So, you are looking for pixel art programs help you to make pixel art. I use Photoshop and Pyxel Edit, but there are lots of free and commercial tools for making pixel art. Such as Pro motion, GraphicsGale, Pixen, Aseprite. You can also check them. In this post, I’ll talk about why I’m using Photoshop and Pyxel Edit.
Probably, most of you heard of Photoshop. It’s expensive, it looks bit complicated and has more features than you may need to make pixel art. However, when you get use to it, there is no limit. Not just for pixel art, but for all kinds of arts you can use Photoshop. It is so popular that you can find tons of tutorials. Compared to other pixel art programs, in basic, there is not much difference. Almost all of them have basic features like layers, export options etc. However, If you want to polish your pixel art, you can use Photoshop’s extensive features like blending options, effects, masks. It is a perfect program, but for me, using layers as frames makes difficult to animate. To animate and create tilesets, I prefer Pyxel Edit. Here are some tutorials for making pixel art in Photoshop.
Unlike Photoshop, Pyxel Edit specifically made for pixel art. It is easy to use and cheap ( 9 bucks ). Currently, it is in Beta stage. The updates aren’t frequent, but it is still very usable and solid. If you want to make tilesets, for me, there is no better tool for this job. Also making animations with Pyxel Edit easier than Photoshop. Besides, I like the color section. When you select a color, it generates shades for selected color. This feature is very handy to use colors effectively.
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Edit: I start to use Aseprite instead of Pyxel Edit. It gets more update and have more features.