10-Best-Shaders-for-Minecraft-1.18 (1)

10 Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18

The Minecraft 1.18 update is taking over the internet and only for all the right reasons. It has new terrain generation, beautiful biomes, and the most scenic worlds among all the versions of Minecraft. And the users on Bedrock edition can take the graphics to a new level with RTX for Minecraft. Unfortunately, Java users can’t use RTX or similar technology with their games. But worry not, as we have the right solution. Just like mods, Java edition exclusively supports shaders for Minecraft 1.18, and many of them can even compete with the RTX upgrade for the Bedrock Edition. And before you fear for your FPS, some of these shaders listed below are also designed to improve your performance. Irrespective of your specs, there’s something for everyone among our curated list of best shaders for Minecraft 1.18. So, if you are ready to experience next-gen graphics on your Minecraft, let’s get started.

Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18 (January 2022)

Shaders in Minecraft are used to render realistic graphics. Once activated, the shaders take over the rendering of water, environment, lights, and other graphical elements in this game. You can find technical details about the same online, but, in the simplest terms, shaders generate in-game graphics with separate, usually better, properties than the default in-game settings.

How to Install Shaders in Minecraft 1.18

You can only use shaders after you install OptiFine in Minecraft 1.18. OptiFine is a mod that gives total graphical access to the players, and in our case, allows them to use shaders in the game. Do keep in mind that it is also exclusive to the Java edition of this sandbox game, like most other Minecraft mods. Once you have installed OptiFine, installing shaders is easy.

1. To begin, open the shaderpacks folder in your Minecraft directory. For quick access, paste this address in the File Explorer’s address bar – %appdata%\.minecraft\shaderpacks. You can also paste it directly into the Run window that you can access using the Windows keyboard shortcut (Win + R). If the folder doesn’t exist for some reason, you can create a new folder and name it “shaderpacks”.

(Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18)

2. Then, you need to download and copy shaders into this folder. We have provided download links for each shader, along with a brief description and screenshots showcasing the visual changes down below. You can use them to download the .zip files for the shader, which you can then copy (Ctrl + C) and paste (Ctrl + V) into the shaderpacks folder.

Shderpacks in Minecraft Folder

How to Enable Shaders in Minecraft 1.18

After you are done copy-pasting the shaders ZIP files in the Minecraft directory, it’s time to install them. For that, you need to run the game on your PC and follow the steps below:

1. From the game’s home page, move to “Options -> Video Settings“. With OptiFine installed, you will see a lot more options here than usual.

(Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18)

2. From the video settings page, click on the “Shaders” option. It’s present on the bottom left side of the settings page.

Shaders option in MC (Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18)

3. Finally, select the shader pack you want to activate from the list by clicking on it. You don’t have to change any of the settings on the right pane if you are unsure about their impact. Click “Done” after selecting the shader pack to exit. And voila! That’s how you use shaders in the Minecraft 1.18 update.

Activate Shaders in MC (Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18)

List of Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18

Now that you know how to install shaders in this sandbox game, let’s focus on the best shaders that Minecraft 1.18 supports. We have tested each of these shaders on Minecraft 1.18.1 and included daytime + nighttime screenshots to give you a better idea of their impact on in-game graphics. With that said, let’s dive in:

1. Project LUMA

Our first shader wasn’t originally designed for the Minecraft 1.18 update, but it fits right in. That’s because instead of individual blocks, it depends upon the light properties. That means you can add new blocks with default light properties to the game, and the shader will adjust to them automatically. Because of this property, you can use the LUMA shader, made for 1.14, on the latest 1.18 update too. But worry not, this is the only and the best non-updated shader on our list.

No shaders at DayLUMA shader during Day

One of the first things you can notice with shader is transparency. From portals to water, this shader lets the light pass through transparent and translucent objects. It adds a realistic and interactive aesthetic to the Minecraft world. Following the same route are the in-game shaders that correctly bend themselves as well as adjust their sharpness depending upon the light source. Finally, this shader reduces all light to a minimum when a proper source is not present.

No shaders at NightLUMA shader during Night

The absence of light is even more clear during nighttime. Minecraft sometimes feels like a horror game at night when using this shader. But there are some added benefits to that too. First of all, you can notice villages and lava sources from a huge distance. And once you get close to the light source, you will see how the light’s color is reflected upon every surface it touches. Finally, the only drawback of this shader is that it doesn’t function well with many of the newer mods.

Download Project LUMA

2. BSL Shaders

Among all the go-to shaders, BSL was one of the first ones to get an update for the Minecraft 1.18 caves and cliffs Part 2 update. It’s unique in the way it handles all the environments in the game. You don’t only feel the lighting, materials, and shadows to be more realistic, but it also makes the air realistic. The Minecraft atmosphere gets air particles that you can’t see, but their interaction makes the light look more real.

No shaders at DayBSL shaders at Day

Similar to how morning mist interacts with sunshine during the daytime, you can witness light scattering in this shader. The one thing it can do better is how the water is rendered. Instead of making it transparent, the shader tries to add some depth to the water bodies. This effect feels believable at many locations, but it makes the water look dark at certain times.

No shaders at NightBSL shaders at Night

Things take more drastic turns when the night rolls around. You can still see even the tiniest bits of lights, but all of them are blurred. On top of it, the atmospheric particles make it feel like there is a layer of fog on top of our Minecraft world. The resulting effect is dark but realistic, but you will have to be more attentive to notice mobs at night with BSL enabled.

Download BSL Shaders

3. MakeUp – Ultra Fast Shaders

As the name suggests, this is one of the best shaders for Minecraft 1.18, even for low-end PCs. Other than making the world look better, this shader pack’s focus is to keep your FPS high. So, if you want a shader that is reliable but not demanding, MakeUp shaders are the ones that you should choose. But don’t dismiss it as a low-quality shader yet. As you will see in the screenshots below, it can generate worlds that can be subjectively better than many other shaders.

No shaders at DayMakeUp shaders during Day

The shader makes the world bright and vibrant during the day. You can almost feel its welcoming effect in the most colorful Minecraft biomes. You can even choose custom color schemes in the shader to customize it. Similar to BSL, even this shader is yet to master its water rendering. The water in this shader is highly transparent. The transparency looks amazing when you are close by, but it can turn the water invisible at a distance. And this becomes even more apparent during the night.

No shaders at NightMakeUp shaders at Night

Extra dark nights are a constant theme among many shaders. But this takes it to a bit extreme by eliminating light entirely from unlit areas. It means that if the forest is deep enough, even the moonlight won’t reach its surface. Now, horror fans like me will appreciate this dark Minecraft world. Though, surviving in it might be an issue.

Download MakeUp Shaders

4. DrDestens Shaders

If you have played other video games or know anything about computer graphics, you might know how impactful shadows can be. From a visual point of view, they add depth and details to your digital world. But from a technical viewpoint, they demand high graphical power because of constantly changing light sources. This shader primarily focuses on the technical weight of shadows.

No shaders at DayDrDestens Shaders during Day

So, with graphics and performance in mind, we get a Minecraft world without shadows. And because this shader is so well executed, you won’t even miss them for the most part. During the daytime, the world is foggy if you look at distant objects. This effect also plays a role in creating the Tyndall effect, which is the scattering of sunlight when it passes through cloth or leaves. Overall, the only negative part of the missing shadows is visible in water that looks more like transparent glue.

No shaders at NightDrDestens Shaders during Night

This shader’s nights are easily the most survival-friendly among all the best shaders for Minecraft 1.18. The dark areas are not too dark, and a lack of shadows makes it easier for light to reach more places. At times, the lava does feel too bright, but you can choose to tone it down in the settings.

Download DrDestens Shaders

5. AstraLex Shaders

If you enjoyed the BSL shaders but wanted to push them to their limits, AstraLex is here for you. It takes the BSL shaders as a base and pumps out the best graphics possible. Now, do keep in mind that this shader isn’t exactly performance-friendly. So, if you are on a low or mid-range PC, this shader pack isn’t made for you. At least, not with all its settings activated.

No shaders at DayAstraLex Shaders during Day

The most prominent detail of this Minecraft 1.18 shader is the sky. But let’s leave it for the nighttime. During the day, it provides us with a welcoming merging world. You can see the colors and biomes blend very well. The lighting and shadows are also spot on. And for a change, I have no complaints about the water in a shader. Not to forget, it also reflects the rainbow that sometimes forms after rain.

No shaders at NightAstraLex Shaders during Night

The nights in this shader are wild, and you are going to love it if you are into sci-fi movies or astronomy. We have a planet-sized moon, constellations, shooting stars, and even auroras. And all of them are in on a single night sky. If you look for it, you can even find a galaxy with a black hole using this shader. As for the lighting and shadows, the night is just dark enough, making it perfect for survival and aesthetics.

Download AstraLex Shaders

6. YoFPS – Best Low-end Shaders for Minecraft 1.18

As the name suggests, our next entry is a shader created for the lowest-end PCs. If you want maximum FPS using shaders in Minecraft 1.18, this is the most reliable solution. Having said that, the world it creates might not live up to everyone’s tastes. However, it still comes across as a worthy upgrade from the regular vanilla Minecraft world.

No shaders at DayYoFPS Shaders during Day

During the day, you can notice a vibrant world. Not much is different in terms of water, reflections, and shadows. But you can see subtle improvements, in contrast, light scattering and even some wind-based movement of plants. Another detail you can notice is a layer of fog on all distant objects. Also, the different shadows are mostly indistinguishable. These effects lower the graphical implications of this shader.

No shaders at NightYoFPS Shaders during Night

The nights with shader are calm and perfectly lit. They are on the darker side, but a torch is enough to help you stay on track. You can also notice the distant fog effect during the night, however, it is toned down. It’s probably because the details on textures are blackened out at night, saving extra resources. Moreover, just like the day sky, the night sky is mostly empty, except for the moon and almost non-existent stars.

Download YoFPS Shader

7. Stereo’s Default+ Shader

One way to increase performance with Minecraft 1.18 shaders is by reducing all the graphics quality. But that’s common. However, another way involves only activating selective good things you want from a shader. That’s what this Minecraft 1.18 shader does. It only provides you with a handful of graphical features that are already popular among the players.

Without Shaders during DayStereo’s Default+ Shaders during Day

The shader pack provides us with waving liquid, better lighting, and softer shadows. There’s no heavy change in terms of water or the world textures. For most of the other shaders in this list, the nether dimension is either too dark or too bright. But this particular shader is one of the best shaders to explore the Nether dimension in Minecraft 1.18. It also has fire particles everywhere in the nether, creating a breathtaking view.

10 Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18Stereo’s Default+ Shaders during Night

As for the nighttime, not much changes with this shader. The only major difference here is the extra bright light sources, which can come in handy during survival gameplay. Another subtle change you can notice is that water reflects the brightness of the light source. You can not see any reflection in the water, but if the light source is bright enough, the water’s color also lightens around it.

Download Stereo’s Default+ Shader

8. Beyond Belief Shaders

This shader lives up to its name. Once activated, the game changes beyond belief. From lighting to the environment, Minecraft feels like a completely new experience. It follows the same plan as many of the other shaders, but still somehow stands out in execution. Well, at least for the most part.

Without Shaders during DayBeyond Belief Shaders during Day

The days with this Minecraft 1.18 shader feel like a warm summer. You can witness soft shadows and a well-lit vibrant world. Unlike other shaders, there is a lack of movement in liquid-like substances. But it makes up for it through properly executed water. However, keep in mind that you need to avoid looking directly at the extra-bright sun or the sky around it.

10 Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18Beyond Belief Shaders during Night

In contrast to the daytime, the nights have a tone of winter attached to them. The dark areas are extra dim, especially in caves and forests. But that allows you to seek light sources from a huge distance. They also have a sense of calm attached to them. That’s not all, though. The best part of this shader is the detailed weather, whose effects change how the world feels entirely.

Download Beyond Belief Shaders

9. Acid – Best Effect-Based Shaders for Minecraft 1.18

Some shaders improve your graphics, while others improve performance, and then there is a shader that sends you on an acid trip. Yeah, you read it right. Consider yourself warned when we say this shader makes your Minecraft world trippy. Similar to the ending of the movie Interstellar, Minecraft’s world gets wrapped in a circular plain.

Without Shaders during DayAcid Shaders during Day

There are some subtle light improvements too. But nothing drastic. So, if you install this shader, only do it to experience unique gameplay. Though, we would suggest against playing it for too long. It isn’t created for survival gameplay or prolonged usage. Keeping that in mind, you should limit yourself while experiencing it.

Download Acid Shaders

10. SEUS Shaders

Our closing entry for the best shaders for Minecraft 1.18 list is a resource-heavy one. If you count its complimentary resource packs, it aims to replace the pixelated world of Minecraft altogether. Even though the shader in itself is complete, we would suggest you install it alongside the Vanillaccurate or similar resource pack. And as mentioned earlier, this shader pack is resource-heavy, so make sure your PC can handle what it has to offer.

Without Shaders during DaySEUS Shaders during Day

During the day, the world is filled with reflective surfaces, from obsidian blocks to ice and water. You can also see metallic finishes everywhere. And most of them look surprisingly good. Also, it’s easy to witness everything interacting with each other through light and reflections using this shader. As for the liquids like water, their transparency can possibly be an issue depending upon the blocks and the environment. At times, I could witness reflections of lava in the water, even though it was at least 2 dozen blocks away.

10 Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18SEUS Shaders during Night

The nights with this shader feel more haunting than anything else on this list. There are areas with total darkness as well, but they still feel accurately lit when you consider the environment. The same stays true for the caves, which you can jump into with our best dripstone caves seeds and best lush caves seeds in Minecraft 1.18.

There is no light source that is too bright other than lava. But the major downside to this, other than hostile mobs, is invisible water and hard-to-find villages. With a dimly lit torch, this shader wants to sleep and not wander in the night.

Download SEUS Shaders

Download the Best Shaders for Minecraft 1.18 Right Now!

Whether it’s to improve your gameplay experience or the prettier screenshots, these Minecraft 1.18 shaders have you covered. You can pick any of these best shaders for Minecraft 1.18 and expect better results than the vanilla gameplay. For the ones wondering, the location in our screenshots is part of the best Minecraft 1.18 seeds for Java edition. But if you want more similar or maybe even better mountains, you can try the best mountain seeds for Minecraft 1.18 instead. Coming back to the shaders, you can even run them on Minecraft for Chromebooks. So, these next-gen graphics doesn’t have to be limited to PC or console users. With that said, don’t wait for another moment and download these best Minecraft 1.18 shaders today. And don’t forget to share any other shaders you use with us in the comments section.

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