for your idea. Especially if there are any other Minecraft palettes available for it, such as with skins or texture packs in a similar style to what you’re hoping to manage! Did they go for darker, desaturated colours? Brighter, saturated hues? A mix of the two? Did it work? What looks nice?

Learn what other people did right, before you try your hand at it yourself.

Other people laid the paths to get here. You can follow them as inspiration to create your own design.

Base Colours

You’ve seen the colours others used. How can you simplify it?


Break it down into a handful of colours that show up around the design.

If it’s a snail, that might be two colours for a stripy pattern on the shell, and one for the body? Add houses, and you might end up with three for different houses and another three for varied roof colours? Another two for glowing and dark windows?

Keep it to the absolute minimum colours possible. You’re not looking for dozens of spectrums of colours right now. What is the smallest number of colours you can make this with?

Organise them into a line on your canvas! I personally draw my model’s textures with Krita, but there are many other art programs available.

Gradients – Expand your Palette

You’ve got every colour you need. Now create gradients for each of them.


If you’re focusing on a rather desaturated scheme, it can help to have the gradients range from closer to white or black. Light to dark.

If you’re aiming to keep it colourful, the same applies!

But if you want something that instead looks shaded, with parts murky and fainter, while others shine bright, you want the gradients to range from saturated to desaturated.

Pick somewhat noticeable different colours and line them up. One after the other. Darkest purple. Dark purple. Purple. Light purple. Lightest purple.

Consider how extreme you want the differences between the start and end of a gradient to be. Do you want the brightest yellow in the world and the darkest gold, or is a small, subtle gap from light to pale okay?

Saturation of Digital Colour Palettes
Saturation of Digital Colour Palettes

Gradients – Multi-colour!

You may even want a gradient to range from one colour to another, such as green to blue for seaweed, or red to yellow for fire. Find a middleground that helps them blend together. Turquoise? Orange?

If it’s a magical mist of purplish pink energy to have a gradient that clearly transitions from your strongest purple to strongest pink.

Cohesive Palettes – What goes together?

I know – I’ve told you to pick colours right off the bat and mentioned cohesion way, way later.


You need to have a plan before you can edit the plan.

Now, you’ve got your plan. It needs to work together.

With your focus on an idea and style, ensuring all the colours are clearly desaturated or bright and colourful, or dark and broody, tidying up some very nice gradients, you should already have quite cohesive colours.

A couple things that can help push this to the next level are complementary colours and contrast.

A palette that’s all varying shades of yellow and orange will be extremely complementary, fitting together epically – but it likely won’t contrast.

Contrast in Palettes

Contrast is like the pavement to your house.


It stands out. It’s a sudden breakage of an otherwise seamless colour. It’s the completely different colour that stops everything being all one.

This is often best captured by a sudden shift in darkness or saturation.

If you have a very light red, a sudden very dark red is contrast – and a sudden dark burgundy even moreso. It’s the difference between them. How unexpected is the shift?

Contrast helps each colour pop. It makes them stand out.

Ideally, don’t use it too freely. You don’t want the entire piece to look like it clashes like a mess of colours that don’t go together.

Use it sparingly. Make that red and white striped shirt pop with a dark purple jacket over the top?

Complementary Colours

The opposite to contrast is our aforementioned complementary colours.


Picking at total random won’t get you far.

There are a couple ways you can look at a colour wheel and pick out colours which go together beautifully.

These are usually known as complementary, split complementary, analogous, triadic, rectangle, and square.

Complementary is picking colours opposite each other on the colour wheel.

Split complementary is that, except one to the left and right of one side – almost opposite, but just barely not.

Analogous is colours next to each other. No risks taken.

Triadic is colours connecting in a triangle on the colour wheel.

Rectangle? You guessed it. Rectangular connection.

Square is the same.

These are not the end all be all of colour choices, but they will get you a lot further than winging it. It’s heavily advised to consider colours with this in mind!

Choosing Colors for Palettes
Choosing Colors for Palettes

Organising the palette…

This is a lot to take in.


Take a breather, step back, and look at what you’ve got. You’re nearly done with all the tough colour picking challenges. I suggest reflecting on everything so far and trying to tidy it all up ready. Maybe give it a few goes before moving on.

At this stage, think of your palette like a really complex heap of blobs of paint you would use to draw with, or a bunch of pencils you bought when you were too eager to be prepared.

If you’ve followed along by now, you shouldn’t have too many colours. Just enough it fits the scale of what you’re working with!

You’re doing great!

We all need to remind ourselves of that, don’t we?

Texture! Put to use your Minecraft Palette!

You’ve got through most of it already now – take a dive and texture away. Go for it!

Take your time. There’s no hurry.

And when you’re done? Pat yourself on the back. Yes, that’s a step here. Do it.


Here’s a texture file I made for a pirate skeleton remodel, in my ghostly pirate ship fleet.

Pirate Sailor, using my Minecraft Palette
Pirate Sailor, using my Minecraft Palette

Lastly, Light Sources – Even Palettes in Minecraft Need Shading!

A gradient is half the story.

This is the pro level. The detail obsessive level. The level where you almost double the time you spent on the piece, especially if you’re new to it. It’s optional!


Pick a spot on the design where light bubbles out from.

The back of a bat’s head?

The leg of a table?

The bulb of a lamp? Well, that one’s obvious.

Light erupts in all directions, moving straight, directly, from the source. Some sources are directed, so light might simply go to the left or right from it, like a lamp with a lamp shade!

If there’s an obstacle to the light, expect it to bounce off.

Try picturing it bouncing around, and seeing where it hits fastest on the design.

Some parts of it may not even get hit at all!

The parts which get hit fastest should be a little brighter and lighter. Tweak it so they shine. Light lightens! If it hits a dark brown fast, it’s a light brown. If it hits a dark brown later into the flow, it might just be a slightly less dark brown.

Think of it as a percentage. The further the light had to travel and bounce to reach the goal, the less impact it has. The shorter the travel, the more impact.

If you make the shorter spots hit 40% lighter, the spots that took longer to hit might be 30%, to 20%, to 10%, 5%, and even 2% if you’re really careful!

This is the tough part of the process that brings to life everything you’ve done so far in brilliance.

And You’re Done!

It may not have unfolded exactly as you planned – first tries rarely do!


Keep learning, keep practicing, and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

I suggest looking to my blog on Achieving Your Goals to make sure you reach your destination. We’re all capable. We just need to remind ourselves of it and never let the fire inside burn out!

Send me a message

Send me a message

    Steve Minecraft walking final

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