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I would like to create pixel art graphics for an iPhone game on my mac, and I'm wondering what are some good programs I should look into.

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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think the main features you're after are:

  1. Being able to paint with a non-antialiased pencil or brush.
  2. Nearest neighbour scaling (keep blocky things blocky when you scale).
  3. Non-antialiased selections.
  4. Layers.
  5. Being able to export the formats you'll need (PNG? GIF?).

Based on that criteria, I'd highly recommend Photoshop, predominately using the Pencil Tool — it does exactly what you're after, letting you paint non-antialiased pixels easily. It also has some other tools that might be handy, like posterisation.

Acorn would be my second option on the Mac. It has a pencil tool that's similar to Photoshop, as well as nearest neighbour scaling (if you need it). It's also far cheaper and available on the Mac App Store, if that's a concern.

Both Photoshop and Acorn have the full list of features above.

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There are so many good software to work around.

If you can afford adobe you should go for Photoshop and fireworks they both works awesome for pixels.

You can check these links also they are dedicated to complete game pixel work...

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ASESPRITE is good, in my opinion.

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Hi Luis, welcome to GD.SE! Asesprite does look good, but do you think you can maybe add some information about it in the answer? (For example: Have you used it? If so, why did you find it better than others?). We try to include as much in the answers as we can :) –  Yisela Jul 31 '13 at 20:34
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Take a look at Sketch. It has made big strides toward being your next favorite UI tool.

It's vector based but supports raster export. It supports a pixel preview mode similar to Illustrator but I think it does a better job with the vector to pixel output conversion overall.

enter image description here

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There is always a free alternative Paint.NET. It is essentially MSPaint but with great many tools borrowed from PS and other image editing applications.

It has an option to use Anti-Aliased or Pixeled edges.

I always have it since it's light weight and has some good options, that other programs either don't have and/or are difficult to execute.

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Some Options:

  • Adobe Fireworks (my recommendation if you can afford it)
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Pixelmator (though a lack of nearest neighbor scaling is a big detriment)
  • The Gimp
  • Pixen (looks like it's designed just for pixel art)
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