Game Art: The Best Sources in 2018!


So let’s say you have your game designed, your mechanics are solid, and you even have a prototype ready that feels great. The next step would be to produce some beautiful art to complement your game. Now this is where a lot of indie devs can hit a roadblock – but fear not – you have A LOT of options at your disposal. In this video we’ll go over each option and provide tips and tools to get you started. We are Ask Gamedev, and here are 3 ways to get art for your indie game in 2018. So let’s talk about the first option for getting art for your game: creating the art yourself – the most time-consuming, but arguably also the most fun option of the three. If you’re looking to make 2D art, you have great paid options in PhotoShop and Illustrator. You’ll want to use PhotoShop for raster art (like if you’re making pixel art), and Illustrator if you’re looking to work with vectors You’re not limited to one or the other though, you can use both. Now in 2018, pricing starts at USD $19.99/month per Adobe app, but you can also subscribe to the full Adobe Creative Suite for USD $49.99/month. The full suite comes with other applications that might come in handy on your gamedev journey like, AfterEffects, Premiere, InDesign, and SoundBooth If you’re looking for free alternatives for creating raster and vectors graphics though, you’re in luck. For raster graphics, Gimp is widely accepted a free PhotoShop alternative, and it has a great community, and robust tutorial library. For vectors, we’ve seen a lot of devs use Inkscape for their art. If you’re just creating pixel art though, you might want to look at applications specifically designed for pixel art. Some popular applications are: Aesprite (USD $14.99) Pyxel Edit (USD $9.00) GraphicsGale (Free and Promo Motion NG (USD $0 – $39) They each range in price and features so it’s tough to recommend one over the other. They’re all significantly cheaper when compared to PhotoShop though. Our best advice would be to take a look at each one, try it, and see what works best for you and your team. We’ll have links to each one in the description. Now let’s look at options for creating 3D assets. Two of the most well known options in the games industry are Maya, and 3D Studio Max both might be a bit steep in price though at USD $185/month each. In terms a free option for 3D graphics and animation, you want to use Blender. It’s open-source, and supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline including modelling, rigging, rendering, animation and more. Additionally – We recently did a video on the best free tools for game development that you may want to checkout for more information on how to get started without having to put money into software. If you’re worried about the difficulty of learning any of the above applications that we’ve mentioned, don’t worry, we’ve done a check, and you can find a large amount of tutorials for each on YouTube. If you would like us here at AskGameDev to make software-specific tutorials – please let us know in the comments. Now let’s talk about buying ready-made assets. Buying ready-made assets can be a cost-effective and quick solution to getting high-quality, polished assets into your game. In terms of value, an asset pack can be licensed at fraction of the cost that it would take to hire an artist. One thing to note when buying assets though, is that you’re not buy the exclusive rights to the assets, you’re only buying a license to use them, This means that you may see the same assets appear in other games. Also, you’ll want to understand the terms of the license and make sure you have the correct attribution for the original creator. Possibly the most popular place to get ready-made assets is Unity’s asset store. The asset store sells both 2D and 3D assets compatible with Unity but also most other engines as well. You can buy almost anything you can imagine there- everything from character packs, to full environments, even full buffets Need 165 different swords? The asset store has you covered. How about 160 different axes? You’re covered. Also Competing game engines like Unreal and GameMaker have similar assets stores that you might consider if you are developing in those engines Another popular asset store amongst the indie community is Kenney. Kenney’s tagline is “Free game assets, no strings attached.” and they mean it While the site does include both, paid and free assets, as of 2018, there are over 40,000 assets available for free he assets are licensed as Creative Commons Zero, meaning you’re free to use these game assets in any project, personal or commercial. There’s no need to ask permission before using them and giving attribution is not required, (but is greatly appreciated!). The site features both 2D and 3D assets with everything from nicely stylized character packs, to isometric furniture kits, vehicles, and even tile and icon sets. There’s enough here to build whatever you want! And the great part is, that because every asset was created by the same team, you can mix and match different asset packs and still have a uniform look. If you want to check out any games made using Kenney assets, you can check out the Games section on their website. he Night’s Willow is a point and click adventure currently in development using Kenney assets. You can also check out the submissions from KenneyJam – a yearly gamejam where participants make games using only Kenney assets. And finally, let’s talk about your third option, hiring someone to make your assets for you. This option maybe the most expensive of the three, and require a little bit of management skills, but if you have a specific style that you want, or a level of quality that you want to hit, this might be your only option. Before we talk about where to find people to work with, let’s talk about preparation. The first thing you want to do is create a detailed asset list. List out every character, every prop, effect, environment, and UI element that you’ll require. Once you have your list, you want to start getting each item as detailed as possible. Describe each item, and its intended use in your game. If you need animations, how many frames will each one be? You will want to decide if you want to help define the visual style, or if you’ll want the freelance artist to come up with a style for you. If you want to influence the style, the next steps would be to ind references of the visual style you would like for each item. The more accurate your description, and the more references you provide, the easier it’ll be for an artist to understand your vision. You ideally want as little time spent on revisions as possible, as creating multiple revisions is both time-consuming and costly. Once you have your asset needs completely figured out, it’s time to find your artists. For this we have three options to share: 1. Check out the gamedev classifieds on Reddit. The gamedev classifieds subreddit is a fairly active community, and while it’s filled with every discipline in gamedev, it’s quite easy to sort for what you’re looking for. Freelancers who are looking for work often post their portfolios, but it’s also ok for devs to post “wanted” ads, describing what they’re looking for. 2. Your other option is to cast a wide net and use an outsourcing service like Upwork or Fiverr. These are service marketplaces where you can post a project, and find freelancers all over the world willing to work for you. Aside from its vast talent pool, what’s nice about these platforms is that all of the communications and transactions are done within the Upwork system to ensure security and easier reference to what has happened in the past. When dealing with a multiple freelancers from around the world, it’s great to have an intermediar to keep the project organized and also ensure that both sides are playing fair. When using freelancers, we recommend trying out a few different providers first, to find the one you work best with, before settling on a long-term partner. 3. The third and final option is to work with a studio. When Towerfall was first made, the creator did all of the art himself. Before releasing, he decided he wanted to up the visuals, and so he partnered with a studio and had them re-do all of the assets Check out some of these before and after pics The studio that did this revision, was Studio Miniboss they’re also responsible for the art in Matt Makes Games’ latest hit, Celeste. If you’re looking for a great studio to work with for pixel art, they might be worth reaching out to. You can also check out their website for awesome 2D pixel tutorials, if you decide to go with creating the art yourself. If you want to find other similar outsourcing studios, a simple web search for art outsourcing can provide some options or alternatively let us know what you are looking for in the comments and we can try our best to provide some suggestions. As you can see there are tons of ways to get art into your game, so don’t let it be a roadblock! Create it yourself, buy it, or hire someone! Whichever you choose, just enjoy the process, and good luck! Thanks for watching, we are Ask Gamedev, and we make weekly videos on games, the game industry and more. If you like our content, please subscribe! Now let’s ask you a question – how do you get your art for your game? Let us know in the comments!

96 Replies to “Game Art: The Best Sources in 2018!”

  1. Ask Gamedev says:

    Thanks for watching everyone! Please let us know in the comments what tools / tips you recommend for getting great art for your games!

  2. Derek MacNeil says:

    Ive found that most development teams use Maya for 3D and Illustrator/Photoshop for 2D

  3. Gecko Play says:

    you are the better chanel , i hope you grow much soon

  4. SweptingAce says:

    I recommend Blender for 3d games and Piskel for 2d games

  5. skazdal says:

    One of the perks of being an artist and starting making games: you don't have to ask this question ^^ I personally use Aseprite for pixel art and animations.

  6. itsmepionman says:

    L love your videos

  7. kuiber says:

    That video helps me alot
    Thank you ❤❤❤

  8. Playassnoob PAN says:

    Hello game Dev I love games and want to make games but I am loosing interest in making games so can you make a motivational video to regain my interest back.
    Hope you will help me 😊

  9. Andu Andu says:

    love your videos. pls make tutorial on godot engine

  10. tom goossens says:

    Wait, why is this channel still so small?! This has such great content and well visualised video's!

  11. TheCivildecay says:

    Affinity designer!

  12. Sub For Sub Guarantee says:

    Torrent!😏

  13. Matrix Programmer says:

    Piskel is also a good software for pixel art.
    For someone getting into pixel art one can use a website called Lospec it has a great collection of pallets etc also a inbuild pixel editor.
    MagicaVoxel is another great free software for creating voxel art for your games.

  14. Depta Dota says:

    Kenney is free for a commercial use right ?

  15. John Wick killed my dog. says:

    Subbed 👍

  16. Hoywolf says:

    How do you go about finding which type of art to use for a game based on budget? like 2D, 2.5D, 3D, low poly, etc?

  17. Thunderjaw says:

    Is it generally looked down upon to sell your game with premade assets within the industry? I would assume it could devalue your game if other devs could use the same character art etc. I really don't know. That's why I'm asking. I've heard both sides and curious to know other opinions.

  18. Gd LOP says:

    for new game devs and artists out there…do yourselves a favor and dont get boxed by the ''industry standards'' mentality, which is so outdated , so old school, about art programs. Photoshop is mainly a digital image editing program. And as an artist or game dev making their first steps you want to keep costs to a minimum. There are so many art specific programs out there… open source, free or for a very low price. A great option is Kryta, which is my favorite. Just do a small research and you will be overwhelmed by the available options. Something i wasnt aware of.

  19. KruxSpot says:

    there is no way that this channel is small, like to be honest even 100k isn't good , you guys need at least 800k or 1 million , your soo amazing you and your great content cause as you can see your making always content by making these 2d flow characters move so we can feel chill and relax while watching your videos, thank you game dev

  20. Jamination says:

    Brilliant video! I still don't know how you people have such a small channel, You'll get big soon I know it.

  21. Noco Kazoku Network says:

    Love it

  22. sunny says:

    gimp is not a good drawing program!!! please don't recommend gimp to artists for the sole intention of having them draw in it
    it was made for photo manipulation, not digital art. it's actually really confusing and difficult to draw in.
    a better drawing program would be krita; it's free, it's very similar visually to photoshop, and is very good for drawing digitally.
    there's also firealpaca,, also free. there's also medibang paint pro and it's very similar – it's by the same company, , also free) – but is made for drawing comics, while firealpaca is more geared towards general illustrations. i've been using firealpaca since i started drawing digitally.. it's not as strong as some paid applications but it's absolutely fine for some video game art,
    also the brushes are a little limited but it's easy to make or find more, just search firealpaca brush on google and you'll get tons of results.
    they are on pc and mac, though i don't know if they're on linux since i've never had the need to look that up.

  23. Maxime Lemieux says:

    Something I just found and I think is a good compromise between having an artist and using free stuff is Patreon.
    I found a great guy doing free 3D assest and, if you support him on patreon, you have access to everything in a single zip package + you can ask him for specific exclusive models each month.
    So I can use free (and patreon exclusive) stuff for the environment and such and have specific models like bosses and characters be exclusive to my game.

  24. Benjamin Ramsey says:

    For pixel art sprites and animation, I used Graphics Gale for a couple years and got really proficient at it, and it's okay. But then I explored a few others and settled on Aseprite which is FAR superior, much more intelligent with its abilities and shortcuts and methods, and just really made my life easier!

  25. Zivs tosters says:

    ARRR mate wear i can get pirat asets ?????

  26. Ask Gamedev says:

    Check out our Video on the best FREE content creation tools (including art and animation assets) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp_10g-desg

  27. Ganon Tice says:

    This is very good!

  28. VVill says:

    A great free pixel art program is a website called Piskel. (https://www.piskelapp.com/p/create). 100% free and extremely easy to use!

  29. Stephen Queen says:

    Paint 3d lol

  30. Matheus Pesegoginski says:

    what about krita? its a good open source option for photoshop.

  31. Armando Apolinar says:

    Amazing and helpful video! I usually get my 2d art from OpenGameArt. So glad I stumbled upon this channel!!

  32. Alexander Deutsch says:

    I macke Art myself, im a 3D artist

  33. Simone Starace says:

    This channel is getting better and better.

    #Gimp #Blender are my favorites tools

  34. Emerald Eel Entertainment says:

    You forgot to mention Krita. Krita lets you draw, sketch and paint. You can make pixel art and even make animations with it, all for free.

  35. Board says:

    What about music and sound FX?

  36. Erion Mema says:

    Add KRITA to the raster option, also great for 2d animation, tile textures, and painting generally

  37. pokeballerxd mcpe says:

    YOU FORGOT PISKEL

  38. N R says:

    Simply Inkscake. 4ever inkscale

  39. Majin MJ says:

    You forgot maya lt, it's much more affordable and unlike blender or regular Maya it has all features removed that aren't relevant to game devs.

  40. alwadifa says:

    great pleas i want you to mack a video how to mack a studio games and hyier a team to with you and the minimum to do that in real pleas !!?

  41. Akash Agarwal says:

    thank you so much for this video it will help me a lot on my journey to make games as I suck at art. keep on going with these kinds of video you doing great bro

  42. Matheus Garay Trindade says:

    I thought you guys 500.000 subs or plus by the quality in your videos. Keep on the good work!!

  43. Iqbal TV Comedy says:

    blender is great you can meke great things in blender

  44. Ashish Thakur says:

    How do you made your videos ?

  45. Nisfinx says:

    Kenney looks great! Thanks for sharing!

  46. SeireiART says:

    I use mostly Photoshop and for some cases "mspaint"

  47. Phea utube says:

    thank you so much, 🙂

  48. Orlan Manalansan says:

    how about a content about creatng a hyper casual game?

    by the way, thanks for awesome videos

  49. Game Developer Studio.com says:

    I've got loads of art for use on my site https:www.gamedeveloperstudio.com . Please check it out!

  50. KC Garcia says:

    Stahp stealing Mega Man. You can make fangames of MM just fine

  51. ProfesorYT says:

    1:35 You should add FireAlpaca because it has autocorrect which (Most People Draws With Mouse Knows) just makes it easier to draw with a mouse

  52. DramaticCrossroad says:

    paint.NET is a free and easy to use "hybrid" between Ps and paint 🙂 highly recommend for people that might have tight budget like me.

  53. magnusm4 says:

    For 2d art: Krita. Opentoonz is professional to the max but super complicated for animation and just getting started at all. Krita got their animation features recently but it's amazing and super easy tools to use. Great for drawing and easy to get right into in animating, I can just click new or load and immediately draw and animate, clicking in the arrow keys to move between frames and use onion skin. It's the best for any artist and animator in my opinion.
    Easy beginner tutorial for all you need to start with:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48pwrr4gPOA

    For 3d models. You seriously underestimate Blender. You can sculpt, model, animate, rig, optimize, apply texture filters and effects and draw the textures directly in Blender!
    To sculpt and draw the textures directly on the model and be able to optimize and port it into a game engine insanely fast and easy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRiSdYby6v8&t=115s
    For absolute basics of beginning with Blender:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYj6e-72RDs&list=PLBfWeQ9E-fecxiw9A7S5S2sseJ0gEmnVQ
    To model, use background images for reference, set up skeleton rig for joints and movement and animating:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAO4C_8y0w8&t=10s
    These three are all you need to get started professionally, they make Maya look like a ripoff.

    For sound it's Audacity to record and modify music and sounds, used to make custom TF2 quotes when playing when I was under 15 years.

    For game making it's obvious, Unity, Unreal, Gamemaker and Godot. There's plenty of other engines but these are the most popular.
    For more free game engines:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT_9-p1-1cU

    This is all you need to get started. All that's left is get to work and get better, it takes time. Lot's of time but in time it's worth it. I would recommend doing like me and not using any assets and look for your own style. I couldn't draw, I was shit at learning programming, modeling was ok and I have a terrible way of getting myself to work or focus for more than 5 to 10 minutes. But I still got better and I don't need other's work to make my own complete. -Plus most assets are the same in many ways and are a sure way of making nobody see your game as anything but a dime a dozen like with 2d flash platformers today. Be unique and explore your ideas then polish them, that's when effort pays off in the short and long run

  54. אוהד באר says:

    for 2d use sketch. amazing

  55. LeyendNkTh says:

    Man, this video was super helpful! Thank you very much, you guys are the best!

  56. Brighton Betoit says:

    For pixel art: You can literally use ms paint. It works fine. If you want more advanced stuff, get a better program, but Paint will work fine if you're on a budget.

  57. AdiGAMER says:

    For a beginner, is 2d game better to build or 3d.really wanna know

  58. Elijah Parker says:

    I would recommend Pixly.

  59. Anurag Shete says:

    Hey anyone whoever reading this comment…. I just want a big team with only highly skilled people in their work…. I have got something in my head that tottally revolutionise thee gaming indsutry… It will not only effect the gaming industry but also social media industry too…..

  60. JAM WAH says:

    Hey, I love your videos and I know everything you include is well meaning, but please don't give sites like Fiverr a recommendation. They are tempting because the services are cheap, yes, but they're perpetuating a race to the bottom for freelancers.

    Nobody can make a living from these things without burning out in short order. It's incredibly unhealthy.

    Anyway, great stuff in every other respect! Keep it up!

  61. soma cruise says:

    i feel like this channel supposed to be huge. great video! thanks!

  62. VelvetImpulse says:

    This is great! You guys should also share tips on the audio part! There's a lot of stuff there to be considered: sound design, soundtrack, style, engineering…

  63. Jake walter says:

    forgot. krita ????

  64. SharmClucas says:

    There's a lot of things I would add to this video. Krita is a surprisingly great free art program, and much better than GIMP for creating things from scratch (as long as it's not pixel art). Honestly, GIMP is better as an editing program. I like to use it to combine, rearrange, or edit my pixel art that I make in other programs. Other paid options like Clip Studio Paint, Paint Tool Sai, Painter and so on can be vastly superior options to Photoshop, depending on what you're trying to make. Years ago Photoshop was the tool to use, but now there are many more options. For buying art, itch.io is also a pretty good place to check out. It hasn't been around as long as the Unity store, but as an artist I personally prefer it, and if you're looking for 2D options, I believe itch.io has more variety. You've also completely skipped over the free art option. You have to do more searching, but there's a lot of great free stuff out there. Kenny's site is a good place to find some, but the best place is Open Game Art. I think combining free with paid is also a really great way to go, you get a good foundation with the free art, then hire someone to continue in the same style, giving you personalized parts with a vastly lowered cost overall. Some artists will even give a discount if you afterwords share it open source. In the task of hiring an artist, I've found it to be very helpful to find an active community based around the type of game you want to make, and then hire from the people there. Especially if you're working on something in an unusual engine or game style. This is helpful because the artists in the community are more likely to know exactly what your needs are, and they might even be cheaper than finding and hiring the exact same artist from a place outside the community.

    The bit about what you need before hiring an artist is so very true and such fantastic advice. Everyone, if you only pay attention to one part of this video, that should be the part you remember. I used to work freelance, I completely agree. The more specific you can be when hiring an artist, the more accurate the estimates are, the cheaper it is, the faster it gets done, the happier your artist is, and the more likely you are to get exactly what you want. If you want the artist to decide a lot of things you can still be specific, just be specific about what you want them to be in charge of and what you absolutely need for your part of the game making process to work. The number one thing you don't want to do is say that you don't care and then go "Oh, but that's not what I had in mind" over and over again through multiple revisions. Clients like that are never ever worth the money. They usually can't/won't pay the money either. . . .

    The only other thing I'd like to add is that if you want good art, be prepared to pay a large amount of money. Don't skimp on your artist, a cheap artist is likely to flake on you, be unequal to the task, or cost you money through revisions. A good artist knows they're good and can find another client if you're trying to get away with paying too little. Art is a skilled profession, don't go into it expecting to pay minimum wage or less.

  65. Milan Tique says:

    Alright. As long as you have create your own as one of the options. Or else I’d be insulted lol

  66. sahlool says:

    can I use krita or blender 2d?

  67. DeeCoder says:

    Blender is best i ve dn some game assets with it for free here: gameassestsfree.blogspot.com

  68. maids with knives amirite says:

    I use paint.net for pixel art but i'll try aseprite since it looks cool

  69. IdolMike says:

    Hey, this has some good information. I'll make sure to keep some of this in mind while developing.

  70. Aaditya Who? says:

    Make a tutorial to make 3D Assets in Blender, please! One intended for beginners.

  71. मेरा status DHASU says:

    Great work you are growing…

  72. Potato Life says:

    get a facecam

  73. Waylon O'Conner says:

    I guess I am into S&M, I use MS Paint…. I mean I only do 8 and 16 bit tile and sprite work. It’s laborious and I’m not trying to make a living, just some fun games.

  74. PRO_GrAMmER PRO_GrAMmER says:

    How do u guys animate vector img .

  75. Omar F. says:

    I'm still using Microsoft paint for my pixel art. I have the XP version since the win10 is terrible!

  76. Daniel Dias says:

    Why Gimp and not paint.net? (noob question) (every time I open Gimp I give up 20 min later not being able to make a simple square)

  77. Tampon_Jon says:

    Just a few weeks back i learned how to code my own game with the engine Godot. Would any pixel art designers like to team up with me in making a game?

  78. Aryaman Kejriwal says:

    GIMP IS HELL!!!!!!

  79. medicalbenko says:

    I would love to see a guide for Pro Motion NG. Please and thank you.

  80. Cage edits says:

    Maya or blender tutorials

  81. tavinder singh says:

    please make a video on creating pixel art using gimp or inkscape.

  82. GuardWave says:

    50 bucks a month / is a college student

  83. OnEsel says:

    I do with inkscape …in future possible move Photoshop.

  84. Jayden Someone says:

    Use paint.net!!!

  85. Soni-Chan x Soniku says:

    I have a similar problem, but it's the other way around

  86. RashadZ says:

    The best free pixel art software to use is MS.Paint and then use Paint.net to make transparent backgrounds.

  87. lego9city6 says:

    i love it

  88. Sosasees says:

    I make my Graphics myself

  89. hellatze says:

    Use gimp instead.

    Its fking free

  90. Ray Schwarz says:

    Ty ! 🙂

  91. Yorkarenka says:

    You pack a lot of valuable info into your videos without faffing around. I was wondering why you didn't have more subs, then noticed that your channel is still very young. Keep at it, guys, I'm sure this will eventually blow up and become reference. Thank you for all the tips.

  92. Tom van de Merbel says:

    Another way to go is to search for assets you like in an asset store and then commission the creator to do some custom made assets.

  93. YeloPartyHat says:

    Thanks for the videos. Both inspiring and helpful!

  94. Silk Worm says:

    4:50 where can I find an example of one of these say for a fighting game moveset?

  95. avem musica says:

    Can you make GameMaker2 tutorials on 2D belt side scrollers and 2D shumup? Thank you.

  96. mrEkli says:

    I see recommendations for GIMP all the time but I find it hard to use. I use Krita instead.

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