Why shaders are the answer to making your Minecraft creations look even better

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Minecraft is now in its 12th year of existence, but intrepid players are still finding new ways to make it look better than ever before. Sure, its block-built facade may not scream high fidelity in its base state, but some of the best mods can transform your game into a thing of beauty. Shaders and texture packs are over and above the best way to do just that, and a wealth of aesthetically-pleased makeover projects exist to turn the basic world from meh to magnificent in just a few steps. 

Before you take a run at the best Minecraft shaders, and the best Minecraft texture packs, there's some housekeeping you should be aware of. Firstly, you'll want to install Minecraft Forge which will help streamline the process of downloading and installing mods themselves. Next, you should download Optifine, which makes Minecraft look better, and, crucially, run faster – the latter being especially important, given the fact your sprawling open-world playgrounds are about to become far more resource-intensive. 

Once you’ve downloaded the Optifine.JAR file, you'll want to move it into your mods folder (located in your Minecraft file) – but if you need help with any part of this process, we recommend checking out supporting literature, such as this How to Install Optifine for Minecraft guide from Minecraft Shaders. Minecraft Shaders, for what it's worth, prides itself in being the first website for Minecraft shader pack reviews. And while it's difficult to confirm that admittedly ambitious claim, it definitely is chock-full of handy guides on everything from the best Minecraft fantasy shaders to the best cartoon shaders, path-traced shaders, realistic shaders, and more.   


(Image credit: Minecraft)

Depending on what you want from your own reconfigured four-sided fiefdoms, there are countless ways to give Minecraft a makeover of your choosing. Maybe you want to improve depth of field in your game, or add motion and distance blur via Kappa Shaders. Perhaps you're keen to enhance reflections or shadows, or apply tone mapping or temporal anti-aliasing by way of Sildur's Shaders. You might fancy cel-shading, color boost or parallax mapping, ray-tracing, dual rainbow lens flare, or dynamic lighting, courtesy of the Continuum Shader 2.0. Ultimately, whatever it is that tickles your fancy, it can be done and then some. 

Other favorites of ours include Complementary Reimagined Shaders, SEUS Shaders, Arc Shaders, and the ultra-realistic BSL Shaders. If the latter were an emoji, it'd be *chef kiss*. And so, whether you're a beginner constructing a single-floor dwelling, or an expert evolving an entire empire, there really is something for innovative engineers of all levels of experience. Good luck, and happy (and beautiful) building!

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