Tutorial - Pixel Art & Structura - AthosCraft (2023)

This Minecraft Bedrock tutorial will cover both the creation and implementation of pixel art in creative mode, and subsequently, the compilation of custom addons to display a visual guide for recreating creative builds in Survival mode

We will make use of the following technologies:

  • “Map Art Maker for Minecraft,” an open-source project on GitHub. This is an online tool that converts your image into a minecraft Addon.
  • Structura“, created by RavinMadHatter, is Bedrock’s version of Litematica, which is heavily used by many Java content creators to quickly recreate Creative-mode builds in Survival worlds.

Map Art Maker

(skip this section)

Step 1: creating the artwork

Remembering, of course, that most publicly searchable artwork is likely to be copyrighted, it is always advisable to create your own artwork, or to make sure artwork is credited to the original creator, when streaming/recording any created pixel art. Any attributable artwork should be annotated in your server’s Content Creators information section, so that anyone who publishes videos has easy access to it.

For creating pixel art maps, your artwork should be square, in order to fit in the middle of a map. A Level 0 map is 128×128 blocks, for reference, but sizing isn’t completely necessary for Map Art Maker.

Step 2: Import the artwork.
Browse to the Map Art Maker for Minecraft website.

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The website provides its own documentation, and is fairly self explanatory.
– click Browse to choose an image on your device to upload, and give it a function name.
– Choose the area for your pixel art. This would usually be 1×1, which is a single level 0 map.
– Customise your block palette. You can specify all blocks, select only dyes (concrete/wool, etc), or remove individual blocks from the palette. This is the set of colours which the tool will use to approximate the colours of your image.
– 3D height variation can be used to add shading to your image, for more colour variations. This can make the artwork considerably more complex for manual translation later, in Survival mode.
– Dithering is a method by which noise is artificially added to an image, to soften the transition between colours. At a distance (or higher resolution), a dithered image can look more natural. Closer up (or lower resolution, this can make the image look too busy, with pixels that don’t make sense to the content of the image. For a 1×1 artwork, I would recommend not using Dithering, despite the tool’s recommendation.

Click Process image to upload and proceed to the next step.

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View the converted image, to see what the map will look like in Minecraft.

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Repeat the process for as many images as you want to add to the pack.

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Then Create the Addon.
Give your Addon a name, and description if you want.
Press “Write Functions” to proceed, then Download the resulting Addon.

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Step 3: Load the addon into MineCraft.

Browse to your downloads folder and open the .mcpack download to import it into MineCraft.

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Create a new Flat world, and add the Behaviour Pack you’ve just imported.

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Once in the new Flat world, grab a locator map from the creative inventory. You will notice that your starting position, 0 -60 0, is in the centre of the map, so navigate over to -64 -60 -64

Once you’re in position, start typing “/function ” and you will see a list of the functions you created on the Map Art Maker tool. It takes two functions per level 0 map, so you will see the list corresponds.

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Complete the command by filling in the first Function name, followed by /1. In this example: “/function A/1”

The first half of the map is generated, and you are automatically teleported to the second location (0 -60 -64) NOTE: There is no teleport necessary if you selected “use the same starting coordinate for all functions”

Repeat the above for the /2 part of your function

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And that is your completed map. Fly around holding your map to fill in the missing parts, and make sure you’re happy.


Step 1: Save the structure.

If you skipped the map making section above, load up the world containing the build you’d like to replicate, and head to the northwest corner of the object. In our example, we’ll continue using the map we created earlier.

From the creative command line, /give @s structure_block

Place a structure block in the northwest corner of the build, and click to open the dialogue box.

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Structures have a maximum size of 64x380x64, but you must remember to take into account the render distance of an armour stand, for that is how we will draw the ghost outline of our structure in Survival; as you approach 64 blocks, the armour stand will de-render, and you will start to lose sight of your ghost.

Choose the Save Mode, and play with the size & offset of your build to get as much of it included as possible. In our example, we will select 64,1,64, with an offset of 0,-1,0 because we placed the structure block on the layer above our map image.

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Choose a name that makes sense to you, press the Export button, and save the file into a folder.

Next, if you’re doing a map, or didn’t get all of your structure in the frame, move along to the edge of the last block, and repeat the process until you’ve exported the whole area.

For our example, this would mean placing structure blocks at -64 -59 -64, 0 -59 -64, -64-59 0, and 0 -59 0.

Step 2: Create Addon

If you haven’t already downloaded Structura, Download the most recent release from GitHub (beta 1.4, at the time of writing), and unzip the contents into a folder on your computer.

Structura is written in Python, and compiled as a standalone application. It does not install anything anywhere else onto your computer, and it runs safely in the user context (no administrator access needed or required).

Open Structura.exe. This will run in a command window, which will then pop-up the user interface.

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Start by enabling Advanced mode. This allows us to assign name tags to the armour stands, so we are not interfering with other armour stands, and so it allows us to load our multiple structures.

Browse for your first mcstructure file, and give it a memorable Name Tag. In our example, I loaded AthosA_TopLeft, and called it A1.

Set your Pack Name to something that will describe your structure to you.

the offset section is where you can adjust the position of your armour stand to remain in render-distance while you cover the whole build. For our 64x1x64 section of the map, decreasing the offset to -16, 0, -16 is enough to keep the stand rendered even in the far corner.

For smaller builds, the default 8,0,7 will usually suffice. Remember of course that any offset below zero will be inside your build as you assemble it.

It may help you to check the “make lists” box, as this will produce a text file containing a list of all required blocks (some variants & colours may end up as a combined total)

Press Add Model to add this entry to the pack.

Repeat this process for each of the .mcstructure files.

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Complete the process by pressing Make Pack.

You will see the output in the command window behind, and moving the GUI window will reveal the progress.

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Once the pack making is complete, you can browse the Structura folder, to see the .mcpack, and associated txt files.

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Open up the .mcpack to import the addon into MineCraft.

Step 3: Loading the pack in your world

Once the pack has successfully imported, navigate into Settings, and Global Resources, then activate your pack.

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If you’re playing on a single player world, you may need to add the Resource Pack to your world in it’s settings.

If your server/realm is running an armour stand resource pack, like the FoxyNoTail’s Combo ArmourStand+ mod, you need to temporarily disable this by removing the cached download of the Resource pack.

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Once you’re in the world, place your armour stand, and tag it with the name you specified in Structura. For our example, we’ll start with A1. For map art, you will need to align your build with the level 0 map.

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The Armour stand will show an opaque image of your design, with blocks that are slightly smaller than real blocks, so once you place the real block, it will be hidden inside.

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Shift+clicking on the armour stand to cycle through the poses will reveal different individual levels of your model, so that you can build one layer at a time.

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Step 4: Build

Place the blocks in the right place, as you see them, cycle the armour stand, and repeat.

Over to you. Enjoy!

– If you’re building a water object, you may want to clear out the water in the area, and replace with structure_voids. These are invisible barriers that will not be saved in the structure file, and will make it easier to see the actual build in Survival.

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