List of recommended software for creating sprites, textures, and models as well as repositories for free to use graphics.

2D Software

  • Paint.NET - Think MS Paint but with a few bells and whistles like multiple layers and transparent backgrounds. It only supports Windows (It doesn't even work under Wine) and requires the .NET framework. Fitting for pixel art.
  • Pinta - Open source (MIT) equivalent of Paint.NET. Unlike Paint.NET, it supports macOS, Linux, and BSD as well as Windows.
  • GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) - Aims to be the FLOSS Photoshop, but has a different interface. Has the ability to export images to ASCII, C source files, and HTML tables.
  • Krita - Professional FLOSS painting program. More fitting for hand-drawn graphics. Has normalmap tools/brushes and special mode that shows your sprite/texture repeated in all directions.
  • Piskel - A simple pixel art app that runs without downloads on the browser.
  • Aseprite ($15) - An advanced pixel art editor. (Source is available to compile for personal use only.)
  • GraphicsGale - A freeware pixel art editor.
  • GrafX2 - A freeware bitmap paint editor.
  • TerrariaXNB2PNG - Converts XNB files (XNA and MonoGame's format for sprites/textures) to PNG files.
  • Lazy Nezumi Pro - Smooths mouse movement for digital drawing/painting. Paid software but can be acquired easily

3D Software

  • Blender - Currently the most popular FLOSS modeling software. It even has a built-in video editor, and a 3D game engine. (Our own Blender-Knowledge-Base)
  • Autodesk 3ds Max ($185/month) - Commercial 3D modeling software. Very popular in the AAA video game industry.
  • Cinema 4D ($995) - Flexible 3D software, often used in the visual effect (VFX) and video industry.
  • zBrush ($795) - Industry standard 3D sculpting software. Very popular in the AAA scene. Easy to use, and robust toolset.
  • Anim8or - Freeware 3D modeling software with a simple UI that is ideal for children or beginners to learn with. Features are quite basic to reflect this. Generally not considered a viable tool for game development.
  • Milkshape3D - Freeware 3D modeling software. It supports a huge amount of model formats that older game engines like id Tech 1-3, GoldScr, and UE1 use.

Free Assets

  • - Free to use art assets licensed under the GPL, Creative Commons, and Public domain.
  • Open Pixel Project - A set of pixel art game graphics made collaboratively and shared in the Public Domain
  • The Spriters Resource - Sprites ripped from ROMS of existing games. Free to use for non-commercial purposes. (Unless you get a DMCA.)
  • The Models Resource - Same as above but for 3D models
  • The Textures Resource - Same as above again but for textures
  • Blender-Models - Downloadable 3D models, remember to check the license just in case.
  • 1001Fonts - Free to use fonts.
  • GNU FreeFont - Free to use fonts from the GNU project. Keep in mind if you use any of them, you have to release your program under the GPL v3.
  • - Free to use textures.
  • Poliigon - Some of these textures are free, but you have to pay for others.
  • Texture Haven - Free (CC0) PBR assets in up to 8k resolution.
  • CC0 Textures - Same as Texture Haven.
  • CGBookcase - Same as above.
  • Pattern Pictures - Good resource of free photographs of objects with repeating patterns. You'll have to make them seamless yourself, though.
  • Wild Textures - pictures for web design shared by a photographer for free
  • Drawing Database - Collection of vehicle and weaponry blueprints, useful for 3D modeling.
  • - A nice, organized collection of textures in glorious web 1.0 style. Great seamless photos of building exteriors, especially.
  • Pixnio - Public domain textures.
  • - free SVG and PNG icon resource
  • Pexels - big collection of free stock photos and videos

Palette Generators

  • Paletton - A browser-based tool to help you pick color combinations.
  • Coolors - Quickly generate complementary palettes.
  • Palettes - Contains some frequently used palettes
  • Lospec - Contains a variety of pixel art palettes submitted by its community.
  • Image Color Picker - Image color picker and palette generator.
  • Color Picker From Image - Get HEX and RGB color code from image or image URL.

Material/Texture Authoring Software

  • xNormal (Free) - Quality, and time tested normal/height/AO map baking software.
  • Shadermap - Paid equivalent to xNormal. Maintained, easy to use, and has a robust set of features.
  • Substance Painter - 3D PBR based painting software. Paint with layers similar to PS, and capabilities to author diffuse/spec/normal/AO/etc maps via hand authoring and/or baking tools.
  • Substance Designer - PBR material authoring software. Capability to export authored PBR materials to various game engines (Unity3D, UE, etc).
  • PixaFlux - Free node-based PBR material authoring software. Alternative to Substance Designer.
  • Texture Maker 3.0 - (Abandonware) Full DL of texture maker 3.0, with procedural texturing tools, and material authoring tools. Competent alternative to substance painter/designer. Videos of software capabilities. NOTE: Works well on Linux w/wine. SCANS: [1] [2]

Font Creation Software

  • FontForge - Open source (GPL) font creator. Supports many file formats like OpenType, TrueType, UFO, and more.


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