Finding Art for Your Game

If you're new to creating games you'll often have two early challenges: learning to write code and creating or getting access to game art (2D or 3D characters and props, sound effects, music, icons, etc).  It's unethical, and illegal, to simply take what you find on the internet without being sure that the creator permits you to use it.  There are ways to find assets that are "royalty free" or which are provided under a license that will permit you to use them in your game (sometimes, with restrictions).  This list should get you started, but I encourage you to learn more about the subject of assets licenses, royalty free assets, and communities that share assets.  Note that many game engines have integrated asset stores (like Stencyl and Unity, for example) where you can find free and inexpensive assets designed to work with that engine.

Last updated 8/23/14.
Name Art Types Description
Creative Commons Search A wide variety of art and other digital resources  CC develops, supports, and stewards many of the licenses which you'll see being used on other sites.  Here they provide a search engine to find CC content.  Familiarize yourself with the different CC licenses - it's very useful knowledge
Wikimedia Commons general media collection, mostly pictures A wide variety of images made available by photographers and illustrators, browse by type.  Note the license. 2D and 3D art, music, sound fx, and tutorials Browse and download art, submit art, chat on the forums - this site is a great resource in general.  Note the license type before you use to make sure you comply.
Game Art Guppy 2D characters, props, and backgrounds GameArtGuppy was created by Vicki Wenderlich to give game devs who can't afford custom art an easy way to find and use free and inexpensive art.
Backyard Ninja 2D characters, including many great sprite animations.  2D tile sets as well. Created by the Backyard Ninja and provided free for commercial use, provided you give him credit.
Lost Garden 2D characters and tiles Another generous game artist providing some great 2D assets to the community.
Sithjester's RMXP Resources 2D characters, tiles, and icons with an RPG focus (great for use with RPG Maker XP) Making an RPG?  You'll want to check out these great characters.  Be sure to give credit!
Reiner's Tilesets 2D and 3D art, sound fx, tutorials A bounty of free resources! If you use any for commerical purposes be sure to credit Reiner “Tiles” Prokein. You can modify them to fit it to your needs as well in case you need a starting point to customize your art.
TIGSource Assemblee Competition 2D and 3D art, music, sound fx Art created for the TIGSource Assemblee Competition, now made available for non-commerical projects when credited to the creator. 2D icons Over a thoustand free icons for your game project.  Note the link on the right to the CC license by which they're provided.
Open Soundtracks & Spritesheets 2D art and animations, music Funded by public contributions, these artists made their work public domain.  A great idea, and great art for your project.
Cartoon Smart 2D sprites, tutorials, and bundles Not free, but these high quality packages are low cost and royalty free for personal and commercial projects.
3D Warehouse 3D models created with Google Sketchup Millions of free 3D models, be sure to note the license in the "Terms of Use" section, item #7.
Blend Swap 3D assets created in Blender Over 12,000 3D assets from Blender users, free for personal and commercial use.
CGTextures 2D textures, great for texturing 3D objects A enormous collection of 2D textures, categorized.  Note the license in the "About" section.
TurboSquid 3D vehicles, characters, props, etc Provides some free downloads, but primarily sells 3D assets.
Lucky Lion Royalty-free music Not free, but $10 or less will get you royalty-free music.  Preview tracks on the website before buying.
Free Sound music and sound effects A collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds.
Incompetech music Royalty free music catalog with a search engine.
Google Blogoscoped 2D characters 700 fantasy-themed avatar images avaialble under CC Attribution 3.0 license.
Free Game Arts 3D models & animations, sound fx, textures, games, and tools A database where artists submit content with a free license.
Acid Fonts Fonts Tons of free fonts, categorized.  Note that they separate the free fonts from the commercial fonts.
Open Font Library Fonts Fonts that are free to use, share, and remix.
DaFont Fonts Tons of fonts, note the license above the download link for each font.
Dingbat Depot Dingbats (fonts that include images rather than letters) Generally free  for any personal use.  If you would like to use them in a commercial project please check the Readme file for usage rights.
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