MagicaVoxel Turntables to Video on Windows 10/11

2022-03-06

,

I’ve recently been using MagicaVoxel to create voxel art (pixel art but 3D, think Minecraft) and I love it! It’s so simple and it has a lot of power.

MagicaVoxel has a “turntable” export which takes many pictures of your rendered object as it rotates 360 degrees, or whatever you specify. It’s commonly used to make gifs and videos. Getting a video on Windows 11 was a bit tricky at first.

I have WSL setup on my Windows 11 machine, so the code and commands I run are on my Ubuntu OS. However, you don’t need WSL to do this.

This guide on medium pointed me in the right direction. I’ve never used ffmpeg before, it’s commonly used for converting videos from one format to another. It can also convert the turntable images from MagicaVoxel into a video!

The first step is to install ffmpeg via WSL:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

If you’re not using WSL, you can follow the instructions on their homepage to install directly on Windows.

The next step is to change the file names to make it easier for MagicaVoxel. You may not have to do this if you choose an easy file name while exporting, unlike a certain developer… To change the names of all my turntable images in a folder, I ran this script I created:

from os import listdir, rename
from os.path import isfile, join

file_path = '<Turntable Images Path>'
only_files = [f for f in listdir(file_path) if isfile(join(file_path, f))]

for idx, img_file in enumerate(only_files):
  idx_str = str(idx)
  rename(join(file_path, img_file), join(file_path, f'img{idx_str.zfill(3)}.png'))

Now all the files would be like img000.png, img001.png, etc. In your terminal, run the following ffmpeg command:

ffmpeg -r 30 -s 960x800 -i img%03d.png -codec:v mpeg4 -flags:v +qscale -global_quality:v 0 -codec:a libmp3lame nintendoswitch.mp4

For an MP4 on Windows, I was only successful with the mpeg4 codec. I’m no export on ffmpeg by a longshot, but after reading in forums and trying things out - the above command gives me the best video quality.

And that’s all, have fun showing off your work with cool videos!

© 2022 Marcus Sanatan