Minecraft’s The Update Aquatic brings a plethora of new features to the blocky sandbox game, including a vast new underwater world to explore, offering experiences in a rich sea world filled with marine life, new enemies, and more. Whether you want to swim with dolphins, explore underwater ruins, or just want to go around throwing a magical trident at things, The Update Aquatic’s got you covered. So of course, you’re going to want the best version of Minecraft yet to also look its best. That’s where shaders come in!
If you want to use shaders in Minecraft, look no further than OptiFine. OptiFine is a Minecraft mod which allows you to customize your Minecraft experience to offer better visuals, improved framerate, dynamic lighting, and more. It also adds support for shaders, which take customization of Minecraft’s graphics to a whole new level. If you’ve ever seen a Minecraft screenshot depicting a world with reflecting water and photo-realistic lighting, that’s a shader. Move over, Skyrim.
It’s worth noting that while OptiFine has been updated for Minecraft 1.13.1, the latest build of The Update Aquatic, it is currently still in Beta. This means that not everything may work perfectly, but it’ll come extremely close. OptiFine’s developer, sp614x, is hard at work getting OptiFine to complete compatibility with 1.13, and is currently 90% of the way to a fully up-to-date release. In the meantime, the current Beta version works great and is compatible with updated shaderpacks with few issues.
How to download and install OptiFine 1.13.1
You can download OptiFine 1.13.1 from the creators' website here: OptiFine Downloads
As mentioned before, OptiFine for 1.13 is still in Beta, so you’ll need to view “Preview versions" to find the download link on the OptiFine website. This will expand a list of currently available beta builds, including the 1.13.1 compatible version.
Before installing OptiFine, be sure to run Minecraft Latest Release 1.13 once. You don’t have to create a world or join a server, you just want to make sure it has downloaded all the necessary base files. Once you’ve run the game, you can safely close out of Minecraft.
To install OptiFine, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- If you haven’t already, download OptiFine (remember to click "Preview versions"
- Locate and double-click the .jar file.
- Make sure the Minecraft directory is correct and click “Install”
- Once OptiFine has installed, open the Minecraft launcher again and click the green arrow to the right of the “Play” button
- Select the OptiFine Launch profile
- Launch the game using this profile
That’s all there is to it! Once you’ve launched Minecraft using the OptiFine profile, you’ll be able to start configuring OptiFine in the “Video Settings” menu.
How to locate your Minecraft directory
If you need help finding your Minecraft directory, follow these steps:
- Open the Minecraft Launcher
- Click “Launch options”
- Click “Latest release”
- Click the green arrow in the Game directory line to navigate to the folder
How to download shaders for Minecraft 1.13.1
Once you have OptiFine installed, it’s equally as easy to install Minecraft shaders! Simply download a shaderpack from its source, typically a creator’s website or the official Minecraft forums, and put the file in your .minecraft/shaderpacks directory. As with mods, you don’t have to unpack anything, just drop the file in.
It’s worth noting that OptiFine does feature a download button which takes you to a wiki page with a list of available shaders. However, only one of the shaders listed is currently compatible with Minecraft 1.13.1, and we’ve include a link to download it below, so you likely won’t get much use out of this button.
Not all Minecraft shaders are compatible with 1.13.1
In Minecraft’s The Update Aquatic, the game’s old block ID system was changed and, as a result, using an outdated shader will likely introduce some funky visual bugs. It’s important to note that the vast majority of shaders have not actually been updated for 1.13.1, so they may not work well in Minecraft’s latest build.
Unfortunately, you simply cannot believe what all those Minecraft download websites are claiming. If a shader pack hasn’t been updated since before Minecraft 1.13.1 (so, earlier than June 4, 2018, the earliest pre-release of 1.13), contrary to what a website may claim, it hasn’t been updated for 1.13 and may not be fully compatible.
How to install Minecraft shaders with Optifine 1.13.1
Once you have OptiFine installed, it’s equally as easy to install Minecraft shaders! To get started, simply download a shaderpack from a reputable source, typically the creator’s website or the official Minecraft forums. The shaderpack will typically be in ZIP or RAR format, similar to Minecraft mods.
Once you’ve downloaded a shaderpack, there’s no need to unpack it. Simply drop the file into your .minecraft/shaderpacks directory. If you’ve already installed OptiFine, you can easily locate the Minecraft shaderpack folder by launching Minecraft, clicking “Video Settings,” then “Shaders,” then clicking the “Shaders Folder” button at the bottom left of the menu. Or, if you’d prefer to navigate to it directly, the default URL is:
Once you’ve installed a shader, you can toggle it on and off ingame within the same menu. Here’s how to load an installed shaderpack in Minecraft 1.13.1:
- Launch Minecraft
- Click “Options,” then “Video Settings”
- Click “Shaders” and select an installed shaderpack from the list
- Click “Done”
We’ve picked our favorite shader packs which are actually updated and compatible with 1.13.1, so you can start tweaking Minecraft’s visuals to your liking! Again, they may not be 100% perfect, but these shaders are actively developed so you can expect any issues to actually be fixed. Keep in mind that installing and running shaders in Minecraft can be extremely taxing on your PC, so you’ll want to make sure you’re not biting off more than your system can chew when it comes to customization. Here’s our list of the best shader packs for Minecraft 1.13.1:
Best shaders for
Minecraft 1.13.1 The Update Aquatic
Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders (SEUS) Renewed
Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders, also known as SEUS, is one of the most popular shaderpacks for Minecraft, and for good reason. Right out of the box, it offers an absolutely gorgeous Minecraft experience even before you begin customizing the visuals. This shaderpack features updated underwater rendering, improved clouds, new weather effects, tons of lighting improvements, and more.
If you really want to beautify your Minecraft experience, you should consider using a 512x HD texture pack to compliment your snazzy new visual settings. Remember not to push your system too hard, though, as tweaking SEUS’s settings to the extreme may cause quite the performance drop if your PC can’t handle it.
Sildur's Shaders 1.13
Sildur’s Shaders actually features multiple different shaderpacks, offering a wide range of visual customization options for an equally as wide range of PC builds. If you’re looking for an extreme graphical overhaul, you’ll want to grab Sildur’s Vibrant Shaders, which offer the most tweakable settings for the bravest of miners. Just below that, you’ll find Sildur’s Enhanced Default, which still offers a substantial assortment of visual customization options. Finally, there’s Sildur’s Basic Shaders, which is the best pick if you’re playing on and older or less powerful PC and still want to improve Minecraft’s visuals.
Even if you’re not using a beastly PC, you can still take advantage of some of the more advanced shaderpacks, as Sildur kindly offers multiple downloads for each pack, intended for play at different levels of performance. You can choose between Lite, Medium, High, and Extreme versions for both Sildur’s Vibrant Shaders and Sildur’s Enhanced Default, so you can pick the version which will run best on your PC.
Best Minecraft shaders for older Minecraft builds
If you’re not interested in playing the latest version of Minecraft and prefer to stick to an older version, for mod compatibility or other reasons, here’s a few great shaderpacks that will work with older Minecraft builds:
Latest update: Minecraft 1.12
Latest update: Minecraft 1.11.2