(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr. Find out more at my newsletter.)
I haven’t posted one of these in a few months, so here’s the latest roundup of creative resources! I’ve added a few here and there, plus some game development tools.
- Pixabay – A source for art that is free as well as royalty-free. There’s a lot here, and much of it is professional.
- Unsplash – A source for photos that are free as well as royalty-free. The quality is very high.
- Canstockphoto – A great source for royalty-free art, photos, and more. Has a subscription system and a pay-more-get-more credit system.
- Shutterstock – The classic source for royalty-free art, photos, and more. Has both monthly and specific purchases available.
- The Noun Project – A fee or membership-based site for downloading a huge selection of royalty free icons! Once you pay for it or download it, it’s royalty-free! Useful for all sorts of projects
- Go On Write – Premade covers for books – pick one that looks right and the artist will change the title and author appropriately. A great bargain, and even has series of covers at discount! Will do custom work to.
- Paper and Sage – A reliable source of both premade and custom book covers.
- 3D Book Cover Design – Makes 3D Mockups of book covers.
- Canva – Book cover creator, though you will want to provide your own art if you don’t want to pay for rights to their stock photo. Also has other services.
- Midwest book review – Will review books for free, but it’s a matter of choice.
- Self Publishing Review – A classic paid review service (where a pool of reviewers is available) for books. Not always a guarantee of the best reviews of course, so you take your risks . .
- The Indie Review – A large, constantly-updated list of indie book reviewers.
- Color Tools – Plenty of useful online color tools.
- HTML Color Codes – Useful color tools, with a focus on web-focused colors.
- Material Palette – Useful tools for desginging palettes, finding icons, and locating specific colors
- Color At Adobe – A color theme creator that lets you create schemes, or even get one from a picture, and has a powerful interface.
- Color Calculator – A color scheme creator that also has useful advice and guides.
- Colormind – A color theme creator that creates schemes with simple clicking, or get one from a photo.
- Colors at Halfpixel – A simple palette creator (with a mobile option) with intuitive controls.
- Coolors – A useful and powerful color palette creator that’s easy to use and powerful.
- Huesnap – A palette repository and creation tool
- Mailchimp – Mailchimp may have some restrictions, but it’s the go-to for easy mailing list management, which is perfect for authors and artists. It also integrates well with other tools.
- LinkedIn – The classic business networking site, and pretty unavoidable for most professionals.
- Game Maker Studio – A powerful game creation tool, with free and paid options
- Unity – A popular, well-supported game creation tool, not only popular, but one with many tutorials available.
Interactive Fiction – Graphics
- Ren’py – A powerful game creation tool with an inclination to visual novels and life-sim, and capable of powerful customization.
Interactive Fiction – Text
- Choicescript – A choice-based game system, both for fun and used commercially.
- Twine – A web-based Interactive Fiction development tool with multiple options.
- RPG Maker – Game creation tools – the original was RPG focused, but the company has also expanded into Visual Novels.
- Chaotic Shiniy – A diverse source of generators in a variety of styles.
- Darkest of Nights – Fantasy-oriented generators.
- Donjon – Generators for a variety of genres and game systems, some of which provide graphics as well!
- Dropping-the-form – Generators for various settings.
- DunGen – A powerful dungeon generation tool!
- Eposic – Generators – among other imaginative efforts.
- Fantasy Name Generators – And there are a LOT of them here. About anything you could want, and a few you didn’t know you needed.
- Feath – Generators of various types, conveniently categorized.
- Generator Blog – Links out to many other generators.
- Generatorland – Lots of generators and generator tools.
- Mithril and mages – Generators for a variety of genres.
- Name Pistol – Band name generators.
- RanGen – Random generators, from fantasy to helpful writing tools.
- Serendipity – A generator site with some setting and name generators.
- Seventh Sanctum – A gigantic collection of generators founded in 1999, with a focus on writing and RPGs.
- Springhole.net – A site of generators and other creative tools.
- Squid.org – Home of a complex name generator with many, many options.
- The Force – A powerful name generator with multiple options.
- Art Rage – A painting-oriented digital art program supporting many operating systems, tools, and formats.
- Clip Studio – A comics, painting, and illustration tool with many options and features
- Mediabang – A comic and painting application that’s free and multiplatform!
- Paintstorm – A low-cost digital painting program with many advanced features.
Graphic Tools – Free
- Gimp – Aka The GNU Image Manipulation Program. A free, open source graphic tool that will take care of almost all of your graphic needs (barring a few limits like CYMK conversion and the like).
- Krita – A free graphic tool focused on professional workflows.
- Made With Mischief – A quick, free sketching and brainstorming tool.
- Sketchbook – A free sketching program.
Graphic Tools – Painting
- BlackInk – A painting program, focusing on stylistic work as opposed to realistic
- Pixemlator – A low-cost alternative to Photoshop for Mac, with lots of compatibility options
- 4 Ever Transit Authority – Ride the bus through randomly generated art deco cities. A great program to run in the background or on your TV or monitor to relax you while you create.
- Anomolies – A relaxing background display/artgame that creates surreal spacescapes, often with strange nebulas and sites that resembe anything from devices to lights to disturbing lifeforms.
- Becalm – A relaxing journey via sailboat through surreal worlds with a relaxing soundtrack and audio. Can be run for a few minutes or in a loop and you can switch between multiple settings.
- Panoramical – Available on Itch.io And Steam. Panoramical is an audio/visual remixer where you can tweak settings in multiple environments, turning them into audio/visual displays. Find your favorite setting, leave it on, and relax.
- Station To Station – A simulated train ride through imaginary environments. Run it in the background or through your television while you create to help relax you
- Adobe Portfolio – The popular porftolio site – that comes with many Adobe subscriptions.
- Artstation – Multimedia-focused portfolio and blog platform
- Format – A portfolio site with store services as well.
- Chartopia – A site with a huge and expanding amount of charts for RPGs, easily sortable and classified.
- ACX – Amazon’s self-publishing audio platform
- Audible – Another amazon audiobook publishing platform
- Findaway – A wide-ranging audiobook distribution service.
- Drive Thru Cards – Self-publishing for card games, both physical and downloads.
- Itch.io – Itch.io doesn’t just do games – it also allows for people to publish books, and is very open-minded.
- Kobo Writing Life – Distribute your eBook via Kobo
- Nook Press – Distribute your eBook via Nook
- Draft2Digital – A service that distributes to multiple eBook platforms.
- Smashwords – A wide-ranging ebook distribution service.
Physical And Ebook
- Ingram Spark – Ingram’s eBook and physical book publishing platform. Wide reach, but may require some setup fees and has some limitations.
- KDP – Amazon’s full-service print and Kindle publishing service. Warning, the eBook distribution is only through Amazon.
- Lulu.com – A print and eBook creation and distribution service.
- Drive Thru RPG – Self-publishing for RPGs, both downloadable and in print. Also supports related merch like calendars.
- Itch.io – Itch.io is a supportive, indie-oriented game store site. It also has a lot of self-published resources for game development, as well as supporting books of all kind.
- Squarespace – The popular website creator with many options.
- Weebly – Easy and simple to use website, blogs, and stores.
- Wix – A simple And effective website source, though paid options are reccomended.
- WordPress.com – The classic site, with free and paid options. Obviously blog-focused.
- Old Maps Online – A way to find and view old maps of the world. Great for research and imagining.
- Calibre – A free ebook creation tool.
- Jutoh – Not only converts your book to various ebook formats, it’s a powerful enough tool that you could even write books in it.
- LibreOffice – A full, free, open source office suite. Beyond the free price, it’s fantastic ad using ODT format and creating PDFs.
- Describing Words – Ideas for how to describe a given word.
- Dictionary.com – The classic online dictionary.
- Related Words – Helps find words similar to or related to one you’re using.
- Rhyme Zone – A tool to help you find rhyming words.
- Thesaurus.Com – The classic online thesaurus, with plenty of useful options and displays
- Wordsworth – A tool to see if words you’re using fit the time period you’re writing
- Scriviner – A writing tool that combines note taking, tracking, and writing into one application.
- Grammarly – A pricey but powerful service and software for checking grammar, spelling, and even plagarism if you need. There are free, limited options.
- Hemmingway – A grammar checking tool with both web and desktop versions.
- Pro Writing Aid – A subscription-based writing checker service/tool.