How to Make Glass in MagicaVoxel

MagicaVoxel has become an extremely popular voxel editor due to its powerful built-in rendering engine that allows you to add awesome effects to your voxel art. In this tutorial, we will show you how to make glass in MagicaVoxel.

How to make Glass in MagicaVoxel

So let's say you made a house voxel model inside of MagicaVoxel and it has a couple of windows that need glass. Now you might be asking, how do I make glass in MagicaVoxel? The cool thing is MagicaVoxel has a Glass material that you can use on your voxel models to create great looking glass effects. We'll be going through the steps to setup a material that supports glass and then applying it to your model. Lastly we'll show you how to render it inside the Render window so you can fine tune the effect.

Getting Started

Glass effects can make any voxel model look upgraded. Like the other materials available in MagicaVoxel, the Glass material can be used in place of the default Diffuse material. We will cover some of the different properties you need to adjust to make voxels look like glass.

This tutorial uses MagicaVoxel 0.99.6 or newer. If you need help installing MagicaVoxel, view our previous tutorial How to Install MagicaVoxel. There you can find a step by step tutorial on getting MagicaVoxel running on your computer.

Create or Import a Voxel Model

Now before we can use the glass effect we will first need a model to apply it to. Basically you have two options. You can import an existing model or you can start with a new file and make a model from scratch. For simplicity we will use an existing model that ships with MagicaVoxel. However you can use any model you want.

So to get started go ahead and open up MagicaVoxel. When you open it you might already see a cube inside of the editor. We're going to ignore that and instead look to the right side of the editor window under the window that says Project.

MagicaVoxel Sample Models

Inside that window there are a bunch of names of .VOX files such as "chr_knight" and "chr_sword". These are sample files that ship with MagicaVoxel so you can have a starting point for your own voxel art creations. For this example we will be using the "monu9" example to demonstrate how you can apply the glass material to your voxel model.

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Render Mode

If you notice in the top left of the MagicaVoxel editor, we have been mostly working inside of Model mode. However to apply glass effects in MagicaVoxel you must first go into Render mode. Click the link button that says Render.

After you press button, you'll notice some differences in the main editor window. Aside from the nice shading you see on your model now, you'll also notice some differences in the editor itself.

MagicaVoxel Render Overview

There are 4 main differences that we numbered for you:
  1. Palette: In Model mode this window was simply for selecting colors. However in Render mode this now represents all the materials on your voxel model.
  2. Light: This is a new window that replaces the Brush window in Model Mode. This has different settings such as lights, shadows and fog that affect the shading of your model.
  3. Progressive Rendering Bar: When ever you apply effects to your voxel art, it takes time for the computer to render the final image to screen. This progress bar gives you feedback on how close it is to finishing.
  4. Matter: This window has many options but one in particular that we will be using is the ability to choose what type of material to apply to voxels in our model. This includes the ability to use "Glass".
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How Materials Work in MagicaVoxel

Before we make a glass material you must first understand how materials work in MagicaVoxel. When you first start working with a voxel model in Model mode, MagicaVoxel by default is using what is called a Diffuse material to paint the voxels on your model. A Diffuse material is the standard material that allows you to paint a voxel a certain color. For the most part it is flat. In order to give your voxels a glass effect however you will need to select a material that has properties that make it look like glass. For this you cannot use a Diffuse material, you will have to use another material supported by MagicaVoxel called a Glass material. In the next section we will explain how to make this change.

How to Apply Glass to Voxels

So now that you are in Render mode we will create our first glass material that we will use on our model. For this example we will change the orange diffuse material on the top of our towers into an orange glass material so it looks a little more magical. 

Now all materials by default use the Diffuse material type. This is why colors on our model look flat for the most part. If you look inside the Palette window on the left and click on any color you'll notice that the Diffuse material type is selected inside the Matter window on the right. 

View materials in MagicaVoxel

What we want to do is change that to Glass which is a few buttons down from Diffuse. Look at the image below for guidance.

MagicaVoxel Materials

After you press that Glass button you will see some new properties that you can adjust that appear right below the Glass button. Go ahead and change the properties to match ours below.

MagicaVoxel Materials

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And here are the results. The image on the left is a diffuse material and the image on the right is using our new glass material.

Voxel Model with Diffuse material in MagicaVoxelVoxel Model with Glass material in MagicaVoxel

If you look closely at the second image you can now see through the top of the tower as if it were glass. You can start to see the voxels that make up the structure underneath it as well. This is very different from the completely flat material we had before in the first image. Keep in mind when you change the material it will affect the color. Because our background is gray the color appears darker because it now uses a glass material which is partially transparent therefore the gray starts to show through.

Go ahead and experiment with the glass properties to give it your own special look. We went and applied the Glass material to a few more of our colors. Check out our end product below.

How to make glass in MagicaVoxel

Feel free to experiment with these properties to create your own custom glass effects. The neat thing about voxel art is there really is no wrong way to make something look amazing. If you have any questions, let us know below.

We created a video version of this tutorial on Youtube if you would like to watch the full process.


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