Best Pixel Art Software for 2021

If your interested in making your own pixel art or games you'll need a pixel art program to get started. We have a list of the best pixel art software for creating pixel art for graphics as well as games. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

What is a Pixel Art Editor?

A pixel art editor is special type of software used by artists to create 2D pixel also known as sprites. Once created these pixel art images can be used for several purposes such as photos for social media and 2D sprites for video games.

Check our list of pixel art software below:

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a photo editing software actively developed by Adobe for creating and enhancing images. Because of its extensive tool set, it has become a very popular pixel art editor for creating sprites as well. It comes with all the tools you need to delete, edit, add and paint pixels. It also ships with great export options and resizing tools so that you can share your pixel art and use them in video games. Since the software is subscription based, you will also get periodic updates that include new features and bug fixes. The program can be used for personal and commercial projects.

Features:
  • Full Featured Pixel Art Editor for Adding, Editing, Deleting and Painting Pixels
  • Can be used for Personal and Commercial Projects
  • Tools for resizing pixel art to different scales
  • Multiple Export Formats including .JPG and .PNG
  • Large Community of Pixel Artists For Support
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS
Price: Starts at $9.99/Month
Get Photoshop: Download Adobe Photoshop

Interested in learning Photoshop? Check out our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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Aseprite

Aseprite

Aseprite is a powerful pixel editing software developed by Igara Studio for creating pixel art and animated sprites. Like Photoshop, it also supports tools for creating and editing pixel art images. However Aseprite was designed exclusively for pixel art so it does have some features in the software you won't find anywhere else, like a built in timeline tool for creating animated sprites. Some other huge features include the ability to create repeatable tiles for games like platformers and Shading tools to help give your pixel art a 3D asthetic. Because of these features and more, Aseprite has become a very attractive pixel art software for game developers. There is a free trial that comes with all the functionality that can be downloaded from there website. If you want to save the files however there is a one time fee.

Features:
  • Full Fledged Pixel Art Editor with the ability to Add, Edit, Delete and Paint pixels
  • Built in Shading and Color Palette tools for designing professional pixel art images
  • Timeline Editor for creating Sprite Animations
  • Tiling tools for creating repeatable pattern and tile sprites
  • Great export options including sprite sheets for gaming
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS
Price: Free Trial (no save), $19.99
Get Aseprite: Download Aseprite

Interested in learning how to use Aseprite? Try out our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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Piskel

Piskel

Piskel is a free online editor for animated sprites & pixel art. Like Aseprite, Piskel was designed for pixel art and therefore makes it easy to pickup and all the tools you encounter in the editor are related to pixel art. One of its srong points is the animation editor, with live preview and animated GIF exports. And since the editor is based online, you can save your files online and access them anywhere you have access to a browser.

Features:
  • Full Featured Pixel Art Software for creating pixel art images
  • Store images online for access anywhere
  • Run the editor on any browser
  • Free to Use
Supported Platforms: Browser Based (macOS, Windows, Linux)
Price (Desktop): Free
Get Piskel: Download Piskel

Want to learn how to create pixel art using Piskel? View our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a professional vector graphics editor created by Adobe Inc. for macOS, Windows and Linux. Originally designed to make vector graphics, Illustrator has grown to be a favorite amongst pixel artists as well because of the ability to scale pixel art up with ease. Once pixel art is made inside of Illustrator artists can take advantage of the dozens of tools and features Illustrator has to offer. Illustrator is also very friendly with artists and developers alike with multiple export formats to meet a variety of project needs.

Features:
  • Full Fledged Vector Editing Software
  • Support for creating scalable pixel art
  • Virtually unlimited size
  • Dozens of tools and features
  • Multiple export formats
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS
Price: Starts at $9.99/month
Get Illustrator: Download Adobe Illustrator

Want to learn how to make pixel art with Illustrator? View our free Illustrator Pixel Art Tutorials!
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Pro Motion

Pro Motion

Pro Motion is a pixel drawing and animation software designed by Cosmigo for creating pixel art. Because Pro Motion was designed specifically for pixel art all tools and features in the program are pixel art related. This makes it perfect for artists and developers who don't want the extra features of other software that are not pixel related. Pro Motion comes with awesome features including animation layers, tile map engine, onion skinning and tile drawing tools. Pro Motion is available for Free with a limited feature set or a one time price for all the features.

Features:
  • Complete Pixel Art Editor for creating, editing and painting pixel art
  • Tile Map Engine for making Level Maps
  • Onion Skinning for Animation Creation
  • Tile and Pattern Drawing Tools
Supported Platforms: Windows
Price: Free (Limited Features), $39.00 (Full Features)
Get Pro Motion: Download Pro Motion

Ready to learn how to create pixel art with Pro Motion? Check out our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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Krita

Krita

Krita is a professional open source painting program by the Krita Foundation. Similar to other powerful photo editors and its wide selection of tools, Krita has become a great option for creating and exporting high quality pixel art images. In addition to the common tools you would expect, Krita also provides the ability to animate your sprites making it a great choice for game artists who need to ship their artwork to a game engine like Unity. Since Krita is an open source software, bug fixes and feature requests are added in regularly.

Features:
  • Full Featured Painting Program with the ability to create pixel art images
  • 100's of Brush Types for creating artwork
  • Support for Vector Graphics
  • Built in Animation Studio
  • Free to Use for Commercial and Personal
Supported Platforms: macOS, Windows, Linux
Price: Free
Get Krita: Download Krita

Want to learn how to create pixel art using Krita? View our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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GIMP

GIMP

GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for macOS, Windows and Linux. Because it is free and open source it has become one of the community's favorite software for making pixel art. GIMP is a great choice for pixel art creation because it includes the common tools for adding, erasing and coloring pixels. And best of all it free to use for personal and commercial projects. Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, GIMP provides you with advanced tools to get your projects done. You can also customize GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.

Features:
  • Full Fledged Pixel Art Software with the ability to Add, Edit, Delete and Paint pixels
  • Huge feature set including instance cloning and delinking, non destructive rotation, translation, flipping, object alignment and snapping
  • 256x256x256 Build Area
  • Apple Pencil support with pressure sensitivity
  • 240 Color swatches with individual alphas
  • 24-bit RGB color with 8-bit transparency
Supported Platforms: iOS, macOS (coming soon)
Price: Free
Get GIMP: Download GIMP

Want to learn how to make pixel art with GIMP? View our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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Paint.NET

Paint.NET

Paint.NET is an open source image and photo editing software for PCs that run Windows. Because of its large feature set, it makes it particulary fit for pixel art design. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. Because of its open-source nature it fosters a active and growing online community that provides help, tutorials, and plugins. Best of all its free to download and use.

Features:
  • Complete Pixel Art Editor for creating, editing and painting pixel art
  • Open Source and Free to Use for Personal and Commercial Projects
  • Large Community that provide tutorials, help and plugins
Supported Platforms: Windows
Price: Free
Get Paint.NET: Download Paint.NET

Ready to learn how to make pixel art with Paint.NET? Check out our free Pixel Art Tutorials!
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