Check out this awesome guide on how to build using many theories and techniques that are actually used in the industry. This was originally found on Imgur, and posted on Reddit by user Kaephis. He entitles this “How to Build: Chapter 1”
This is your house right now. A nice, cozy dirt block. You even have some windows for decoration! However, you’re looking to improve, so you look up a building tutorial.
The Starting Point
Well, you found a build tutorial, and it had gotten a lot of upvotes, so it must have been good, right? You added some variation, some more windows, and you put your door the right way, too! Unfortunately, it still sort of sucks. In this tutorial, we’re not just going to teach you how to build, but also how to make your build look good.
Contrasting vs Matching
When choosing a color scheme, it’s best to use two different disciplines: contrasting and matching. Contrasting is getting two blocks with opposite colors, and matching is getting two blocks with similar colors.
In this picture we have two examples: #1 and #2. You will notice that one looks much better than the other. The reason for this is the way that they were matched. You want to contrast based more on darkness. If you simply pick opposite colors, you’ll end up looking like the build on the right. Instead, pick things with similar textures but different colors and darknesses. (It also helps not to use lapis blocks)
Moving on to matching, you will see a similar scenario. Luckily, matching is a bit harder to mess up. #2 in this picture does not look as bad as #2 in the previous picture, but it is good to stay away from making your blocks too close in color, or you risk looking bland.
This part is something that most tutorials will not cover. Most blocks in the game have an underlying color, which determines how well it matches with other blocks. For example, the two blocks on the left have a pink-ish undertone, which allows them to go well with each other. The blocks on the right, however, have more of a deep red undertone, which allows them to look good together. It’s hard to define a process in finding these undertones, but make sure to look close when choosing a color palette.
Moving right along, we’ll start talking about textures. Many people don’t consider the “texture” part of textures, and a lot of tutorials don’t talk about them, but they’re quite important in the building process.
Smooth vs Rough
One of the biggest parts of a block is whether it’s texture is smooth or rough. On the left, you will see the smooth textures, which generally remain with one color, with very few interruptions. On the left, there are the rough textures, which are very noisy, and have either multiple colors or multiple shades.
As you can see, smooth textures are generally used together. This generally goes for most textures, smooth and smooth go together, while rough and rough also go together. This rule can be broken if executed well, but for the beginning, it’s best to stick to. Smooth textures are generally used to achieve a more modern feel, as seen above.
This build is a slightly more complicated example of using rough textures. You may notice that, once again, I used all rough textures. This is because they generally all look good together. However, it is not the worst thing in the world to throw in a smooth block, as it can also add some variation to your build.
The rough and smooth categories can cover most blocks, but there are some blocks that show characteristics of both. Three of these types are shown in the picture, but there are more out there. These blocks can fit with both rough and smooth textures. This makes them useful is you want to transition between a rough texture and a smooth texture without having a rough edge. Or a smooth edge. (Laugh, it was supposed to be funny)
We will now be moving on to skills that will directly apply to how your build will be shaped. We’ll have one more section in this chapter after this, so just hold on.
Up to now, you’ve learned about how to use colors and textures to achieve a good set of blocks. Now, you’ve built this. Good job, it’s quite nice. However, there’s a bit of something missing, and that thing is depth.
Moving the Walls
One way to make your build less flat is to make your wall two layers, rather than just a solid face. What we did here was keep the logs in their previous position, and push the sandstone out one block. Of course, you’re going to have to use your eye to gauge whether or not this looks good, or it could end up looking silly.
Using Stairs for Depth
Here, we have started to get a bit more fancy. On the floor, we have stairs that have made a square surrounding the middle block. Luckily, this doesn’t affect the way you walk at all, so it just adds two layers to your floor, rather than one. We also added some stairs in the corner of the walls to create a pseudo-section in between the logs and sandstone.
I made a few finishing touches, adding some lamps in the floor and some windows. You can see how much of a difference the use of depth made. Some will now agree with all of my design decisions, but the wonderful thing about Minecraft is that it’s a sandbox game, and you can do whatever you want with it.
This is the last part of this chapter, and it will get you into actually building structures. You will now be able to combine shapes and apply the previously used techniques to make it look great.
The Golden Ratio
When making shapes, it is best to keep the golden ration in mind. The golden ratio is seen as the “perfect” ratio, and is defined by the Fibonacci Sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,33,54,etc.) A great way to get dimensions for a shape is to take two of these numbers next to each other, such as 5&8 or 13&21. This makes a “golden rectangle”, which is regarded as the most appealing rectangle.
Rectangles, Circles, and Triangles
These three shapes are the main ones that you will find used in most Minecraft builds. They can be arranged and scaled in multiple different ways, and also made three dimensional.
And here they are in three dimensions. You will not see this sphere very often, but you can cut it in half to make a dome, or just keep the circle shape and make a cylinder. I showed a triangular prism for the triangle, as you most commonly see the triangle used in roofing.
Back to the Basics
Which brings us back to our little house from the start. How are we going to use our new building skills to make this into something that people might actually like looking at?
Picking the Blocks
First, we’ll have to pick a few blocks that go well together. I chose these three, as they all have a dark, red/purple undertone, and are all either rough or in-between blocks.
Laying Out the House
From there, I made a 13×8 rectangle, moved the walls in one, and then put a triangular roof on top.
After the layout was complete, I simply filled in the blanks, adding occasional spaces for windows. An extra log was added at the top for increased depth.
Before & After
All that was left to be done was to fill in the windows and add a bush around the side of the house to make it look more homely. Here it is next to your house from before. A lot better, right? And all you had to do was follow the basic steps in this tutorial. Of course, to get better, you will have to keep trying, but hopefully this guide gave you some useful pointers.
Thanks for Reading!
This is only chapter one, says Kaephis, “Make sure to look out for other coming chapters over the next few months, maybe even a few with video companions.” I’m ashamed to admit that I really liked that house at the beginning, but seriously, As someone who isn’t that good at building, I found this guide to be incredibly helpful, especially with the small details that are pointed out that make the build so much better. Thanks!
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