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There are similar questions about finding existing resources that are free for use (free sprites/images, music, sound), but I'm interested in creating the resources myself. What tools do you use for asset creation/modification?


Please only put one tool per answer. Also try to include the following information:

Product Name

Link to website

Type of assets is can create (2D images, 3D images, audio, etc)

OS(s) supported

Cost

License (if free/open source)

General summary

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, those of you in the "audience", upvote each of the tools you use so that hopefully the top answers will be the most widely used tools. (and perhaps downvote ones that you don't recommend? I dunno) \$\endgroup\$ – Ricket Jul 14 '10 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1, too broad a scope \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Aug 5 '10 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, it would benefit from being at least broken out into different subquestions (2d art, 3d art, music, sound effects) \$\endgroup\$ – Kaj Aug 5 '10 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Definitely needs to be multiple questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Cyclops Aug 6 '10 at 3:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Closing it for now, the community can vote to reopen it if they really want. I would think separate questions would be more useful (assuming they start in community wiki form). \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Aug 6 '10 at 7:49

32 Answers 32

23
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Product: Paint.NET

Website: http://www.getpaint.net/

Asset Types: 2D Graphics

OS: Windows

Price: Free

Licence: Paint.net License

Summary: Free alternative to Photoshop for basic tasks.

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Pain.NET? ouch. \$\endgroup\$ – davr Jul 14 '10 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Useful app if you can't afford anything else, but it has some interface quirks that make people who are used to Photoshop squirm! (ie. me ) \$\endgroup\$ – Nailer Aug 5 '10 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you can't afford or don't want to use Photoshop for any other reason, Paint.NET is great for most tasks, and easier to use than Gimp, imho. Edit: I didn't see I was replying to a 7 year old comment. Please excuse the Necrophilia. \$\endgroup\$ – Christian Jul 13 '17 at 13:10
20
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Product: Audacity

Assets created: Audio

OS(s) Supported: Windows, Linux, Mac

License: GPL2

Summary: Lets you apply effects to an existing sound file, as well as record sounds from the sound card.

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20
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Product: Blender

Website: http://www.blender.org/

OS(s) Supported: Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, IRIX

License: Blender License http://www.blender.org/BL/

Summary: Powerful 3D modeller, renderer, animator and generally great 3D package.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any tutorials on Blender that you recommend? Found this one that I've gone through stromcode.com/2008/03/10/modelling-for-xna-with-blender-part-i but curious if there's any others! Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Bimini Road Jul 16 '10 at 21:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ blendercookie.com has many good tutorials. \$\endgroup\$ – thbusch Jul 27 '10 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ blenderartists.org has a forum section full of tutorials. \$\endgroup\$ – Exilyth Mar 9 '13 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ It should be noted that Blender has some really weird (read complicated) controls, i'm sure it makes sense when you've learned it 100%, but other programs like Maya or 3ds max (paid programs) makes sense from the start and takes like a minute before you're getting the hang of it. \$\endgroup\$ – user2267175 Jun 15 '17 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ More recently, Blender Stack Exchange for specific help. \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Jul 12 '17 at 21:25
18
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Inkscape

http://www.inkscape.org

2D / vector graphics

Linux / OSX / Windows

free

GPL

very good and easy to learn svg editor

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17
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Gimp

http://www.gimp.org

2D / raster graphics

Linux / OSX / Windows

free

GPL

free photoshop alternative

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14
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Product: sfxr

Website: http://www.drpetter.se/project_sfxr.html

OS(s) Supported: Windows, Linux, Mac

Free

License: MIT

Summary: Provide a simple means of generating basic sound effects.

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11
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Tiled

http://mapeditor.org/

2D tile map editor

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Open source, GNU GPLv2

General purpose 2D tile map editor. Supports orthogonal and isometric maps, pixel-perfect object placement, layers, undo/redo, multi-tile "stamps".

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6
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Adobe CS5 Master Collection

https://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/html/index.cfm?event=displayProduct&categoryOID=4244037&store=OLS-US

Design, textures, video, audio.

Win, OSX

$2599

Commercial, has a free trial

Comprehensive package that has Photoshop and Illustrator for both vector and raster imagery/design work. After effects for video post production. Premiere for video editing. Soundbooth for audio. Media Encoder for encoding videos, etc... Some of apps might not be best in their domain (You could buy SoundForge from sony instead of soundbooth, or Avid instead of Premiere), but it is very well rounded for that price.

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6
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Autodesk 3dsmax

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?siteID=123112&id=13567410

3D

Win

$3495

Commercial, has a free trial

Versatile 3D package. Strength lies in numerous 3rd party plugins and strong game development presence.

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4
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GraphicsGale

Site: http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/

2D Pixel Art

Windows

Free version, and Commercial version.

GraphicsGale is a fantastic 2D Pixel Editor. The commercial version supports editing cursors and animated GIFs but for game development the free version is perfectly fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Snap, didn't see your reply quick enough \$\endgroup\$ – Spidey Jul 14 '10 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries. There's bound to be some overlap when people are looking up info :) \$\endgroup\$ – Casey Wagner Jul 15 '10 at 0:13
4
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Sculptris ( previosuly Tomas Pettersson, now Pixologic )

http://sculptris.com/download.html

3D Modelling/painting

Windows

Free(!)

Sculptris is a one man project that has recently been aquired by Pixologic ( Makers of Z-Brush ) Direct download link from Pixologic's home page:

http://download.pixologic01.com/download.php?f=Sculptris/sculptris.zip

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3
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Autodesk Maya

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?siteID=123112&id=13577897

3D and to an extent 2D (via paint)

Win, OSX, Linux

$4090

Commercial, has a free trial

Versatile 3D package that has almost everything in it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You can get a student version at students.autodesk.com - I'm not sure if there are any legal restrictions on it regarding rights to publish any work produced with it though. \$\endgroup\$ – InfernoZeus Jul 15 '10 at 1:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Last time I looked Maya PLE saved its files as encrypted blobs that can't be loaded by anything other than Maya PLE (including real Maya). \$\endgroup\$ – coderanger Aug 5 '10 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @coderanger there is no Maya PLE anymore. There is only a 30-day trial. \$\endgroup\$ – Keyframe Aug 6 '10 at 12:14
2
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Paint Tool SAI

http://www.systemax.jp/en/sai/ & http://sai.detstwo.com/sai/ (English downloads)

2D Images

Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista

5250 JPY (~$60US)

Fast, inexpensive painting software with excellent tablet support.

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2
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Product Name:
Particle Designer

Type of assets is can create (2D images, 3D images, audio, etc)
Particle systems to use in Cocos2d iPhone

OS(s) supported
Mac OS X

Cost
$7.99

License (if free/open source)
Commercial

General summary
Lets you create particle systems with a GUI for the parameters and real-time preview. A nice bonus is the shared user library, which features a great collection of systems to use as a starting point.

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2
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Autodesk Mudbox

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?siteID=123112&id=13565063

3D texturing and Surface detailing

Win, OSX

$745

Commercial, has a free trial

Detailing which can be exported as normal maps. Also great for texturing.

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2
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Luxology Modo

http://www.luxology.com/store/modo/

3D modeling / painting

Win, OSX

$995

Commercial, has a trial

3D modeling application. Strong modeling tools.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Best 3D modeling software alternative to Autodesk products. \$\endgroup\$ – Inisheer Mar 15 '13 at 14:16
1
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Tile Studio

Site: http://tilestudio.sourceforge.net/

2D Tile Mapping tool

Windows

Free, Open Source

Lets you import a texture map, create tiles and assemble levels from them, then export code blocks in the language you develop in. A very useful tool for tile-based game development.

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1
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Pixelmator

http://www.pixelmator.com/

2D Graphics

Mac OS X only, the latest version only supports Snow Leopard

$59

Commercial with trial available

Photoshop alternative with very nice UI.

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1
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3D-Coat

http://www.3d-coat.com/

3D Models and UV-mapped textures

Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Mac OS 10.4.5 (Intel) or later

$285 Professional / $140 Educational

Unique and relatively inexpensive sculpting modeller with UV mapping, retopology, and painting.

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1
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Ogmo Editor

http://ogmoeditor.com/

2D tile map editor.

Runs on Adobe AIR.

Freeware / Donationware

The author asks for a donation if you profit from using it.

2D tile map editor with an XML-based project setup. You define your tilesets, layers and grid sizes in XML. This way all the maps you create for a particular project will have a common internal structure and same tilesets. Also supports separate object layers for added flexibility.

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1
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Allegro Sprite Editor

http://www.aseprite.org/

2D pixel art and animation

Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Open Source

GNU GPLv2

Supports layers, animation, various effects using convolution matrices, onion skinning, alpha channel, paletted and truecolor images.

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1
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CrazyBump

http://www.crazybump.com/

Creates normal maps, spec maps, ambient occlusion data, etc. from flat textures.

Windows

$299 per seat for commercial use (volume discounts available)

Commercial, has demo available

CrazyBump is the de-facto way of creating normal maps given just straight materials. Has a lot of adjustment sliders that you can tweak in real time. The video on the web site gives a good impression of its capabilities.

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1
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Cfxr

Its original purpose was to provide a simple means of getting basic sound effects into a game for those people who were working hard to get their entries done within the 48 hours and didn't have time to spend looking for suitable ways of doing this.

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1
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Wings3D

Link: http://www.wings3d.com/

Use: Used for creating 3D models as well as skinning.

OS: Windows/Linux/Mac

License: Free, Open Source

Summary: Wings3D is a sub-division modeler which will allow you to create and skin 3D assets.

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1
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Graphics Gale

http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/

2D Pixel art

Windows

Free version and Paid version (don't need any of the paid features to makes complete sprites)

2D pixel art tool, great for creating animated sprites.

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0
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Milkshape

3D models, quite easy interface. Not for pros, I guess. Good for programmers.

http://chumbalum.swissquake.ch/ms3d/download.html

Win

Free

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The .ms3d format is an easy one to implement too, for those of you that want to write your own model importer/exporter. You can find the C header file definition of the format online. \$\endgroup\$ – Ricket Jul 17 '10 at 5:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you can find a ms3d reader for playstation, even. \$\endgroup\$ – Gorkem Pacaci Jul 21 '10 at 20:56
0
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AC3D - www.inivis.com

Assets: 3D

OS: Windows, Mac OSX & PPC, Linux

Cost: $79.95 ($20 to add 2nd PC, site/network volume license available)

License: n/a

Summary:

  • Drag & drop to move and resize models
  • Create smooth shapes from simple underlying models
  • Unwrap and map images with texture coordinate editor
  • 2D/3D text from TrueType fonts for logos, labeling, dimensions, etc.
  • Boolean operations to cut, interset, and join shapes
  • As many views as you want
  • Spin, fly, and walk-around navigation during creation
  • Wrap and bridge non-similar objects
  • Polygon reduction to reduce polygon count while retaining shape
  • Grab window image to paste into another program
  • Name each object and attach text strings
  • Grouping objects into hierarchy
  • Huge range of output/input formats

More

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0
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Acorn

http://flyingmeat.com/acorn/

2D Graphics

Mac OS X

Free / $49.95 for advanced features

"The image editor for humans." Pretty simple, but powerful enough for many normal image tasks. Pay features include: Bézier Curve tool, Layered Screen Shots (really nice), Clone Tool, Levels, plugins, and more.

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0
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Genetica (Spiral Graphics)

http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/genetica.htm

2D - Texture creation tool

OS: Windows

Cost: $149-$899, Demo available

Tool for creating seamless tiling textures (synthesized from photos, or procedurally generated), normal maps, and HDRI environment maps

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0
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Maxon Cinema4D

http://www.maxon.net/

3D

Win, OSX

$995 for core $2495 for XL and $3695 for studio bundle.

Commercial, has a free trial

Versatile 3D package. Bodypaint3D included in more expensive packages was considered best 3D paint package for quite some time.

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