Ever seen Minecraft screenshots that look downright gorgeous, and much different from your vanilla version? That is probably down to the many shaders available for Minecraft.

Learn to install shaders and improve the looks of your Minecraft world, below.


What Are Minecraft Shaders?

Minecraft with KUDA shaders.
Screenshot by author (Amir M. Bohlooli)

Minecraft shaders are mods that allow you to improve the looks and aesthetics of your game drastically. Shaders alter the way light and other elements work in Minecraft and make it realistic.

The RTX ON feature for Minecraft does the same thing, though you won't need an RTX GPU to install shaders and enjoy the gorgeous new looks they can offer you.

In order to install shaders, you're going to need to install OptiFine first. OptiFine is another mod that optimizes Minecraft and allows you to customize the visual settings. This will give you better looks, and better FPS.

1. Downloading &Installing OptiFine

OptiFine installation for Minecraft.
Screenshot by author (Amir M. Bohlooli).

You can download OptiFine from their official website. Once you've downloaded the Jar file, you're ready to install it.

  1. Run the OptiFine installation file that you just downloaded. This will open the installation window.
  2. In the opened window, select the installation destination. If you have installed Minecraft in the default directory (Roaming) then don't change anything.
  3. Click on Install.
  4. Wait for the installation to finish. Once the installation is complete, your computer will prompt you with a message saying OptiFine is successfully installed.

Now's time to download shaders.

Related: How to Play Minecraft With Friends

2. Downloading Shaders For Minecraft

There's a wide variety of shaders that you can choose from. In this article, we're going to install KUDA Minecraft shaders. KUDA gives the game a photorealistic look by changing the water, adding wind animation for leaves, and much more. You can download KUDA from their official website.


It's good practice to research the shaders before downloading and installing them. Most realistic shaders require high-end computers to work smoothly. Some shaders such as Chronos are so demanding that they're meant only for screenshots. On the other hand, shaders such as Sildur's Vibrant shaders don't tax your computer any more than the vanilla Minecraft.

3. Installing Shaders With OptiFine

Minecraft launcher.
Screenshot by author (Amir M. Bohlooli)

Finally, it's time to install the shaders. To do this, you'll have to launch Minecraft with OptiFine.

  1. Open the Minecraft Launcher.
  2. From the bottom left, click on Latest Release. This will bring up a list of the Minecraft installations you have on your client.
  3. From the list, select OptiFine.
  4. Click on PLAY.
  5. A warning message will pop up, informing you that you're about to play a modified version of Minecraft. Check I understand the risks and then click Play.
  6. OptiFine will now launch.

Related: How to Install the Full Version of Minecraft on a Linux PC Once you're in the game, go ahead and open a world. Now's the time to install the shaders.

Shader settings in Minecraft OptiFine.
  1. In the game menu, go to Options.
  2. Select Video Settings and then select Shaders.
  3. Click on Shaders Folder. This will take you to a folder in the game installation directory.
  4. Paste the shader file that you downloaded in the previous section, in the Shaders Folder.
  5. Go back to the game. You'll notice that your shader is now on the list.
  6. Click on the shader. In this instance, it's going to be KUDA-Shaders. Your computer might freeze for a bit. Be patient as Minecraft loads up the shader.
  7. Once you're back in the menu, press Done and go back to the game.
  8. Enjoy the fresh looks!

Since you have OptiFine installed, you can also further customize the graphics settings for your Minecraft in the same window where you selected the shader. The (internal) shader is the default OptiFine shader, which slightly improves the looks while improving the performance.


Fifty Shades of Minecraft

Thanks to OptiFine you can access advanced graphics settings for Minecraft. OptiFine improves the overall looks and performance of your game, while also adding support for shaders. Now that you have read this article, you can explore the web and find the shaders you like best, and then easily install them.

New shaders give everything a fresh feeling, so it might not be a bad idea to install some new Minecraft maps and explore them with your shaders.

How to Download and Install Minecraft Maps

Would you like to learn how to install some new Minecraft maps? We'll make it easy.

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