Minecraft / Blogs

Biomes: Controlling Color

Contest Finalist!
This Blog is in the Minetorials : Tutorials with a Minecraft Theme which is now Complete!
See the Final Leaderboard!

  • 166
  • 69
  • comment95
  • playlist_add
  • share
  • more_horiz
avatar Cpt. Corn
Level 87 : Elite Deity
To my fellow texture packers and ambitious Minecraft players, to whom I would like to dedicate all of my research to, so that you may be able to shape your world beyond the block, this informative tutorial is for you. ;)

But first of all, allow me to say: WELCOME! ^_^

Much of the Minecraft experience has involved a collective diversity of biomes - Jungle, Tundra, Desert, Swampland, and so on... Biomes have given the game greater depth and a refined sense of exploration and adventure. However, all of these biomes, though uniquely distinct in their technical representation, are affected by color all the same way; excluding some exceptions, such as the purple color overlay within the Swampland biome, but I'll get to that later. In this tutorial, I will show you how biome colors work and how you can change them...

How Biome Colors Used to Work:

The Minecraft Wiki offers some information as to how biomes are represented, but not the full story, not to the extent as to how they are represented on a texture-based level and the history behind it.

Before Minecraft Beta 1.8, biomes were believed to work upon a system that determined the biome and it's biome color within certain coordinates, rainfall and temperature.


While biomes were created automatically as the world generated, the biome color, however, was determined by two .png files located in the "misc" folder: grasscolor.png and foliagecolor.png. Respectively, one file represents grass color while the other represents the tree leaves color.


Given this, these texture files offered a gradience of colors that blended respectfully across the Minecraft landscape. Potentially, one can change the color of these files to create their own unique collection of seasons or other themes, and to that extent, can apply noise to these files so that the biome colors can be noisy in their own way, thus, making the biome more diverse!

Unfortunately, all of this potential can no longer be utilized. The screenshot that is displayed at the top of this topic, with its smooth swash of color, from Savannah to Rainforest, was actually taken before Beta 1.8 was released. Many texture artists, namely ExtraNoise, author of the Quandary Texture Pack, created seasons with an astounding proficiency, but then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked! but then the change brought with the new biomes of Beta 1.8 uprooted this potential, for some reason, and reduced it into very simple system.

How Biome Colors Actually Work:

As it turns out, after much research, biomes have been reduced to the simplest of representations, only a handful of pixels dictate the color of these biomes:


These white dots you see are the single pixels that represent specific biome colors (it sure wasn't easy for me to find them, if you can imagine). There are, in fact, 10 biomes according to the wiki. But, in actuality, there are only 9 options of color that can be diagnosed to the 10 individual biomes, specific to the landscape, excluding the color option that is only apparent for the Creative Mode grass block color and oak tree leaves block color, as that is not really a biome. The two biomes, Tundra (Ice Plains) and Taiga, actually have one color option, or pixel, that dictates their grass and foliage color.


Some of these biome color options, apply to grass/foliage color outside of what would normally be generated in the Minecraft world, as there are other color options that exist that might not be present in the image above. These pixels include the Nether, The End, and are not limited to server-specific biomes and/or mods.

Now, you may have noticed that the Swamplands are darker than most biomes, and this is due to the fact that there is a purple color overlay that affects the original chosen color. As I have tested, when the color chosen is white in the texture file, with a plain, white grass texture, the color resulting from the color overlay yields the color code: a383a3 (light purple). When the color is black with the same plain, white grass texture, the resulting color code is: 260726 (dark purple).

While there are plenty of grass and foliage textures that can be controlled by the biome wheels, the color of the tree leaves from both birch trees and pine trees are unaffected by the biome wheel entirely! Instead, they have a color overlay that will yield green regardless of the biome color.

How to Change the Biome Colors:

Step 0: Where are we? What are the limits?

There are two factors that come into play when controlling biome color:
1.) Grass and side grass terrain textures as well as tree leaves textures found in the texture file: terrain.png
2.) Biome wheels: grasscolor.png and foliagecolor.png

The limits:
1.) The foliagecolor.png follows the same format as the grasscolor.png, so texturing the upper-right triangle is unnecessary.
2.) Swampland can be affected by the biome wheel, but keep in mind that there is a purple color overlay.
3.) Birch and pine tree leaves are unaffected by the biome wheel, as they have a distinct green color overlay for each tree type, but can be influenced by the terrain textures to a certain degree.

Step 1: Getting Started!

Now, if you haven't textured before, I would recommend that you install GIMP or another decent image manipulation program of your choosing before accessing all the files necessary in order to change the biomes.

From here, open up your Minecraft like you normally would:
>Select "Texture Packs" from the main menu.
>"Open texture pack folder"

A window will pop up with the navigation chain: ...AppdataRoaming.minecrafttexturepacks
>Go back from the "texturepacks" folder to the ".minecraft" folder.
>Open the "bin" folder.
>Open the "minecraft" folder and copy all of the files that are located inside.
>Navigate your way back to the "texturepacks" folder and paste the aforementioned files.

There are a lot of files that will be present, but only some of them are texture files that you will need if you are to change the biome colors. Should you want to make a texture pack, you may want to keep the following files:

However, if you only plan on changing biome colors, then all you will need to keep is the "misc" folder and terrain.png.

Step 2: Making a Change.

Before you begin altering the biome color files, keep in mind that the terrain.png has a few textures that you may not be able to control the same way as other textures. Having acknowledged Step 0, the example is as follows:


The textures highlighted in red are all biome-related textures; the textures with yellow highlights indicate that they are unaffected by the biome wheel, with an exception to oak leaves, by which have the same texture as birch leaves. If desired, you can choose to lighten, darken, or colorize these textures so that they can inherit some of these changes, despite the color overlay.

Whether or not you choose to change the textures in the terrain, controlling the colors in the biome wheels are far more essential.

However way you go about coloring the grasscolor.png or foliagecolor.png, the same system applies - biome colors are determined by the color of a specific pixel, not by a gradiance of color like it used to be.


If you would like to see if my research is really true, then copy the image and paste it in your own texture files to find out for yourself. But like I said before, some biome colors like grass and foliage in the Nether, The End, or server-specific biomes may look black or gray when using this file. Other than that, I can guarantee you my data has spot-on accuracy.

Step 3: Wrapping it Up.

Of course, there would be no way of viewing your new seasonal colors and/or themed biomes without zipping them up into the proper archive.

To do this, you must right-click your window within the "texturepacks" folder and select a New > ZIP archive. Once established, give it a name if you like and drag your files into the ZIP archive. Your files will automatically be copy-and-pasted inside.

NOTE: If you are making frequent edits to your content, I would recommend placing a shortcut on your desktop, trust me. ;)

Load up your Minecraft, select your texture pack, and enjoy! That's about it... unless you want to take it to the next level! ;D

Step 4: The Next Level.

Texture Packs. Yea...

There's plenty of tutorials out there that can teach you how to become a proper texture packer. However, becoming a texture artist is something that requires much patience, a yearning to learn and improve, a willingness to try out new techniques and tools, and, most of all, a passion in doing it all - having fun is the most important part in texture packing! ^_^

Comments : 95

star Login or register to post a comment.

Show Comments

1 - 50 of 95

  • Hakno
  • Level 50
  • Grandmaster Meme
  • August 1, 2017, 2:15 pm
The example in this is wrong, here's the correct example
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 1, 2017, 4:03 pm
Don't you realize this thing is old and not updated?
  • Hakno
  • Level 50
  • Grandmaster Meme
  • August 1, 2017, 7:28 pm
Well, I do, since it was literally the thing I pointed out in my comment
  • RichardMcKee
  • Level 4
  • Apprentice Explorer
  • July 3, 2018, 7:22 pm
The link is now broken
  • Crescendo
  • Level 75
  • Legendary Witch
  • July 10, 2017, 5:43 am
Thank you for this
  • Darastlix
  • Level 69
  • High Grandmaster Terraformer
  • October 26, 2014, 11:34 am
Is there any 1.7 guide somewhere?
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • December 5, 2014, 12:09 pm
Nope, because this thing never got updated
  • (AVE(N)GER)
  • Level 56
  • Grandmaster Pirate
  • October 27, 2013, 12:34 am
Also in 1.7.2 the jungle biome has moved .. im not sure how far.. and also not sure if any other biomes have either.. what i do know is that all biomes now use colors around that one dot that we/you used to use..
what about the in the 1.7 snapshots? there are many more biomes and as far as I nobody knows the new biome colors work.
I am not annoyed about where these pixels lie, rather that Mojang decided to hard-code those select few colors... I will be sure to refer to this guide while making my own packs, thanks very much for posting it.
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • October 6, 2013, 3:28 pm
Aye, I would agree with you. If I did emphasize on the "where," then I'd like to change that... if you could tell me where I say so.

I'm currently making an article that will address this issue as one of many many things that Mojang needs to fix.
The explanation of which pixels on the color maps actually mean anything, or has that changed?

Yes...emphasis on "MANY"
Would you like a PM consisting of some ideas?
  • Cyber-Sama
  • Level 45
  • Master Artist
  • August 3, 2013, 8:45 pm
A diamond for yew, good sir!
Hi there, I was wondering if I can put two or more different colors (not different shades of one color) on one leaf block. And if so, how? Thanks in advance.
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • July 6, 2013, 12:31 am
I'm not sure what you mean...

There is a way you can put multiple colors on one block by changing the texture, but the green color overlay will probably mask that other color to the extent that it hardly looks like what you intended it to be.
That's exactly what I'm talking about... Sorry if I was unclear. So, is there any way around that? The green mask I mean.
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • July 6, 2013, 2:38 am
Yea, there is. But if you want to know how, you will need to take a deep look at [this] pack, because that pack can show you what you need to do in order to really change the biome colors. Wish I'd update my blog on that.
Thanks for the recommendation. My research continues!
  • AeliosZero
  • Level 32
  • Artisan Architect
  • May 24, 2013, 8:54 pm
Ponies! :D /)
  • Soft-Serve
  • Level 1
  • New Crafter
  • January 3, 2013, 6:12 pm
I have a question regarding the biome coloring of Oak/Birch leaves. I'm trying to make my oak leaves pink flowers instead of green leaves, but I'm having a bit of a problem because the birch trees use the same texture but with the other green overlay, as you noticed, which results in an ugly brown color. I sort of solved this by making the leaf/flower texture greyscale and the foliage colors pink (although that resulted in loosing the yellow center of the flowers; I can live with that.) but it would seem the birch tree takes the original texture, puts the biome coloring over that, THEN adds the birch green overlay, resulting in still nasty greenpink bluh. It's driving me nuts! (Why they don't just make a separate texture for the stupid birch leaves is beyond me, but I digress.)

Any thoughts on how this problem could be solved?
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • January 3, 2013, 10:45 pm
Yea, I once tried to make the biomes into a seasonal Fall color scheme, by making the birch leaves yellow and the oak leaves in varying Fall colors, but I ended up with an ugly leaf color with the birch tree, and eventually gave up because the green color overlay was just too dominant for the colors to mix properly. (Perhaps the game developers are more focused on other development issues and ideas than biome color gradience and functionality.)

You can probably fix this problem by making birch trees your number 1 enemy, or you could send me the textures you are trying to use and I can fix the problem up myself because this issue might be worth looking into.
  • Soft-Serve
  • Level 1
  • New Crafter
  • January 4, 2013, 12:51 pm
Thanks for the fast response! Birch trees are already pretty much my Public Enemy No. 1, but it would be awesome if you could give the textures a shot. Is there a way of sending files on here or is there another way I should send them to you? (Sorry, a bit new to the site!)
  • Mathias1324
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Miner
  • December 9, 2012, 6:26 pm
What's the difference between the grass top in the top left corner and the one below the diamond block?
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • December 9, 2012, 9:44 pm
They differ depending on the graphics option they have chosen. For instance, "fast mode" users will have side grass that uses a single, fixed texture, while "fancy mode" users will use biome-dependent side grass, which, like regular grass, will use a gray texture in order to apply the biomes' various grass colors.
100th Diamond! XD
  • spike43884
  • Level 23
  • Expert Taco
  • August 29, 2012, 9:24 am
cool just need to find how to get ll my gimp toolbars back and how to make it save as PNG could you just tell me that cuz then i can make a proper realism (thats not HD >:D and im not joking when i said that)
  • Soft-Serve
  • Level 1
  • New Crafter
  • January 4, 2013, 12:56 pm
Do you still need help? I'm pretty familiar with GIMP. It's what I use to make most of my textures.

To save things as a PNG:
"File" > "Export"
Then in the window that comes up, there should be a space to enter your file name. It will probably look something like FILENAME.png. If it says .png at the end, you're all set, just go ahead and click "Export". It it says something like FILENAME.jpeg or FILENAME.gif, just change it so it says FILENAME.png, and that will make it save as a PNG.

To help you get your toolbars back, I'd need to know which ones you're missing. A good start though would be to look in:
"Windows" > "Dockable Dialogues"
and select the ones you want to have open.
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 29, 2012, 9:39 pm
I wish I knew... I'm just running on GIMP 2.6 as a pixel refugee. :|

There is an alternative, I believe, and it's called Paint.net, but I wouldn't really know if that's what you are looking for - it's something.

I can very well imagine that I should provide GIMP 2.6 with citation of the GIMP website of course, given that I make a tutorial as to how I make a texture pack and all. No guarantees though. :P
  • spike43884
  • Level 23
  • Expert Taco
  • August 31, 2012, 10:58 pm
soon im making my own texturepack...and itll be modern
  • spike43884
  • Level 23
  • Expert Taco
  • August 31, 2012, 10:56 pm
ive tryed paint.net/paint but the problem with that is it looses transparency so its only good to do the Gui's and its good i guess if your doing non-transparent blocks in a mod so its pretty useless
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • September 1, 2012, 10:36 pm
I'm not too sure how Paint.net works, but I'm sure that there should be a tool that restores the opaqueness of a texture.

An eraser tool in GIMP allows the option to make a selection of your image transparent while allowing the option of reversing the effect via "anti-erase." Surely there is a way in Paint.net that does a similar thing. If not, then I suppose Google may hold the answers to your troubles. ;P
  • Soapaosin
  • Level 1
  • New Network
  • November 3, 2012, 2:57 am
Paint.net is an extremely easy software, works alot like GIMP, includes layer filters, cloud effects, sharpen etc. etc.
Gets job done really quickly and not compilicated, as GIMP! ^^
You should try it out! :3
So Coterie Craft can be FInished really soon.. :3
And Transparency Works perfect.. :l
Unless you use 50% or anything that's in middle of 100% - 0%
Minecraft just doesn't allow half transparent blocks, that's why your suppost to disable transparency smoothing, brush smoothing etc. (all comes in 1 button) cause the pixels are way too small and that's the thing that might jack up the transparent parts or the block textures next to the one your editing now, unless you add the texture to be the only.. controllable atm? (Highlight it :D)
There's alot simple features like MS Paint has, which is great!
And also elements from Photoshop.. c:
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • November 3, 2012, 7:49 pm
Hmm, I suppose I should try it out. Plus, it's supposedly easier to teach than GIMP, so it might come in handy. xP
  • jovco111
  • Level 11
  • Journeyman Architect
  • August 26, 2012, 1:23 am
Very nice!! But you don't need to ZIP your texturepacks anymore. Maybe this came after your tutorial, and it doesn't matter, but then you know. Diamond for you!
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 26, 2012, 1:27 am
Hmm, I'm pretty sure they do... but I would like to be proven wrong if this is the case. :P
  • spike43884
  • Level 23
  • Expert Taco
  • September 2, 2012, 12:25 am
they need zipping or they wont show up...but if you wish to edit 1 it needs to be unzipped to veiw the images
this is realy awseome blog. i dont see why this didont win the contest

ps: can u sub to me
This Is Legendary!

P.S Can you please subscribe to me because I'm one of you'r biggest fans!
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 24, 2012, 4:48 am
Sure thing! ;D

Did you subscribe to me as well? :P
can you also suscribe to my older brother


ps : his last name is pyke becouse its a shared acount
Yes I Did!!!!!11!!!!!
  • daanwillem
  • Level 33
  • Artisan Musician
  • August 23, 2012, 1:50 am
you hero
You helped me a lot.
Because I'm doing an adventure map for my friend.
  • Waystreet
  • Level 61
  • High Grandmaster Network
  • August 21, 2012, 9:38 am
My lord did it again.
81st diamond
a milestone
  • Unnatural
  • Level 20
  • Expert Toast
  • August 20, 2012, 6:41 pm
80th diamond
  • The Relic
  • Level 21
  • Expert Pony
  • August 19, 2012, 5:09 pm
Well this helped a lot thanks :)

/)* Bro Hoof
  • nathor75
  • Level 1
  • New Pegasus
  • August 14, 2012, 7:00 pm
Although personally I've known this, this has probably helped many peoplel :3 I have used this coding system in 2 of my texture packs, Rarity Realism, And Rainbow Dash RPG but it's mroe simplified in Fluttershy, only light and dark green
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 15, 2012, 11:11 pm
Well I'm glad I could help. ;)

It's also nice to know that there's a brony out there who is making pony-oriented texture packs, I see you are at quite the level - well done.

I've been wanting to make my own project in tribute to MLP:FiM for some time now, but I don't think I have the time nor the demand with regard to texture packing to that sort of theme. Instead, I intend to bring great improvements to the pony skins that are provided in the Mine Little Pony mod, but with all intentions, I do not know how long the project is going to take, not yet.
  • nathor75
  • Level 1
  • New Pegasus
  • August 15, 2012, 11:54 pm
Ah cool? Well have you talked to Verdana (Creator of the Mod)? Because a couple of the people on my server (WarSoul) are working with him, a couple of the works of MareDoWell (Player on my server) skins have made it into the official skin pack, such as her Flitter skin. A good place to get in touch with him would be his page on the BroHoof forums where he does much of his work. But Good luck on the skins ^_^; afterall Mine Little Pony is the best mod to hit minecraft in my Opinon, Such a Talented Community :3
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 16, 2012, 12:28 am
Well, not really. Niko, friend and collaborator of this project, and I wanted to make sure that making these skins was going to be a feasible effort, since it's more of a pony skin pack, not just skins on there own. But I'll let him know of my progress, thank you for the reference. ^^

I'll privately send you snapshots of the skins I've made so that you can be familiar of the quality. ;)
  • nathor75
  • Level 1
  • New Pegasus
  • August 16, 2012, 1:52 am
Okay! Sweet
  • ChezPlz
  • Level 31
  • Artisan Pirate
  • August 10, 2012, 7:02 am
You and rhodox are my two favorite people :) And as for the tutorial, it's great! I've been simply laying a gradient of my chosen color out on the png.
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 11, 2012, 1:12 am
Aw, shucks. ;P

Well I'm glad the tutorial is working for ya, good to know that you are constructing your biome colors efficiently. ^_^
  • Ash
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 63
  • High Grandmaster Button Pusher
  • August 7, 2012, 1:55 pm
Loved the Fire nation joke :)
  • Bethamez
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 27
  • Expert Network
  • August 3, 2012, 6:06 am
Quite Helpful....indeed
BTW, to put a picture on your profile, you copy and paste the image itself, not the image URL
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • August 3, 2012, 11:07 am
Well that's not exactly what I'm trying to do... pasting an image is one thing, but I'm trying to add a donate button - an image with a URL attached to it, essentially.

Ah! I see what you mean. I'm kinda used to the elongated BBCode format, I didn't know there was a simpler way. xD

Many thanks. ^_^
  • Bethamez
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 27
  • Expert Network
  • August 3, 2012, 11:09 am
NP =3
  • DrThresh
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 42
  • Master Batman
  • August 2, 2012, 8:46 pm
Very detailed analysis of the biome colour mechanics and quite a well laid out process on how to customise it. I'll have to file this one away for use in my own TPs.

Fire nation... heh
  • Kerrtastic
  • Level 10
  • Journeyman Taco
  • August 2, 2012, 3:19 pm
Those grey, uncolored grass and lily pads inspired me to make an apocalypse pack, make everything look like gears of war! Of course, that probably wont happen, on account of it requires dedication, but coolk idea, and AWESOME blog! And for the length, good job on formatting and grammar! I can tell you worked HARD on this!
  • Camarohill
  • Level 1
  • New Crafter
  • August 5, 2012, 3:49 pm
A post apocalypse texture pack is a great idea! If you made that I would download it for sure!
I'd have to say, not only was this tutorial extremely helpful and insightful, it made my day (especially the Fire Nation joke).
  • fungi13
  • Level 4
  • Apprentice Ranger
  • August 1, 2012, 3:04 pm
:O EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • PlanetGeek
  • Level 48
  • Master Wolf Whisperer
  • August 1, 2012, 1:34 pm
Contest Winning Quote: "Many texture artists, namely ExtraNoise, author of the Quandary Texture Pack, created seasons with an astounding proficiency, but then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked!"

  • Thedanyman
  • Level 49
  • Master Pixel Painter
  • August 1, 2012, 9:33 am
Its about time someone found out how to change biome colors correctly :D, I tried changing it by overlaying different layers of color of it, kind of worked.
amazing, how you figured this out, YOU MUST BE GENIUS XD
Awesome I'm going to try this for my 32x32 texture pack.
  • nobbie
  • Level 59
  • Grandmaster Pixel Puncher
  • August 1, 2012, 12:13 am
Wow, I didn't know any of that. Diamonded!

I tried to do a bit more saturated and brighter colors for my own texture pack, but it wasn't that big of a change. Armed with this knowledge, I might actually get a better coloring scheme without wasting so much time getting the whole triangle thingie to look good :D
  • JoshGillyett
  • Level 21
  • Expert Dragonborn
  • July 31, 2012, 11:01 pm
whats the texture pack used in the pic?
  • Cpt. Corn
  • Level 87
  • Elite Deity
  • July 31, 2012, 11:23 pm
Coterie Craft, back when I attempted making my own seasons.
  • Evans
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 11
  • Journeyman Network
  • July 31, 2012, 12:04 pm

Seriously man, sweet tutorial.
Woo science!

1 - 50 of 95

Show Comments

Planet Minecraft



© 2010 - 2019