Friday, October 14, 2016

3D Warehouse and CraftMaster:
Unlocking a wealth of Minecraft-relevant content

Building structures in Minecraft from scratch, block-by-block, can be really fun and fulfilling. It can also be difficult and time-consuming. In some circumstances - for example, a classroom setting with limited time - you may not have the luxury to build complex structures one block at a time. Well, you no longer need to - one of the coolest features of CraftMaster is the ability to import 3D models into your Minecraft worlds. By doing so, you can leverage the creativity and hard work of skilled 3D designers, engineers, and architects from around the world to quickly produce amazing Minecraft content.

CraftMaster can import 3D models in many different data formats - OBJ, COLLADA, and KMZ, to name a few. It can also import 2D images, such as PNG and SVG files - we’ll discuss that in a later blog. In the meantime, just like with 2D images, there are many sites on the Internet where you can find free, downloadable 3D models. A quick search for “free 3D models” on Google will give you a idea of how much content is out there. One of my favorite sites, and a virtual treasure trove of 3D content that is relevant to Minecraft, is SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse.

SketchUp is an easy-to-use 3D modeling tool that allows you to design 3D objects by drawing - much the same way you might sketch out 3D objects using pencil and paper. SketchUp was originally developed by a start-up called @Last software, based in in Boulder Colorado. In 2006, @Last Software was purchased by Google - in large part due to their support for a Google Earth plug-in for SketchUp - and then in 2012 SketchUp was acquired by Trimble Navigation, its current home.

SketchUp © Trimble Navigation
SketchUp is used by architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers. It is also used by universities around the world to teach 3D modeling, design, and architecture. For those tens of millions of people who use SketchUp every year, SketchUp hosts a library of 3D models called 3D Warehouse. It's the most popular 3D content site on the Internet, with over 3 million models, and it's 22 million yearly visitors rack up nearly one billion page views and 230 million downloads annually. Anyone can upload, download, and modify content from 3D Warehouse completely free of charge.

For Minecraft users, what makes 3D Warehouse so compelling is the range and relevance of the content hosted there. Virtually every iconic building, monument, and statue in the world is hosted on 3D Warehouse. In addition, there are vehicles, space ships, animals, and much, much more. And, best of all, access to 3D Warehouse is built right into CraftMaster. To get a sense of the type and range of content available, check out the the CraftMaster demo world video - every structure in this demo world was downloaded from 3D Warehouse, converted and placed into Minecraft using CraftMaster.

Anyone who has attempted to build large complex structures knows it can be a long and painstaking process - it may take hours to get it right. Using CraftMaster, the time is takes to find, download, convert, finish, and place a complex model into a Minecraft world can be as little as a few minutes.

One of my favorite models that I found on 3D Warehouse is the Eiffel Tower - I particularly like the Eiffel Tower designed by a user named Giotis.

3D Warehouse © Trimble Navigation
After downloading the model using CraftMaster, I finished it by first resizing it to 65 blocks tall (on the Y-axis) - thus making it big enough to see all of the detail. Next, I reduced the model to a single color, and then selected Iron Block as the material for the entire model.

With CraftMaster, it’s easy to place the model wherever I want it in a Minecraft world - it’s pretty cool seeing the Eiffel Tower just outside a village.

With millions of models and an unlimited range of possibilities for finishing them using CraftMaster, you can look forward to hours upon hours of exploration and fun. And, your Minecraft worlds will never be the same.

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