MagicaVoxel is a free lightweight 8-bit voxel art editor and interactive path tracing renderer [win/mac].
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No cost, subscription, or license, even for commercial use.
Pro Very easy to use
MagicaVoxel has sane defaults and an intuitive interface. You add or remove voxels with the left-click and rotate the camera with the right-click. The interface does not overwhelm or get in the way, yet it keeps all functionality within easy reach.
Very helpful for beginners is the fact that hovering with the mouse over a tool shows hints on how to use the tool. The hints can be found at the bottom of the interface.
Pro Actively developed
MagicaVoxel is constantly being developed with new releases bringing bug fixes and new features being released on a constant basis.
Pro Has isometric view mode
Has an isometric view mode for people who are doing isometric drawings.
Pro Excellent rendering mode
Raytracing, GI, AO, and configurable PBR, all GPU accelerated.
Pro Great workflow
Bake possibility, easy to create a custom palette. Not even in version 1.0 and it's already great.
Pro Realtime render
The viewport renders the objects in real time. Changes made to lighting and materials (such as reflectivity, opacity, etc) are instantly shown on the screen with minimal to no delay. The renderer also allows adjusting things like FOV.
Pro Keyboard shortcut cheat sheet is available
A list of all keyboard shortcuts organized by category is available on the website.
Pro Imports and exports as .obj
Pro Large build size
Now supports up to 2048^3 voxels.
Pro Object Trees
Now has a “world” and “object” mode, objects can be grouped together and organized, multiple layers to organize, hide, and reveal, and objects can be copied as a “reference” so any changes to one will affect the others.
Pro Shader language to generate voxels
Con No Linux
Works only on Mac OS and Windows.
Con Small sizes
The maximum dimensions for one voxel is 126 x 126 x 126 (since May 2020 it is 256 x 256 x 256). To put this into perspective, the kvx format (an older format by ken silverman used in games like blood, shadow warrior, and ZDooM-based ports) has maximum dimensions of 256x256x255. while newer versions of magicavoxel include a world editor (in which multiple voxels can be arranged into a set), each voxel is exported separately.
Con No support/help
There is no clear way to get help, though you might be able to reach out to the dev via Twitter, also github should be easy to manage.
Con No command line options
Without command line options, it's not possible to automate rendering at all. If you have hundreds of models (to make an animation for example), you have to render all of them manually. Plus, you cannot even open .vox file by doubleclicking it!
Con Bad model mesh exporting
For video game development, it's needed to rearrange some of the vertices, builds triangles per color, instead of one big mesh. It's tedious to solve but gives overall nice results.
Con Hard to change camera
The camera options don't have 2d view. Plus, the pers camera option is too hard to use when creating rooms.