Disclaimer: Aseprite is a paid software and you should buy it to support its developers. It’s 15$ and can be purchased for Windows, macOS and Linux, as well as Steam. You can use this method to inspect the source code and try to help with development, or to try the software. There is also a free trial in their website.
Building Aseprite from Github
Aseprite is the best pixel art tool I have come across, and has a very affordable price if you just want to test the waters of pixel art. However, should you want to help tackle some of the issues on the project’s repository, you need to compile the program to inspect your changes.
I went through this process on my Windows and Linux machines, and I must say that the experience was wildly different, even if the process is very similar. I am currently using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Before beginning, please note that the full install instructions can be found in the project’s repo.
First, you should clone the repository in a directory of your choice, such as
This will create an
aseprite directory. You can later update this clone with new releases by running:
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There are three main dependencies for Aseprite:
Note that for Windows, you need Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2019, as well as a [C++ SDK] for desktop development. The latter is an item to check in your Visual Studio installer, so make sure you have selected it.
Also, installing CMake on Windows was HORRIBLE and took quite a long time. In Ubuntu, however, I was able to install all dependencies with a single command:
Building Skia is also quite trivial on Linux. I was able to run all of the following commands without any errors or missing dependencies, unlike in Windows:
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These commands can also be found in the Aseprite documentation, so head there if you get stuck.
Compiling the code
After getting all the dependecies, create a new folder
build inside your
aseprite directory, and
cd into it. Afterwards, run
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In this last command,
cmakeneeds a different setup based on your OS. I will just outline the Linux process since I still get nightmares trying to install Clang, Google depot tools, CMake and Visual Studio in Windows. Feel free to look up the other ones in the installation guide.
Run this command on your Linux machine to build the source:
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When your terminal finishes the previous task, just run Ninja inside the
build directory and you will have your executable in
That should be it! Run your Aseprite executable and you should be greeted by the clean interface of the software. Remember to actually purchase Aseprite if you are going to use it commercially or professionally.