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Free and libre image editors

There is plenty of open-source image and photo editing applications that fits the need, to name a few:

Bitmap image editors

  • GIMP — Fully-featured raster graphics image editor available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. With version 2.8, the user interface may be used in single-window mode, hardware-acceleration is being added, and in future releases, higher bit-depth support will be added.
    ✅️ Recommended;
  • Krita — Originally intended for photo-editing, Krita is now intended much more as a painting tool, although it is still suitable for both. Has support for high bit depths.

Vector image editors

Free and libre image converters

Tools to convert to CRN or DDS

While most graphics application that is worth using can export natively to PNG, JPEG, and TGA, most applications currently cannot export directly to DDS. Converters and plug-ins are available, however:

Tools to convert to WebP format

The WebP formats begin to be widely supported and editors like GIMP can edit them, many image viewers now support this format and in all case, web browsers can now display it.

  • cwebp is a WebP image converter by Google, ✅️ Recommended.
🚧️ TODO: Tutorials for lossy and lossless conversions.

Tools to convert to PNG format

Information 48x48.png


ImageMagick's convert tool was previously recommended but it became unreliable with time, especially at converting from TGA which is a format that is used a lot in idTech 3 games and engines projects (it was the default format for Quake 3), and which is a format produced by many tools we use (like Q3map2) so we need a reliable TGA to PNG converter, something ImageMagick's convert is not.

There is currently no recommended tool to convert to PNG format.

🚧️ TODO: PNG optimizers.

Recommended image formats

Those are recommended image formats to be used in source repositories and in game to be delivered to players, and related tools.

Purpose Kind Format Tool
Source Bitmap PNG GIMP
Source Vector SVG Inkscape
Purpose Kind Format Tool
Release Generic image CRN Crunch (with -noNormalDetection)
Release Normal map Normalized CRN Crunch (with -rtopmip option)
Release Skybox lossy WebP cwebp
Release Lightmap, deluxemap lossless WebP cwebp
See also Formats/Image.