Crowd-Sourced or Public Domain Reference Photo Repository


New member
I was thinking about a small project on this thread that could grow depending on participation. The idea would be to take reference photos and upload them. The photograph subjects would be common objects or organisms that could then be manually turned into pixel art by all interested persons. The pixel art would not be part of the repository, but those who use them could share the results as they see fit.

The criteria would be that the subjects would need to be photographed from angles that would usable in typical NES game perspectives. Side views, isometric, and the top-downish angle found in typical adventure games (like LoZ, StarTropics, etc.). Animation sequences or multiple frames for them would be also be valued, but not always necessary. Emphasis would not be placed on high resolution, but on clarity and adherence to a standard perspective.

These photos would have to be taken by us or be obviously in the public domain (which includes some government photos or photos that are pre-1923). Stock photos, photojournalism, artwork, and random blog/social media photos would not be part of this repository. It would probably be beneficial if those contributing their own photographic works would allow for commercial and non-commercial uses of derivative even without attribution (which would still be appreciated but not necessary, whether in the forums, an external website, or game credits).

I think that toys and vehicles that should be accepted as valid subjects of the reference photos, as long as the brand identity is non-obvious. So yes to generic looking toy robot, no to a Transformer toy.

Just to let you know I am a very amateur photographer. We would have to share best tips for taking reference photos. So would this project be helpful to your sprite art creation? Would you contribute? Are there ideas that I am not considering that you would like to point out? What types of subjects would you like reference photos of (ex. people, animals, vehicles, buildings, plants, objects, geological features, etc.)?


  • horse galloping 1878.png
    horse galloping 1878.png
    672.7 KB · Views: 3,394
  • stegosaurus.png
    1.2 MB · Views: 3,378


This is a great idea Iridium, and it would give individuals a chance to practice their pixel artwork. It would be nice if your dinosuar was against a white wall, or you could try cropping it with


New member
Not a bad idea. I'd be willing to share my reference photos as I take them, if we figure out a place to upload them.
Top Bottom