We all yearn for the days when we were playing 8- or 16-bit games on our consoles. A lot of use even took this a step further and used modern emulators to play old-school games. However, if you are a more artistic type, creating pixel image might be your best bet.
Online you can find dozens of automatic generators of pixel art which automatically turn your image into pixels. If you want to go one step further, you can use apps to draw your own images, pixel-by-pixel.
What is pixel art?
One question you might have before you start generating pixel art is its definition. Pixel art is digital art based on creating images on the pixel level. Usually, artists use software to automatically turn image into pixel art, called pixel art generators. Pixel art started with the end of the era of 8-bit and 16-bit computer and video game consoles.
Check out more in this YouTube video:
Without further ado, here are the 10 best pixel art generators available.
Top 10 AI Pixel Art Generators Review
PixelMe lets you convert your photos into pixel art. It is an easy-to-use and free pixel art generator with an interesting web design in the style of pixels. However, it makes it all the more difficult to use. You can start by simply uploading an image from your PC, selecting pixel size, and letting the AI process the image. Additionally, PixelMe is available for your mobile devices, both on Google Play and App Store.
- Easy to use
- Available on mobile devices
- Website difficult to use due to the pixel design
- Lack of advanced settings
- No bulk settings
PixilArt is a rather advanced free online pixel art generator. You start by uploading an image you want to turn into pixels. Then you can choose from a plethora of basic tools, from adding text and shapes, to painting, adding patterns, and even using a stamp tool. Its editor is like Photoshop, but a lot more primitive. PixilArt also runs contests in which you compete with other designers for luck with your pixel art. In addition, you can upload GIF and turn these into pixels.
- Good image editor
- Supports GIFs
- Awesome community
- Includes tutorials
- No bulk editing
- No available for mobile devices
Unorthodoxically, Pixel Art Maker has no homepage to my knowledge. When you open the website, you are immediately redirected into a full-screen editor. The pixel art editor allows you to select shapes, draw lines and with a pencil, erase, add colours, and use various grids. While it is not the most sophisticated image editor, it certainly gets the job done. I didn’t like the enormous canvas which opens right at the beginning, leaving you slightly overwhelmed until you realize what is going on.
I tried using it, but it did not even upload my images.
- Easy to use
- Has a few tools to edit your images
- Lacks additional information
- Not HTTPS secured
- It didn’t work for me
- No bulk editing
Minecraft is everyone’s favourite RPG. Minecraft Image Converter is a simple online pixel art generator based on this game. This tool helps you create an image from Minecraft block which you can then replicate in the game. Consequently, the largest uploaded image can be 256 blocks (pixels) high. Once the conversion completes, you can perform additional edits to the image and even replace some blocks based on your liking.
- Great for Minecraft fans
- Works very fast
- Allows editing
- Max height is 256 blocks
Piskel is a free online editor for animated sprites and pixel art. What is more, everything you create in Piskel can be used for commercial projects, including games you might be developing. For not, Piskel does not exist in an app form; however, this might come in the future.
Moreover, if your browser crashes, Piskel saves all your progress in its cloud, enabling you to recover your lost content. A few additional features include live preview, Google sign-in, offline version, private gallery, and exporting to gif and png.
- Excellent for game developers
- Cloud saving option
- Free for commercial use
- No mobile app
- The website gave me a headache due to numerous animations 🙂
As you can see from the thumbnail image, Pixelator is currently not available for sale due to issues with Paypal. However, if it ever comes back into business, it will be an awesome online pixel image generator for your needs. It allows you to convert real images into pixelated sprites, turn various art styles into pixel art, create your own style, and even build prototypes.
Not only that, but Pixelator also allows you to export to multiple formats, including PNG, BMP, JPG, GIF, and TIFF. It was available at a one-time purchase of $35 or $70 for Studio and Company licenses, consecutively.
- Free option
- Convert real images into pixelated art
- Create prototypes
- Currently out of business
- Company license quite expensive
Dinopixel is a simple online free pixel art maker. It immediately loads an intuitive image editor, which allows you to mirror the elements, erase various elements, change the background, and pick colours. Once you are happy with your result, you can download the converted image.
While you cannot upload your own images, Dinopixel allows you to use predesigned models, which are based on popular games, such as Super Mario and Minecraft.
- Simple to use
- Various predesigned art forms
- Free to use
- Does not allow custom images
- No additional information
8. Pixel It
For any advanced users, Pixel It has its own API with several input parameters.
- Has API
- One page website
- No community
- Lacks image editor
Aseprite is an online pixel art generator with both free and premium version, which costs US$19.99. Create by David Capello, it is available for Windows, macOS, Ubuntu and on Steam.
In the simplest terms, Aseprite helps you create 2D animations for videogames, from sprites to retro-style graphics, pixel art, and everything in between that falls into the 8-bit and 16-bit world. You get a workspace, workflow, sprite edit options, such as resize, colour mode and profile, and onion skinning.
- Good support
- The paid version is reasonably priced
- The interface is actually quite old
- Takes some time learning to use the app
10. Adobe Pixelate
Adobe Pixelate is a free online image editor, which you can use to make pixelated images in just a few seconds using filters, editing tools, and several other features to create art that you like.
Generating your own pixelated art is pretty simple: Start by uploading a JPG or PNG image, then choose a pixelation effect, adjust the intensity and pixel size, and finally download your image.
- It is Adobe – it works great
- Great settings options
- You need to sign in to use certain features
1. How do I turn a picture into pixel art?
Unless you are well-versed in software creation, you can use any free available or a paid software called pixel art generator to create pixel art (image) online. Some artists also choose to create them by hand, using Photoshop or Paint-like programmes to fill in canvas manually.
2. How to create pixel art online?
You can use several online pixel art generators to create pixel art online. You start by uploading the image you would like to convert to pixel art, then choose the pixel size, additional options such as colour modes, and then download the image.
3. How to create pixel art in Photoshop?
- Create a new image and set the width and height to only a few dozen pixels.
- Use a hard brush to avoid getting blurry lines.
- Draw the brush around, drawing the image you had in mind.
- Save the image as a png or a jpg.
Find out more in this video tutorial:
There are several freely available online pixel art generators, each offering a different toolset. Which one you choose, depends on your needs. Do you want to convert your image into pixel art? Choose PixelMe. Do you want to draw pixel art? Choose Photoshop. Do you want to create intricate pixel animations for your game? Use Piskel.
Hopefully, you will find at least one app that will fit your needs, and considering the variety of the apps listed, I am certain you will. Use these apps to create your own games or simply reminiscence about the past and the pixel game era.