Using Mineways to Export Minecraft Worlds to Blender and 3D Printers

Minecraft, the iconic sandbox game, has been a platform for creativity and learning since its inception. But did you know that you can take your Minecraft creations to the next level by exporting them into Blender and other professional 3D computer graphics programs? This is where Mineways comes into play.

Mineways (which you can download here) is a free, open-source program that allows you to export Minecraft worlds for use in 3D graphics applications like Blender or to send to 3D printers. This process not only adds a new dimension to your Minecraft experience but also provides a fun and educational journey into the world of 3D modeling and printing.

Using Mineways to Load Minecraft Worlds

The first step here is to load your Minecraft world into Mineways. After installing and launching Mineways (which, again, you can grab here), navigate to ‘File’ and then ‘Open World.’ From there, you can select your Minecraft world from the list of saved games. If you’re looking for new worlds to explore, sites like Planet Minecraft offer a vast array of user-created worlds available for download.

Once your world is loaded, you can use the left mouse button to move about your world’s map, and the right button to select the area you want to export. I recommend selecting a very small portion of your map to start with, and then increasing the size of your selection as you become familiar with how Mineways works.

Mineways’ rudimentary user interface belies an enormously powerful set of tools

Exporting Minecraft Worlds for Use in Blender

After selecting your desired area, navigate to ‘File’ and then ‘Export for Rendering.’ This will create an .obj file that can be imported into Blender. Mineways includes several texture files that you can use when exporting your .obj file, giving you the flexibility to maintain the look and feel of your Minecraft world in Blender. Alternatively, you can use your own textures for a more personalized touch.

Rockefeller Plaza (schematic by Planet Minecraft user BasVerhagen) exported from Mineways and rendered in Blender

Fun and Educational

Exporting Minecraft worlds into Blender opens up a world of possibilities. You can render high-quality images, create a short film (by animating Blender’s cameras), or even prepare your model for importing into a game engine like Unreal Engine or Unity. This process is not only fun but also educational – it provides a hands-on experience with 3D modeling and graphics, enhancing your understanding of spatial thinking, design principles, and digital artistry.

Imagine holding your Minecraft creations in your hands!

But the fun doesn’t stop with Blender. With Mineways, you can also export your Minecraft creations for 3D printing. Simply select your area as before, but this time navigate to ‘File’ and then ‘Export for 3D Printing.’ This will create a .stl or .obj file that can be used with most 3D printers. Imagine holding your Minecraft creations in your hands!

NVIDIA Omniverse

Mineways is also compatible with NVIDIA Omniverse, a dynamic and collaborative platform that integrates various NVIDIA tools and content. This compatibility is highlighted by Mineways’ streamlined ability to export creations to Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) file format.

For those unfamiliar with the USD file format, it’s poised to become a significant term in the industry. USD serves as the foundational technology for both NVIDIA Omniverse and NVIDIA’s RTX ray tracing technology. This integration allows users to export models complete with material and texture files directly to Pixar’s USD format, which can then be read seamlessly into Omniverse. What sets this format apart is that the model remains human-readable, facilitating easy examination and editing.

The importance of USD is further underscored by a recent announcement from industry giants Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and NVIDIA. Together with the Joint Development Foundation (JDF) of the Linux Foundation, they launched the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD) on August 1, 2023. This alliance aims to “promote the standardization, development, evolution, and growth” of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description technology, reflecting a shared commitment to innovation and collaboration in the field.

In conclusion, Mineways provides a bridge between the worlds of Minecraft, 3D graphics, and 3D printing. It allows you to explore your creativity in new and exciting ways, all while providing a fun and educational experience. Whether you’re a Minecraft enthusiast, an aspiring 3D artist, or just someone looking for a new creative outlet, give Mineways a try. The only limit is your imagination!