Exploring the charm of voxelart: a beginner’s guide to creating stunning 3D pixel art

Voxelart is a form of digital art that uses three-dimensional pixels, or voxels, to create models and scenes. Unlike traditional polygon-based 3D modeling, voxelart focuses on creating objects and environments using individual cubes or blocks. This unique approach gives voxelart a distinct aesthetic that is reminiscent of retro video games and pixel art.

The history of voxelart can be traced back to the early days of computer graphics. In the 1980s, voxel-based rendering techniques were developed as an alternative to polygon-based rendering. These techniques were primarily used in medical imaging and scientific visualization. However, it wasn’t until the rise of indie game development in the 2000s that voxelart started gaining popularity as an art form in its own right.

Key takeaways

  • Voxelart is a form of digital art that uses 3D pixels to create objects and environments.
  • Choosing the right tools, such as MagicaVoxel or Qubicle, is important for creating voxelart.
  • Mastering voxel modeling involves understanding the use of shapes, symmetry, and layers.
  • Creating characters and creatures in voxelart requires attention to detail and understanding of anatomy.
  • Designing environments and landscapes in voxelart involves creating depth and using lighting and shading techniques.

Choosing the right tools for voxelart creation

When it comes to creating voxelart, there are several software options available. Some of the most popular voxelart software include MagicaVoxel, Qubicle, and VoxelShop.

MagicaVoxel is a free and intuitive software that is widely used by voxel artists. It offers a range of features including a built-in rendering engine, customizable brushes, and the ability to export models in various file formats. Qubicle is another popular choice among voxel artists, offering a more advanced set of tools and features. It allows for more complex modeling and animation, making it suitable for professional artists. VoxelShop is a powerful voxel editor that offers a wide range of tools for creating and editing voxel models.

When choosing the right software for voxelart creation, it’s important to consider factors such as ease of use, available features, and pricing. While some software options are free or offer a trial version, others may require a one-time purchase or subscription fee.

Mastering the art of voxel modeling

To create complex shapes and structures in voxelart, it’s important to understand the voxel grid. The voxel grid is a three-dimensional grid that represents the space in which the voxel model exists. Each cube or block in the grid represents a voxel, and by manipulating these voxels, artists can create intricate designs.

One technique for creating complex shapes in voxelart is called «voxel sculpting.» This involves using tools to add or remove voxels from the grid, allowing for the creation of organic and detailed forms. Another technique is «voxel stacking,» which involves stacking cubes on top of each other to create structures such as buildings or landscapes.

Mastering voxel modeling requires practice and experimentation. By understanding the principles of voxel art and exploring different techniques, artists can push the boundaries of what is possible in this unique art form.

Creating characters and creatures in voxelart

Number of characters created25
Number of creatures created15
Average time to create a character8 hours
Average time to create a creature12 hours
Number of unique character designs20
Number of unique creature designs10
Number of characters with animations15
Number of creatures with animations8

Designing characters in voxelart requires a different approach compared to traditional 3D modeling. Due to the limitations of working with cubes, artists must find creative ways to convey personality and expression in their voxel characters.

One tip for designing voxel characters is to focus on silhouette and shape. Since voxels are limited in their ability to convey fine details, it’s important to create distinct and recognizable silhouettes for characters. This can be achieved by using different sized voxels or by adding accessories or props that help define the character’s shape.

When it comes to creating voxel creatures, artists can take advantage of the blocky nature of voxels to create unique and stylized designs. By combining different shapes and sizes of voxels, artists can create creatures with exaggerated features or fantastical proportions.

Designing environments and landscapes in voxelart

Creating environments and landscapes in voxelart allows artists to build immersive worlds with a distinct visual style. Whether it’s a bustling cityscape or a serene natural landscape, voxelart offers endless possibilities for creating unique and detailed environments.

When designing voxel buildings and structures, artists can use a combination of voxel stacking and voxel sculpting techniques. By carefully placing and manipulating voxels, artists can create intricate architectural details and realistic structures.

Creating voxel landscapes requires a different approach. Artists can use a combination of voxel stacking and terrain generation techniques to create realistic and varied landscapes. By manipulating the voxel grid, artists can create mountains, valleys, rivers, and other natural features.

Adding textures and colors to your voxelart

Adding textures and colors to voxel models is an important step in bringing them to life. While voxels are inherently blocky and lack the ability to convey fine details, textures and colors can help add depth and visual interest to voxelart.

One technique for adding texture to voxel models is called «voxel painting.» This involves using brushes or tools to apply different colors or patterns to individual voxels. By carefully selecting colors and applying them strategically, artists can create the illusion of texture and detail.

Another technique for adding texture is called «voxel shading.» This involves using different shades of the same color to create the illusion of depth and volume. By carefully selecting the placement of darker and lighter shades, artists can create realistic lighting effects on their voxel models.

Animating your voxelart creations

Animating voxel models adds another layer of complexity and creativity to voxelart. While traditional 3D animation techniques can be applied to voxel models, there are also specific techniques that are unique to voxel animation.

One technique for animating voxel models is called «frame-based animation.» This involves creating a series of static frames, each representing a different pose or position of the model. By playing these frames in sequence, artists can create the illusion of movement.

Another technique for animating voxel models is called «voxel interpolation.» This involves creating keyframes that define the start and end positions of the model, and then using software to automatically generate the frames in between. This technique allows for smoother and more fluid animations.

Showcasing your voxelart: tips for presentation and sharing

Once you have created your voxelart, it’s important to showcase and share your work with others. There are several tips and techniques that can help you present your voxelart in the best possible way.

When presenting voxelart online, it’s important to use high-quality images or videos that accurately represent your work. This can be achieved by using proper lighting and composition techniques when capturing screenshots or recording videos.

Another tip for showcasing voxelart is to provide context and background information about your work. This can include details about the inspiration behind your creations, the techniques used, or any challenges you faced during the creation process. By providing this information, you can engage viewers and help them appreciate the effort and skill that went into your voxelart.

There are also several popular voxelart communities where you can share your work and connect with other voxel artists. Some of these communities include VoxelArtists, VoxelZone, and VoxelArtists Discord. By participating in these communities, you can receive feedback on your work, learn from other artists, and gain exposure for your voxelart.

Exploring the potential of voxelart in game development

Voxelart has gained popularity in the gaming industry due to its unique aesthetic and nostalgic appeal. Many game developers have embraced voxelart as a way to create visually striking games with a retro feel.

One advantage of using voxelart in game development is its low poly count. Unlike traditional 3D models that require complex geometry and high-resolution textures, voxel models are made up of simple cubes or blocks. This makes them easier to render and allows for smoother performance on a wide range of devices.

Another advantage of using voxelart in game development is its flexibility. Voxel models can be easily modified or manipulated, allowing for dynamic and interactive environments. This makes voxelart well-suited for games that require procedural generation or destructible environments.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using voxelart in games. One disadvantage is the limited ability to convey fine details. Due to the blocky nature of voxels, it can be challenging to create realistic or highly detailed models. Another disadvantage is the potential for performance issues. While voxel models have a low poly count, they can still require significant processing power if used excessively or in large numbers.

Inspiring examples of voxelart in the gaming industry

Voxelart has made a significant impact in the gaming industry, with several notable games showcasing the unique aesthetic and creative possibilities of this art form.

One popular example of voxelart in gaming is Minecraft. Developed by Mojang Studios, Minecraft allows players to build and explore blocky, procedurally generated worlds. The game’s simple yet charming voxel graphics have become iconic and have inspired countless voxel artists.

Another example of voxelart in gaming is Crossy Road. Developed by Hipster Whale, Crossy Road is a mobile game that features voxel characters navigating through an endless series of obstacles. The game’s colorful and playful voxel art style has been praised for its simplicity and charm.

Other notable examples of voxelart in gaming include Voxatron, Voxel Tycoon, and Teardown. These games demonstrate the versatility and potential of voxelart in creating immersive and visually striking gaming experiences.

Voxelart is a unique form of digital art that offers endless possibilities for creativity and expression. By understanding the principles of voxel modeling, mastering the use of tools and techniques, and exploring the potential of voxelart in different contexts such as game development, artists can push the boundaries of what is possible in this art form.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, voxelart offers a fun and accessible way to create three-dimensional models and scenes. With the right tools, techniques, and inspiration, you can create stunning voxelart that captivates and inspires others.

As voxelart continues to gain popularity in the gaming industry and beyond, it’s clear that this art form has a bright future ahead. With its unique aesthetic and nostalgic appeal, voxelart has the potential to leave a lasting impact on the world of digital art. So why not pick up your favorite voxelart software and start creating today? The possibilities are endless!


What is voxelart?

Voxelart is a form of digital art that uses three-dimensional pixels, or voxels, to create images and animations.

How is voxelart different from traditional pixel art?

While traditional pixel art uses two-dimensional pixels to create images, voxelart uses three-dimensional pixels, or voxels, to create images with depth and volume.

What software is commonly used for creating voxelart?

Some popular software for creating voxelart includes MagicaVoxel, Qubicle, and VoxelShop.

What are some common uses for voxelart?

Voxelart is commonly used in video games, virtual reality environments, and 3D printing.

What are some advantages of using voxelart?

Voxelart allows for the creation of detailed and complex 3D models with a relatively low amount of processing power. It also allows for easy manipulation and editing of the models.

What are some examples of voxelart in popular culture?

Some examples of voxelart in popular culture include the video games Minecraft and Crossy Road, as well as the animated film Wreck-It Ralph.