Light

From Minecraft Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Light (or lighting) in Minecraft affects visibility, mob spawning, and plant growth.

Brightness[edit | edit source]

There are 16 light levels, which are specified by an integer from 0 (the minimum) to 15 (the maximum). The game uses the light level of a block to compute the brightness of a given block.

Eleven different layers of brightness ("Smooth lighting" setting disabled).

In the Overworld and the End, the brightness of a block decreases by 20% per light level. Note that this is an exponential decrease, so light level 13, for example, represents 64%, rather than 60%, of the maximum brightness. A light level of 0 corresponds to a brightness of 3.52%.

In the Nether, the brightness decreases by 10% per light level. For example, a light level of 13 equates to a brightness of 81%. A light level of 0 represents a brightness of 20.59%, approximately light level 8 in the Overworld, providing a permanent dim ambiance within the dimension.

Light Level Brightness (Overworld/The End) Brightness (Nether)
0 3.52% 20.59%
1 4.40% 22.88%
2 5.50% 25.42%
3 6.87% 28.24%
4 8.59% 31.38%
5 10.74% 34.87%
6 13.42% 38.74%
7 16.78% 43.05%
8 20.97% 47.83%
9 26.21% 53.14%
10 32.77% 59.05%
11 40.96% 65.61%
12 51.20% 72.90%
13 64.00% 81.00%
14 80.00% 90.00%
15 100.00% 100.00%

Spread[edit | edit source]

T 13 12 11 10 9 8 9 10 11 12 13 T
13 12 11 10 9 8 9 8 9 10 11 12 13
12 11 10 9 8 9 10 9 8 9 10 11 12
11 10 9 8 9 10 11 10 9 8 9 10 11
10 9 8 9 10 11 12 11 10 9 8 9 10
9 8 9 10 11 12 13 12 11 10 9 8 9
8 9 10 11 12 13 T 13 12 11 10 9 8

The light from light-emitting blocks decreases by one light-level for each meter (block) of distance from the light source. Note that this applies to each of the 3 axes including N/S, E/W, and up/down. This fact is significant for preventing hostile mob spawning. If a torch (level 14) is placed on a wall two blocks up from the floor, the light level on the floor one block away from the wall will be 11 (e.g. 14 minus 2 down, minus 1 south). If the torch were placed on the floor at floor level, then the light level on the floor one block away from the wall will be 13 (e.g. 14 minus 0 down, minus 1 south).

Light decreases diagonally by "taxicab distance", or the sum of the distance along each axis. This means that if a torch (level 14) is placed on the floor, the light level on the adjacent floor blocks in all four direction will be 13 while the diagonal blocks in all four directions will have light level 12 (e.g. 14 minus 1 south, minus 1 east). Along a floor, this effect produces a diamond-shaped pattern of illumination around the light source. Remember, light decrease takes place in three dimensions. This means that if a torch (level 14) is placed on a wall one block up from the floor, then the block on the floor that is diagonally one block way will have a light level of 11 (e.g. 14 minus 1 south, minus 1 east, minus 1 down).

Sources of light[edit | edit source]

Comparison of the different light levels that blocks emit.

Blocks[edit | edit source]

The following values are the brightness of the block itself:

Icon Block Light Level
Beacon Block.png Beacon 15
Structure Block.png Structure Block 15[until 1.10]
End Portal.png End Portal (block) 15
Fire.png Fire 15
Glowstone.png Glowstone 15
Jack o'Lantern.png Jack o'Lantern 15
Lava.png Lava 15
Redstone Lamp (Active).png Redstone Lamp, when powered 15
Sea Lantern.png Sea Lantern 15
End Rod.png End Rod 14
Torch.png Torch 14
Furnace (Active).png Furnace, when active 13
Glowing Obsidian.png Glowing Obsidian 12
Portal.png Nether Portal (block) 11
Redstone Ore.png Redstone Ore, when touched 9
Ender Chest.png Ender Chest 7
Redstone (Torch, Active).png Redstone Torch, when on 7
Magma Block.png Magma Block[upcoming 1.10] 3
Brewing Stand.png Brewing Stand 1
Brown Mushroom.png Brown Mushroom 1
Dragon Egg.png Dragon Egg 1
End Portal Frame.png End Portal Frame 1

Other[edit | edit source]

Icon Source Light Level

Sunlight 15



Sunlight, during Rain or Snowfall 12

Sunlight, during a Thunderstorm 10[note 1]

Moonlight 4
  1. During thunderstorms, hostile mobs are allowed to spawn as if the sky light level were actually 5.

Light-filtering blocks[edit | edit source]

How ice affects light. Click through to see it animated between ice and water.

Opaque blocks prevent the spread of light; a 21×21 square of opaque material is enough to spawn mobs in the shadow underneath. By contrast, some transparent blocks such as glass and portal interiors have no effect on light level. All other transparent blocks reduce the spread of light.

Leaves and cobwebs do not have any extra effect on block light, but they do diffuse sky light. The light level from sunlight or moonlight is the same in each block of air in the column of air above the highest obstruction in the column. When placed, leaves and cobwebs obstruct that light column so that the lowest air block above the leaves acts as other light sources do. As you descend below the leaves, the light level diminishes with distance like it would from other light sources such as torches. To control this effect, create an opaque 1×1 chimney with leaves at its opening above you.

The following values are the amount each block decreases the light value. The light emitted decreases by one for each block of distance from the light source, more depending on the block through which it passes.

Icon Block Amount of decrease
Farmland.png Farmland Full decrease as if opaque
Cobblestone Slab.png Slab
Cobblestone Stairs.png Stairs
Ice.png Ice 2
Water.png Water
WebBlock.png Cobweb None, but diffuses sky light at the top-most block
Leaves.png Leaves

Effects of light[edit | edit source]

Note: Keep in mind that light level is only one of the considerations that apply to mob spawning and plant growth.

Mobs[edit | edit source]

Level 0–3 Level 4-7 Level 8 Level 9 Level 10 Level 11 Level 12 Level 13–15

Bats
Spawn at y: 0-62 Spawn at y: 0-62 from October 20th to November 3rd Do not spawn

Blazes
Spawn in Nether Fortresses Hostile, do not spawn

Wither skeletons
Spawn in Nether Fortresses Hostile, do not spawn

Silverfish[note 1]
Spawn in the Overworld Hostile, do not spawn

Slimes
Spawn in swamp biomes at y: 51–69 Spawn in certain chunks in most biomes (except mushroom island, the Nether, the End, and the Void) at y: 0–40

Zombies

Skeletons
Spawn in the Overworld Hostile, do not spawn Hostile, burns in sunlight

Creepers

Witches
Spawn in the Overworld Hostile, do not spawn

Spiders

Cave spiders
Spawn in the Overworld Hostile, do not spawn Do not spawn, neutral unless provoked

Endermen
Spawn in the Overworld and the End Do not spawn, neutral unless provoked Do not spawn, teleports randomly and often ignores players when in sunlight
  1. These restrictions only apply when spawning from a monster spawner, and not from a Silverfish block.

Blocks[edit | edit source]

Level 0–3 Level 4-7 Level 8 Level 9 Level 10 Level 11 Level 12 Level 13–15

Snow layers


Ice
[note 1]
Forms, does not melt Forms and melts Melts

Mushroom
s
Spread Uproot unless on mycelium or podzol

Sapling
s


Pumpkin
or Melon stems
[note 2]
Does not grow Grows

Wheat


Carrot
s


Potato
es


Beetroot
s
[note 3]
Uproot Does not grow Grows

Grass Block


Mycelium
[note 4]
Becomes dirt if opaque block or partially transparent block on top Does not spread Spreads to nearby dirt (see below)

Dirt
[note 4]
Does not accept spread Accepts spread if no opaque or partially transparent block on top
  1. Sunlight does not affect snow and ice. The relevant light level is what would be in the block if it were air.
  2. For growth, the relevant light level is that in the block above the plant. The growth of pumpkins or melons from a stem checks the light above the stem, not the block where the pumpkin or melon grows.
  3. For growth, the relevant light level is that in the block above the plant. For uprooting, the relevant light level is the plant block itself.
  4. a b
    The relevant light level is that in the air block above it. "Partially transparent" blocks are those that reduce light by at least 3 levels (2 in addition to the normal propagation reduction), such as water or ice.

Other[edit | edit source]

Level 0–3 Level 4-7 Level 8 Level 9 Level 10 Level 11 Level 12 Level 13–15
Ambience On Off

Smooth lighting[edit | edit source]

The difference between Smooth Lighting on and off.

Smooth lighting (which includes ambient occlusion as well as interpolating lighting across block faces) is a lighting engine that blends light levels and darkens corners to add semi-realistic shadows and glowing from light sources.

This lighting engine is set on by default, and can be set to minimum, maximum, or off by accessing Video Options from the Options menu.

Video[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Classic
? The lighting engine in Classic was much simpler. "Sunlight" is emitted by the top edge of the map and will hit any block that is under it, regardless of distance. It will pass through transparent blocks to light blocks underneath. Blocks that do not receive light are in a dim shadow that remains at the same level of brightness no matter how far they are from a light source.
Indev
? Added 16 degrees of brightness, with a maximum of 15 for full daylight and a minimum of 0 for almost complete darkness. Brightness is a linear scale and represents its value divided by 15; for example 15 is 100% (1515) and 13 is 86.67% (1315).
Sunlight now has a maximum light value of 15, and steadily decreases from dusk, until it reaches a night-time minimum value of 4, representing moonlight.
Alpha
? Lighting is no longer linear.
Each brightness value below 15 is 80% as bright as the one above it. For example, 14 is 80% as bright as 15, and 13 is 64% bright as 15.
Sunlight now has its own light array and optimizations to make dawn and dusk smoother. During dusk, nighttime, and dawn, a "darkness" value is subtracted from the sky to create the effects of different times of day.
1.2.0 Halloween Update Added the Nether, where light decreases by 10% each level, rather than the normal 20%.
Hostile mobs could spawn in higher light levels at lower depths, using the formula 16 − (Layer / 8). At level 8 and below, mobs could spawn even in sunlight.
1.2.1 Notch reverted mob spawning to the original method, saying, "It was way too annoying. I have plans on what to do with this."
Beta
1.3 Smooth lighting engine added with the help of MrMessiah.[1]
1.8 Implemented a new lighting engine. The lighting on a block is given a tint based on the most prominent source of light.
Day/night cycles no longer require chunk updates and is a smooth transition.
Artificial light now gives a very subtle "flicker."
Added void fog, which increases darkness at extreme depths.
Official release
1.4.2 12w39a Dinnerbone fixed black patches in world generation,[2] and began overhauling the lighting systems such as changing the lighting of blocks to allow for directional lighting.[3][4]
1.5 13w05a Improved lighting interaction with stairs.
13w06a Several lighting optimizations.
13w09a Added three different levels of smooth lighting: Off, Minimum, and Maximum. Minimum uses the old Smooth Lighting, and Maximum fixes a bug with stairs.
1.7.2 Black patches in world generation and structure generation were made a lot less common.[5]
1.8 14w30a The lighting engine was significantly improved, removing most black spots present in world generation.
14w34c The void fog and particles were removed in order to improve performance.
Redstone repeaters no longer emit light.

Issues[edit | edit source]

Issues relating to “Light” are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In Minecraft's source code, the luminescences are defined using the floating point values in the third column. In a weird quirk, these floating point numbers are fractions of 16, but are multiplied by 15 to get the integer light value.
    • This means that both 0/16 and 1/16 (0.0 and 0.0625) correspond to the integer light value 0.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]