• Alex

Ask Voxel Fox: How Big is Too Big?

I frequently see or am asked questions about MagicaVoxel and how I create my artwork. I thought this blog is the perfect place to share my answers. Feel free to leave questions in the comments or email me and let me know if it’s okay to use your name.

 
Hi Alex, I have a question about size. What's the right size or level of detail for a building? I've seen your hospital door is 81 voxels high, which would make my three story building 700 voxels tall! What's your recommendation? Also, should I develop every single floor as separate objects with high detail and compose them in the World Editor? Thank you! -Luis
 

Hi Luis,


Doing high detail buildings with a large scale like what I’ve done is a lot of work. If you’re just starting with MagicaVoxel, you may want to start out with smaller stuff and work your way up till you find a comfortable level of detail. "1 cubic inch = 1 voxel" gives you a lot of detail to refine your shapes, but takes exponentially longer to build than smaller scales.


A lot of artists don’t even use a defined “scale” if their work is more cartoony or LEGO-like. They just see what looks good and expand from there. I’m specifically making my assets to be for games that involve a close view, so the detail is needed.


The best way to start is to think about what 1 voxel will be enough to describe and work your way up. 1 voxel could be a grain of sand, a pebble, someone's head, a car, or a whole asteroid! What you want that 1 voxel to do may vary from project to project. If you want to make a whole beach and boardwalk scene, a pebble might make the whole scene too big.


If you feel up for the challenge, I say go for it! Just don’t get discouraged if it feels overwhelming, you can always revisit your work later If you need to take a break and make something smaller.

As for workflow between the model and world editors, I mostly work in a 126^3 space, and build everything together until I need more room and add another empty volume to expand. This makes it easier to see how things fit and lay on top of each other And works with my own modeling techniques.


When separating out assets for animation, games, or pattern tool use, I select individual parts, cut, and then paste them while in the world editor. This automatically makes a new object volume for the pasted piece to go into. Then I edit that object and click the “Fit” button to shrink the boundaries to the correct size.


However, I’m only breaking these parts up because I plan on them being used in a variety of ways. If you don’t intend to use the objects as separate pieces, I wouldn’t waste the time splitting them up. It can be very time consuming and confusing.


However, I typically I make walls, floors, and ceilings all the way around a room like my kitchen or office sets. I put these wall objects on a separate layer to quickly hide them or let light in for renders. This can make controlling the camera around your objects a lot less frustrating.


I look forward to seeing your buildings!

-Alex

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