content preview


Making of 'Mana Tree feat. Donkey Kong'

2021 | 04 | 02 | MagicaVoxel

My 1st really complex project addresses a fanart refering to Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana) franchise (by Squaresoft) and Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong Country franchise (by Nintendo). Both SNES titles are my all-time favorite video games so it was logical to make a fanart project in MagicaVoxel. From the beginning it was a challenging project because of its scale (ca.1000 voxels in height), the complexity of the tree model and the fact that I didn't want to use shaders for importing obj files.

I developed several unique workflow techniques in MagicaVoxel during the evolution of this project like ...

1. precisely placing and arranging hand-made grass on complex base topology like rocks and free form voxel surfaces,

2. managing to animate floating grass (which was a side product of the 1st technique),

3. managing to model corroding objects (e.g. the corroding rocks),

4. managing to model complex foliage while using smart patterns.

Considering my actual knowledge, modeling and assembling this scene from scratch would accompany with 3h (including Moi3D and Photoshop part) + 15 mins of rendering.

My favorite version of this scene. It is not 100% finished thus an update will be released in the future.


To achieve an organic, snake-like structure I modeled the base structure of the tree in Moi3D. Then I exported the tree as obj file and imported last named to MagicaVoxel software.


After texturing the tree I modeled 5 basic rock shapes in MagicaVoxel and distributed the rocks between the roots.


Early experiment with manually generated grass.


1st version of "Mana Tree". A side product of this project was a technique that I developed to animated grass in MagicaVoxel. I made a tutorial for this ... » Animated grass with MagicaVoxel.


Adding flamingos to the scene.


... and the iconic rabite from the Secret of Mana IP.


Relaunch of this scene with a different focus.


Mana Tree feat. Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong Country IP. I modeled Donkey Kong by hand because obj import considering this scale results in bad character design. Here I also applied an alternative technique for foliage.


2nd version of this scene. I added more mushrooms, additional flowers and made an experiment with fluffy clouds.


Different view while using a HDRI background image that I made in Photoshop.