In this article, I will show you how to download Magica Voxel, how to use it and how to export the 3D model created with it.
This time I use it on macOS but it can be used on Windows in the same way. But, please be aware that the UI etc. may be different.
- 1 About Magica Voxel
- 2 How to download Magica Voxel
- 3 Navigation Tools and User Interface in Magica Voxel
- 4 Modelling with Magica Voxel
- 5 Import your model into STYLY
About Magica Voxel
Magica Voxel is open-source software, which allows you to create models with voxels.
The official site is here. You can download the software from this site.
How to download Magica Voxel
Access the official site, then you will easily find the download button.
There is the version for each OS (It supports Mac and Windows only), so download the one compatible with your system. The download will finish in tens of seconds.
About the error when launching
When launching Magica Voxel on macOS, you may see it doesn’t start up, showing the black screen.
In that case, follow the sequence below to launch.
- Uncompress the compressed file you downloaded.
- Move temporarily the ‘Magica Voxel’ icon (See the image above) from the uncompressed file to the desktop or other folder.
- Move the ‘Magica Voxel’ icon, which you just moved to the desktop, back to the uncompressed file.
That is all.
Once you solved it this way, the software will launch without problems next time. So please try this solution if you struggle with this error.
Now, I explain how to use the navigation tools and user interface in Magica Voxel.
Of course, you can use the navigation tools with the mouse. But, this time, I use them with the trackpad. It’s handy.
- Scale > Slide two fingers
- Rotate camera (Scene Tumbling) > Click with two fingers and slide them. If you do the same with one finger, it selects an area or creates a voxel etc.
- Undo (Ctrl+Z)
- Cancel the selection (Ctrl+D)
- Delete (‘Delete’ key) > you can delete the voxel selected.
By the way, I found ‘Copy and Paste’ was not working.
User Interface in Magica Voxel
I explain the basics of the user interface in Magica Voxel here.
1. Colour Palette
You can change the colour of each voxel here. The numbers, 1 to 4, are written below the caption ‘Palette’. These are the colour palettes of each colour tone. By default, some colour palettes are available such as greyscale, low-tone colours, etc.
2. Brush Palette
This palette allows you to change the ‘Edit’ mode when you paint or create voxels.
The Brush tool has some Edit modes as follows.
When you create a line, press the ‘Attach’ button first. Then, you can draw a line with voxels. There are ‘Project’ and ‘Straight’ modes.
When you create a face, press the ‘Attach’ button first. You can create ‘Circle’ or ‘Square’ faces. They are created from the centre point.
You can add a registered pattern. When creating it can be rotated around X, Y and Z-axis.
This allows you to create a sphere or voxel. You can create or add them in ‘Attach’ mode, and you can paint them in ‘Paint’ mode. In ‘Erase’ mode, you can erase voxels with the pattern you set.
This allows you to create a face with voxels. You can create or add it in ‘Attach’ mode, and paint a face in ‘Paint’ mode. In ‘Erase’ mode, you can delete the face selected.
You can add, paint and delete voxels with a box specified by dragging the mouse. ‘Attach’ mode adds voxels, and ‘Paint’ mode paints them with the colour selected from the colour palette. In ‘Erase’ mode, you can delete voxels with the box specified.
You make your voxel model here. You can switch the screen to display the rendered image by selecting the ‘Render’ tab that is highlighted in the red box below.
4. Edit tool
In the panel highlighted in the red box below, you can set scale, flip and rotate voxels.
By the way, in Magica Voxel, you can only create voxels in the wireframe box that contains the model. If you want to modify it, change the values highlighted in the light blue box below.
5. Project and Outline
In the panel highlight in the red box, you can find voxel models available by default and the ‘Outline’ tab where you can manage the hierarchy of the model.
Next, let’s create a voxel model.
Modelling with Magica Voxel
First off, launch Magica Voxel and display a new Scene.
After getting used to the user interface, press the ‘Document’ icon (New Project) in the top right corner of the screen to create a new voxel model.
Firstly, select ‘Line Mode’, ‘Attach’ and ‘Box Select’. Set ‘Line Mode Option’ to ‘Straight’ and then select one-fifth of the total height from the bottom.
Next, select a green colour from the colour palette and press the ‘Replace Vox Color’ icon.
By clicking the voxels selected earlier, you can paint them at once.
Similarly, paint the rest (i.e. remaining 80% of the height) red.
Next, let’s shape the model.
Select voxels with ‘Box Select’ and press ‘Delete’ key. As shown in the image below, delete each end by 1/3 width.
Now, let’s make the details.
Select ‘Voxel Mode’ and ‘Erase’. Then set ‘Mirror’ to ‘Y’ and ‘Axis’ to ‘X’. As shown in the following screenshot, draw lines to form a triangle.
After drawing a triangle with ‘Mirror’ function, we are going to cut off unnecessary voxels.
Select ‘Face Mode’ and ‘Erase’. Then set ‘Mirror’ to ‘Y’ and ‘Axis’ to ‘X’. You can delete the remaining part at once by selecting it and press the Delete button.
At the final stage of modelling, we paint the model.
Select ‘Voxel Mode’ and ‘Paint’. Then, select colour from a colour palette.
To finish up the modelling, I briefly explain how to apply ‘Rendering’.
Press this button to switch to the ‘Rendering’ screen.
2. Light Editor
You can set up ‘Area Light’, ‘Sky Light’, ‘Fog’ and etc.
3. Matter Editor
This allows you to change the material (Diffuse、Metal、Glass etc.), set up the camera and insert an image. You can also modify the image size when exporting the model.
This starts exporting the rendered image.
If you change parameters too often, it would drain the battery quickly. So, render the model step by step while monitoring the condition.
When the model is completed, export it in a 3D-file format.
In the ‘Export’ menu in the right bottom corner of the screen, select a file format to export. This time we export the model in .obj format.
Specify where to save it and press ‘Save’ to export the model.
Import your model into STYLY
After preparing your 3D model, check the final state by importing it into STYLY.
Login to STYLY and create a VR space. Please refer to the following article to create your STYLY account.
Open the Import screen as shown below (Press ① and then ②).
After uploading the model, click the added model from ‘My Model’.
I found that the model imported to STYLY had its pivot point shifted and had no textures attached. You could adjust the pivot centre and textures in Unity if you want to. It doesn’t make any sense without textures anyway.
That’s all. We now completed the workflow, from ‘creating a model’ to ‘importing it to STYLY’.
How did you find this tutorial? It’s fairly easy to create a voxel model with Magica Voxels. Although it’s free software, its renderer performs very well, generating a beautiful high-quality image. So, please create your original world through trial and error.