How to Install Shaders for Minecraft

Minecraft looks bland. I’ll say it right there. After playing for hours looking at a simple color scheme with no real shadows, no real clouds, or any bit of realistic volume in the atmosphere – I understand your pain. Luckily, there’s a fix!

It’s a mod called Shaders, and it completely transforms your game to look amazing – that is, if you can run it. Not all graphics cards can play with shaders, and every card runs it differently. Macs can’t run it either. Give it a shot and let us know in the comments how it goes.

Without further ado, here’s my tutorial.

Step 1: Prepare for the installation

To install shaders, you must have everything ready so you can begin. First, make sure you have Minecraft 1.9.4 installed (since it’s the current version at the time of writing this article). This can be with or without Forge. After that, you’ll want to install the latest OptiFine version (that now has shader support built in!) and have some shaderpacks downloaded so you can mount them into your game.


Step 2: Installing OptiFine and placing shaders into MC directory

Great job on downloading everything and having Minecraft 1.9.4 installed. It’s now time to install the actual shaders mod and put your shaders into the shaderpacks folder. Wait… is that it? That’s really it… There’s not much more to it. Back in the day, shaders were a huge pain to install and get working. Now, all you have to do is:

  1. Run the OptiFine .jar file and click Install. If you have Forge installed, just drag the .jar into the mods folder.
  2. Go to the OptiFine profile in your Minecraft launcher and open the game.
  3. Place the compressed shader folder into your %appdata%/.minecraft/shaderpacks folder. If the shaderpacks folder does not exist, create it.Let’s hope it’s at a playable framerate.


  1. For convenience, you can remove the OptiFine profile and just change the version of your main one.
  2. I like to rename my shader packs so the names are simpler to read in-game. You can too.

Step 3: Optimize your game

Alright, so you have everything installed and you can play it. Wonderful! Chances are you aren’t running two GTX 1080s in SLI, so you probably will have to tone down some settings if you’re not totally comfortable with your framerate. There are two things you can do (other than upping your RAM and setting your game to high priority). These are 1. changing your launch options, and 2. optimizing the shaders themselves.

  1. Here’s a guide on changing your launch options (since I don’t want to get too technical and make a bulk of this article just explaining them).
  2. Optimizing your shaders is a bit more difficult. It’s like changing advanced settings in any other game, but with manual values and such. You need to have a sense for the raw power of your PC and what certain settings mean.I like to go through each option available and lower it until it looks good enough to not look terrible but also not too far off from the highest setting. I also look up certain settings and experiment with different combinations of them until I finally decide on what works best for me.

Now you’re set to be playing Minecraft in a whole new way. Send us screenshots of your world before and after shaders!

Thanks for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed! Feel free to ask questions in the comments or contact me on social media.

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