Which pixel art software do I use?

So I’ve been pushing pixels for a while now and while I wouldn’t say I’m good, I do have experience with some of the different software. When creating pixel art in the past for something like Pixel Dailies I’ve used my iPad 2 and Pikaxi or my iPhone and the Pixure app (which I cannot link for some reason.. it’s available on the app store though). These are great apps for making the occasional pixel art, or making pixel art on the go. For actual game asset development though, nothing beats sitting down in front of a good old fashioned computer. In my experience desktop software usually has more features, which allows me to be much more productive. Here I’ve listed some of my favorites.

My Favorites

Pyxel Edit

As mentioned in the journey begins I’ve been using Pyxel Edit to make tiles for my game. You can take a look at my first two live streams over on my YouTube channel, Phase Lock Studio, to get an idea of what that looks like. It’s sped up my workflow tremendously. Trying to create seamless pixel art tiles is slow and frustrating when you have to do it the old fashioned way, it impedes creativity because it breaks up you’re workflow. With Pyxel Edit you can draw onto a tile and see it mirrored in real-time onto adjacent tiles. So you get instant feedback on how your tiles look and fit together. This combined with the ability to make layers with different blending modes makes it an invaluable tool for mocking up scenes in your game too.

Pro Motion NG

This is truly professional grade software. I use products like Adobe Illustrator for my 9-5 and I can tell you if Adobe made pixel art software, this is what it would look like. It has A TON of features, all the ones you’d expect and then a lot of innovative ones you may have never even thought of… separate image/animation layers, indexed color palettes, animation brushes, the multi shade brush, an eraser mapped to the right click for easy erasing of pixels, and so much more. All these things simplify and speed up the workflow tremendously. It truly is a pleasure to work in. I cannot recommend it enough. Some people have complained that they don’t like the interface, I for one think it’s kickass. Especially with the dark theme. All the icons are hand-drawn and it’s little things like that that really let you know this software is a labor of love.

Others I Like

Aseprite

This was my go-to before switching to Pro Motion NG. It’s really good, and I dig the pixel art aesthetic. I also dig the color picker in Aseprite. You can switch between complementary, split-complementary, monochromatic, triadic and more! A lot of people use this program and it’s with good reason. I just feel like feature-wise, Pro Motion NG just has much more to offer at the moment.

Marmoset Hexels 3

Shout out to Mark Knight AKA @GrimWillows if you want to see what’s possible in this software just take a look at some of the work he’s created. Amazing stuff.

I really, really like this software. You’ve got it’s trademark hexels along with your choice of pixel and vector linework, all rolled into one evolving, fantastic piece of software. I’m actually hoping to use this for asset creation in my current game. If I don’t get the chance I’d definitely like to use it on my next project.