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Free Texture Editing Software For Making Minecraft Texture Packs

Updated on April 15, 2011
How did I make this cow?
How did I make this cow? | Source

So you want to do some texture pack editing, but you don't own any high end image manipulation software. Are you just out of luck? No, you're not. When creating Minecraft texture packs you need an image editing program that can do the following things:

  • Handle Transparency

Many of the textures in Minecraft make use of transparency to allow the player to see through them. Blocks like doors, windows and leaves all make use of transparency. If you want to edit mob textures,transparency rears its head again. For this reason, MS Paint just won't cut the mustard. You're going to need something more advanced.

  • Pencil Function

Most applications have a pencil function, so this might seem like a redundant sort of thing to list, but whilst I'm here I'll mention that if you're using Photoshop and you can't find the pencil function, press and hold down the 'paintbrush' icon. You have the option to change the brush to a pencil there. Photoshop isn't free of course, but if you're considering abandoning the program in favor of something with a pencil function because you don't know how to find the pencil in Photoshop, then I just saved you some time.

The pencil function is important because it gives you precise control over the pixels. When you're working on a 16 x 16 pixel template, ever pixel counts and paintbrushes simply draw too wide a line (which tends to fade onto other pixels) to create crisp textures. That said, occasional judicious use of the paintbrush function can create some interesting effects.

Sumo Paint Online Image Editing

In my original article on the subject of making Minecraft texture packs, I recommended Sumo Paint, an online paint application however after further testing I realized that Sumo Paint simply does not allow for sufficient zooming. The default texures in Minecraft come in at 16 pixels tall and wide. You really need to be able to blow them up to 2000 - 2400 % in my humble opinion. Sumo Paint only enlarges to 1000 %, which is better than nothing, but not quite good enough. The only real benefit of this program is that it is an online paint program, so if for some reason you can't download anything onto a machine, you can edit them online.


Paint.NET is an excellent, entirely free and open source paint tool with very similar functionality to Photoshop. You can blow up images well over the 2000% mark, and it handles paint, erase and transparency functions very well indeed. If you're looking for a downloadable image editing program that's entirely free, this is the one I'd go with. Unlike other free image editing tools geared towards photo manipulation, Paint.NET is basically the love child of MS Paint and Photoshop and having used it extensively, I can recommend it highly. I've taken the liberty of linking directly to the download page as the official site enjoys playing 'guess the download button', which is obnoxious. Fortunately, the program isn't. Obnoxious, that is.


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