Sources for Public Domain/Creative Commons Assets (mostly audio and images)

Couldn’t find a similar post after searching, so made this one.

I try to use public domain/creative commons images and music in stuff I make (or anything else with a compatible license). There are a lot of places where you can find them, but they’re not always easy to find. So here’s a list:

Audio

  • Newgrounds - Mainly music. Can filter for ‘allowed for web use’ or ‘allowed to use commercially’. No account required to download.
  • Freesound - Sounds/sound effects and music. Can filter by CC/public domain/etc. Need an account to download.
  • Bandcamp - Has a variety of tags that people can put on their albums, including “creative commons” and “public domain”. Lets you filter by genre. I have a list of favorite CC Bandcamp albums I might put on here sooner or later. Downloading only requires an email.
  • Youtube - You can look up “royalty free” or “creative commons music” or something. To actually download it you’ll need an external tool like yt-dlp.
  • Soundcloud - You can filter for tracks that are free to use/modify commercially, since those are all CC. Downloading them (by clicking the button with three dots and then the ‘download file’ option, which isn’t always available) requires an account. You can also try a tool like Scloud Downloader (haven’t used it myself so don’t know if it works).
  • Internet Archive, music published before 1923: Public domain in the US. These are 78rpm vinyl and cylinder recordings, with a specific 1920s jazz vibe.

Sites I haven’t sorted through yet:

Images

  • Artvee - For public domain art; mostly illustrations and paintings, few photos (if any). Draws from a bunch of museums that put their public domain art up online, and if you search here it searches through all of them, effectively removing the need to search each museum’s site individually. A lot of landscape paintings, portraits and stuff.
  • Freepik - Professional photos, videos, and vector art. Can be used commercially and non-commercially, attribution required (source).
  • Pexels - Professional photos and videos. Can be used commercially and non-commercially, attribution optional (license).
  • Unsplash - Professional photos. Those under the Unsplash free license be used commercially and non-commercially, attribution optional (license). There are some photos under the Unsplash+ license that are watermarked and require a payment to remove the watermark and use, so I’m not counting them.
  • Wikimedia Commons - Public domain and creative commons photos. Some non-photos and gifs. Generally unprofessional and taken by random people, but can look good with some editing.

Sites I haven’t sorted through yet:

Audio and Images

  • Itch.io - Browse games with assets that are public domain or cc4-by. Full directory with all possible license filters here; you can filter for specific code licenses too. Or browse free asset packs (I saw mostly pixel art and music there, but I’m sure there’s other stuff too). Or browse free and royalty free soundtracks. Itch’s search function isn’t great so I think searching these filtered lists is impossible, but it’s a resource.
  • Pixabay - Professional photos, illustrations, videos, music, sound effects, and gifs (from the categories list on their website). Can be used commercially and non-commercially, attribution not required (license).
  • Soundimage - While searching on intfiction for any similar posts, I found this. Repository of free songs and texture images (e.g. textures of wood, stone, and so on). Potentially useful?
  • Kenny - Public domain game art and sound effects.
  • OpenGameArt - 2D/3D game art, music, and sound effects, under different CC licenses.

To Make Images Look Cooler

As a bonus.

  • Photomosh - Site that lets you apply effects to images and turn them into cool images or GIFs. (Think it watermarks the results now, but you can crop it out.)
  • Photopea - Browser-based Photoshop clone. You can do a lot of things that are possible in Photoshop, tweaking saturation and contrast and all that. Posterize and dither filters are some of my favorites.
  • I also have my own program I use to filter images for that glitchy look (sorry for shilling lmao), though it’s not very fun to use.

Other

  • Canva - Site that lets you easily create graphic designs with an expansive range of fonts and image assets to select from. Resulting designs can be used commercially or non-commercially without attribution (license). Has the advantage of being quick and easy to use, as opposed to Photopea or Photoshop. I know a lot of people on itch.io use it to make cover images for their games. (They have a premium feature that gives you more image assets to choose from and I think higher resolution, but the free version is easily usable on its own.)

I will probably add more to this later. Put your own sources below if you feel like it!

*Disclaimer: A lot of the sites that allow commercial and non-commercial use also have exceptions where e.g. you can’t use visibly trademarked content commercially or sell their content on its own commercially. But almost everyone here is making free games anyway.

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Unsplash is also pretty cool, free to use for both commercial and non commercial. Similarly with Pexels. Attribution is not always necessary but appreciated. Same as well with Canva (they have their own editors).
Some images/elements may be premium (you need to pay a fee/subscription).

Freepik requires attribution on use of their content unless you use their subscription. Also has premium elements.

FreemusicPublicDomain: https://www.freemusicpublicdomain.com/
Moby also released a bunch of sounds for free: https://mobygratis.com/
Free soundtrack music: https://www.freesoundtrackmusic.com/
Free Music Archive: Royalty free music and 'free to download' music - Free Music Archive
IMSLP (sheet music): IMSLP: Free Sheet Music PDF Download
FreePD: https://freepd.com/
Musopen: https://musopen.org/
Open Music Archive: http://www.openmusicarchive.org/
CPDL: ChoralWiki

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There’s also a #public-domain tag on itch.io.

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Top games with assets under Creative Commons Attribution v4.0 International - itch.io All the CCs have their tags. Same for code/engine too.

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Images

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The Noun Project is a free icon project with free and premium plans, now with photos too apparently.

Unsplash

Similar is Pixabay which also has music and other categories now.

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Thanks to everyone who put even more links into this thread! Do you think it would help if I added them to the first post too? (I also thought of putting it all on IFWiki or linking this post somehow, but it doesn’t seem like they have a category for links like this.)

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if you add the tag forum-wiki you every one can edit it (less work for you :wink: )

You could ask Hanon to have it pinned in this category otherwise?

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Alright, added the tag. You can put your links in now (thanks Manon!).

Edit: Apparently you had to go into the settings and make the post editable too, whoops. Should be actually editable now.

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My favorite source of public domain music is Internet Archive - here’s a collection of records from 1923 or earlier, which should be public domain in the US.

Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech (CC-BY) is a classic source of CC music.

Game assets:

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Thanks for making this topic KADW!

Reminds me too of Font Awesome for free icons.

Current version of Font Awesome (6), filtered for free icons:

Previous version of Font Awesome, filtered for free icons:

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