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Clouds as they appear with Fancy graphics

Clouds are graphical effects in the sky. They serve a solely aesthetic purpose, although they can be used to determine compass directions because they always move westward.


Comparison of Fancy clouds (left) and Fast clouds (right).
The same clouds during different time and weather conditions.

The appearance of clouds varies depending on the graphics settings used:

Fancy: Clouds are translucent, three-dimensional prisms, approximately four blocks tall and 12x12 blocks wide. At night they turn a shade of blue and become more transparent. They are similar in appearance to stratocumulus clouds.

Fast: Clouds are two-dimensional and opaque. They do not change between day and night. Their smallest horizontal dimensions are 8×8 blocks wide. Fast clouds in Bedrock Edition are also opaque, but remain three-dimensional. Their appearance is similar to cirrus clouds.

From above or inside the clouds, they appear semi-transparent, regardless of the player's graphics settings. The sun and the moon always appear visible through the clouds from below.

The shape, dimensions, and color of clouds can be changed by modifying the clouds.png file located within assets\minecraft\textures\environment within the version's JAR file. The file's dimensions can be changed to any size.


Clouds always float westward between layer 100 and 150 based on the viewer's height. They are not interactive, and simply float through blocks and entities. Unlike in real life, clouds themselves do not produce rain or snow, meaning rain or snow continues even above the clouds.

Since clouds are rendered client-side, the position of clouds is different for each player on a server.

Clouds retain their position even if the game is restarted. The position of clouds is persistent between worlds — if the player quits their current world and generates a new one, then travels to the same coordinates they were at in the previous world, the clouds appear in the same position as the previous world.

Clouds can be toggled between Fancy, Fast, and Off in the Video Settings.


Java Edition Classic
May 23, 2009Notch says he accomplished adding "Clouds two tiles above the maximum build height".
0.0.14aAdded clouds, which float westward between layers 108 and 112.
Java Edition Infdev
June 11, 2010 Cloudsold.png Clouds are now 3D, have a top texture, and are translucent.
June 15, 2010A Fast/Fancy graphics setting is added, which toggles clouds between two- and three-dimensional.
June 24, 2010Removed cloud texture.
Java Edition Beta
1.8pre1The cloud layer was raised to layer 127.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 Prerelease 5Clouds can now be disabled in the Video Options menu.
1.2.112w07aBuild height increased to 256, allowing for players to build much further above clouds.
?Clouds now completely occlude the rendering of blocks when seen from below.
1.513w06aFixed blocks being unable to be seen through clouds from below.
13w10bUndid the previous fix due to performance reasons.
1.8.1pre4The clouds' "Fast" and "Fancy" shape are controlled with the same option that enables clouds, rather than with the standard Fast and Fancy graphics.
1.1318w10dBig optimizations to how clouds are rendered.
18w14aThe rendering of clouds has been optimized again.
1.1519w38bBlocks can now be seen through clouds from below again.[1]
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.6.0Added clouds. Clouds could be seen only in Fancy graphics, and if so, the clouds appeared opaque and two-dimensional, similar to the Fast clouds seen on Java Edition.
0.7.0Clouds are now toggled with the Beautiful Skies option.
0.7.4Clouds now have a darker color to match Java Edition.
0.8.0build 2Clouds are always three-dimensional, and are opaque and transparent with Fast and Fancy graphics, respectively.
0.9.0build 1New culling of clouds.
Clouds have been made prettier.
0.10.0build 1New double-sided lighting on clouds that's more coherent with the terrain.
build 6Better fog on clouds, starting farther away and following the sky color.
build 7The clouds and the terrain are now tinted red during sunset.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0alpha height was increased to 256, allowing for players to build much further above clouds.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU1 1.0 Patch 1Added clouds.
TU5Cloud height raised to the top of the map, so clouds can no longer phase through blocks.
Cloud movement syncs with the game's time.


Issues relating to "Cloud" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.