The CC0 or CC zero designation for creative digital materials is one created for works intended to be placed into the public domain, without restrictions except those that exist to protect the privacy and trademark rights of others. It is the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication that I am specifically referring to in this posting. To learn more about this designation of essentially no copyright, please visit the Creative Commons page that explains in full detail.
Why is having access to free creative resources so important anyway? What’s the big deal? Well, it’s all for the sake of supporting the arts as well as anyone interested in expressing themselves through creative works. It’s especially important to make sure that all people have access to creative materials online, regardless of their ability to pay. Many digital artists are hobbyists and students, while others are struggling entrepreneurs. They have art living inside them waiting to be freed through a variety of outlets. The good people contributing to these various CC0 resources are helping dreams come to life every day. What could be better than that? Everyone should show their support for this kind of generosity within the creative arts world.
For the purposes of this post, understand that the resources listed are each dedicated to providing creatives with royalty free, no attribution necessary creative digital materials that may be easily and instantly downloaded and used within both personal and commercial works. To keep this really simple and focused, I have not included resources that offer a mixture of paid and free or a variety of CC licensed works that may or may not require attribution. Though there are many such resources available that are very useful and quite wonderful, their inclusion of alternative licensed materials automatically excludes them from this particular list. Be sure to watch for upcoming lists that will include the best of those as well.
The freely offered digital materials you find through the following sources are, to the best of my knowledge, allowed to be collected, modified, shared, used in commercial works, and distributed in any way you choose so long as that does not infringe on other’s personal privacy or trademark and you ensure that your use of these downloads do not imply endorsement from particular parties or impose liability. To the best of my research ability at the time of this write-up, I have found each of the resources on this list to fall within the CC0 or similar copyright free designation parameters. Understand though, that I am in no way affiliated with the websites mentioned and they are free to change their terms and focus at any time. It is each user’s responsibility to check the license terms of each website and individual downloads, so be sure to view that information through each source for yourself as you deem necessary so as to be sure.
Now that the CC0/public domain/no attribution license information and the focus of this list has been clarified, let’s move on to the Ultimate Creator’s List of the Best Resources for CC0 Downloads!
You’re looking all over for the perfect texture, overlay, image, vector, video, sound, etc. to use in your new design project, but the hurdles you’re facing are:
- Currently being unable to purchase design materials online.
- Not yet knowing what you intend to use your final design for and wanting to avoid any unintentional misuse of design materials.
- Perhaps not looking to set up yet another online account just to find a few cool elements to help finish a current design project.
Avoid these issues whenever you like by simply visiting one of the following extraordinary creative resource sites. Though some of these sites will be easier and faster to use if you join for free, many of them don’t even have a joining option – and those that do usually offer perks for contributors such as creating a portfolio of work along with web links and donation buttons. If that’s something that appeals to you, pay special attention to how those sites compare in that department – I’ve mentioned any such perks in the descriptions of each site.
Textures and Overlays
At CC0 Textures you can set to browsing an extensive and very clean, organized collection of textures. There’s nothing to join, no heavy reading materials of complicated rights to muddle through, no attribution to remember… just browse, download, use in your project as you will, and share your finished projects however you like. It doesn’t get any easier and stress free than this. And, if you find yourself using the textures provided here, frequenting the site, or just really appreciative that such a service exists with no strings attached – consider supporting Lennart on Patreon!
From their about page: “Every material can be downloaded instantly and without any registration or restrictions. The materials come in resolutions of up to 8K (or even bigger in some special cases) and many of them even come with SBSAR files so that you can adjust their parameters using the Substance Player. If you have questions or want to report a problem you can do so via twitter (@cc0textures ) or via mail to hello[at]cc0textures.com.”
A side project of CC0 Textures, here you will be able to perform cross-platform searching of all the most relevant free texture, PBR, and HDRI design element sites at once. Search by keyword or category and filter by resolution, method, and asset type. When you find what you like, clicking will redirect you to the original site for downloading. Additional information about the asset is clearly displayed beneath the viewed element, but Textures.one suggests that you always ensure license on original website where the element is located.
Looking for even more cool free textures with no strings attached? Texture Haven has you covered. The site is clean and organized with truly high quality textures. And, they give a collective shoutout to their Patrons at the bottom of their website. That’s pretty cool. To support this awesome service, simply find Texture Haven on Patreon.
“Texture Haven is a website where you can find high quality scanned textures for free, no catch. All textures here are CC0 (public domain). No paywalls, accounts or email spam. Just download what you want, and use it for every purpose.”
Provided by Greg Zaal, a CG artist and Open Source advocate, this site brings a variety of 16k unclipped HDRI downloads to the public with no strings attached. Use to get crispy shadows, crystal clear reflections, realistic lighting, and quality backgrounds. You can support Greg in what he’s doing here by becoming a patron.
Share Textures is offered by an architect group who work on architectural visualization and create a lot of texture while doing their jobs. This site allows them to share those creations with the public using the generous CC0 license. You can search via keyword or by material category. They have a patrons exclusive section as well, so be sure to check that out if you’d like to support what they’re doing here.
A site providing CC0 PBR textures. A project by Dorian Zgraggen, he says: “My goal with this website is to provide free and high quality content for 3D artists.” He also provides tutorials on his site and his patrons can get all available textures in one download. Check it out because there are a lot of unique textures here and very useful tutorials as well.
Another cool site for unique PBR seamless textures. This site is like a blog, but pretty well organized. You can search categories and keywords. Find one you like, click on “Download all the maps” and you will be taken to Google Drive to download the maps you want. Become a patron of Joao Paulo and you can receive textures in 4k resolution along with substance designer files.
I checked and each of the free creative resources available from Seb at Purple11 have a free use, no-attribution license attached, stating: “You’re free to use these for both personal and commercial projects. No attribution needed. However, if want to give Purple11 some love, it would mean a lot to me if you shared the word! 🙏 You cannot sub-license, resell, share, transfer, or otherwise redistribute these textures.”
That’s pretty lit – And so are these amazing free offerings. You simply must check these out. Of the beautiful free resources made available here, you’ll find Bokeh Overlays, Light Leaks, Grunge and Brick Textures, and more. But Seb doesn’t stop at just giving away premium quality digital materials, he also provides a growing creator’s paradise of free creative tools such as a rain texture generator, color extractor, and the like. You’ll also find tutorials and camera comparisons.
Images and Videos
Here you can find stock images, vectors, and art images. The search on this site pulls from multiple sources to find CC0 images based on your entered keyword. This is useful if you would rather search all over free sites at once rather than on a particular site’s member uploaded content. Since these images are from various sources, it’s always good to check those original sources to ensure usage rights. For more information see the Free Images site FAQ. “Every image is Public Domain or CC0. Free to Download and Free to Use “
Kiss CC0 is a great straightforward place to search and find CC0 photos and clipart. The site features an easy search; just enter your keyword to get immediate results to download at will. No registration or attribution is required and every image you find through this site can be freely downloaded for any lawful and appropriate purpose (both personal and commercial). You can download and use as many of the images you like.
As stated on the site, “All the content on Kisscc0.com is either submitted to Kisscc0.com by email or is readily available in various places on the Internet and believed to be in public domain.” Read the DMCA policy on Kiss CC0 for more.
This is a very popular site for finding no strings attached photos for use in personal and commercial projects. You will find very high quality images here. For full information about license and usage of the images found here, see Pexels’ License Info page – they keep it really simple.
This site allows you to join for free to make downloading simpler. As a member you can upload your own images to add to the free database. This is a great way to get your work seen and appreciated, as you will have a profile page where you can, not only showcase some of your work (your own free offerings), but also place a link to your website.
Pexels offers a free plugin for Photoshop users too, which is a very convenient feature for creators. They also have a Chrome browser extension, apps available for all platforms, and even a WordPress plugin. See Pexels Pro Tools Page for more about these great free add-ons.
Pixabay is my favorite go to source for free photos, clipart, vectors, and video clips. It’s very similar to Pexels in that your experience downloading images is a smoother process if you join for free as a member. Also, you can create a profile and showcase your own work by uploading to the free database. Much like Pexels, this gives you an opportunity to have your own website address displayed for potential traffic… except here, you also may generate tips when users “buy you a coffee.” That’s a nice perk for creators. Pixabay’s standard of quality is pretty high, so you’re sure to be in good company as a creator and there’s definitely always a lot of great creative material to work with here. See the Pixabay FAQ page for complete information about how Pixabay works.
This is another free image site a lot like Pexels and Pixabay. You can search categories or by keyword. Stylistically and functionally, I’d say this site is very much like Pexels. Where they differ is that while Pexels offers add-ons, Unsplash offers a number of community features from remixes to events and a Slack chatroom. See the Unsplash community page for a complete rundown of what makes Unsplash unique.
Another great site for finding high quality public domain images. Here, you can search by keyword or browse categories. As with some of the others mentioned on this list, you can create a free account and contribute your own works to the free database. You’ll have the opportunity to link your website and your PayPal for receiving donations from supporters of your work. The site has a really simple but elegant design making searching and downloading a breeze. Skitterphoto has at least one feature that you won’t find too readily elsewhere… beneath each photo you’ll find color swatches highlighting colors within the viewed photo – click on a swatch to search by that color. How cool is that!?
Looking for high quality free PNG transparent images? Look no further… “PurePNG is a community of creative people sharing transparent high quality PNG images without any background.” Search by categories, collection, or keyword. Why not save yourself some time in your project by downloading images where the background has already been removed for you? Or, join the community of creators here and upload your own work to the free database – it’s a great way to gain some exposure and appreciation for your work. They have a forum – you can see what images people are requesting or request an image from other creatives. This is a really cool site.
Simple, straightforward, easy to search public domain images. Much like Pixabay, Unsplash, and others listed here, at PXHere you can join for free and upload to the free database – you will be able to link your website and have a donation button displayed with your photos.
Search categories, trending, or by keyword to find high quality CC0 photos. You can join for free, upload your own works to the public database, and provide a link to your website on your profile. This site provides an extensive, well organized database of free photos with multiple search options and no-fuss downloads. To learn more about this site and their features, see the StockSnap.io FAQ page.
Find great CC0 images for fast free download here to use in any of your projects. If you like, you can also join to upload your own images to the database – these will be made available to everyone for free or premium download. PublicDomainPictures.net allows you to earn revenue on your images by offering low cost premium downloads to visitors and premium members. Also, you can link your website and social pages on your profile, receive tips via paypal, and keep track of your sales. This site also offers photography tutorials and a running $100 competition.
Easy search and download of high quality CC0 images. You can join, upload to the free database, and link your own website through your profile. You will be added to the list of contributors too, which is pretty cool. Another great site for finding a lot of unique public domain images. Search via keyword, tags, or destination.
Search by categories or keyword to find and download beautiful, unique, high resolution CC0 stock photos on Negative Space. Simple and straightforward download site.
A cross-platform online searching tool that will gather CC0 photos by keyword. Simple, straightforward, clean, and well-organized site that can save you a little time by searching all the best free image sites at once. Be advised though, O-Dan pulls from some sites that are not CC0 only images and some require attribution. If you just pay attention to the results you get from Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, and others listed in this posting, you’re good to go…otherwise, remember to check license info.
SEO Consultant and Photography enthusiast Martin Vorel put this site together with his own images and generously offers them to the public under the CC0 license. He says, “LibreShot.com (former freepix.eu) is a project that contains free stock photos for private and commercial use. All photos and the whole website are made by me and you can use my photos whithout attribution. But if you will add a link to libreshot, I will be very glad 🙂”
There is quite the selection of high quality images here – you won’t be disappointed with the variety either. Search by keyword or category tag.
The Reshot license is just like CC0 – you are free to use the photos found here for any personal or commercial project and don’t have to include any attribution when you do. About their mission, they say: “We aim to unify creators via a free exchange of the world’s best visual content.” Easy searching via keyword or tag and quick download. No need to join, but that option is available and contributors can link their socials and website. They offer a unique extra here too – if you’d like to download multiple images that are related in focus, then you can grab one of several photo packs that include twenty photos – still free, just give a tweet to download. Pretty cool.
Search royalty free photos under CC0 public domain license, free for personal & commercial use, no attribution required. Each photo provides keyword tags, related photos, and a rundown of resize options for a variety of screens. You even have the unique option of custom resizing the image for your download. Fast and simple – a fantastic option if you’re searching for specific image sizes. Plus, the selection and organization here is just tremendous.
If you’re looking for something a little different or perhaps vintage, take a look at Reusable Art. Here you’ll find a collection of interesting vintage art pieces that are in the public domain.
This is a fantastic site for finding great free vectors. Simply search by keyword, tags, or category and filter your results by file type. You will find all vector formats here, including SVG, AI, and EPS. Everything here is in the public domain and easy to download without fuss – no need to join anything. Another cool and unique feature offered here is the easy browser based SVG Generator and SVG Editor – this is a really nice feature for those who wish to create or modify a vector but don’t have access to expensive software. These benefits are provided freely at Public Domain Vectors without bombarding users with distracting advertisements – you will only see a few standard and static ads to the right of the page that are relevant to design creation. I only mention this because most online editors tend to have a lot of ads flashing. Overall this is a very clean and fast interface. Definitely one of my favorite free resource sites.
Another great site for finding ready made SVG in the public domain. Search by keyword or tags. Easy download and a lot of variety. Free SVG also offers a community forum you may join for discussion and requests.
How awesome would it be if you could find high quality multi-use animated videos for your projects completely free of charge or any need for attribution as CC0 licensed public domain material? Well, Vidlery is bringing wishes to life by providing the public with that very thing. You won’t believe the quality of animations you’ll find here – presented in a modern and clean way and super simple to download. Although they promote these as free animated backgrounds for your homepage, they are licensed CC0 1.0 so you can use your imagination and include them in any number of projects. Though the selection is small in number, fitting all onto one page, you are sure to be ecstatic with what you find here. Enter your email to be notified of newly added content.
Speaking of Vidlery, a project said to have been inspired by Coverr (a site I previously mentioned in the post about video creators 15 best free online essentials), I must mention this other site that offers free video for websites and other projects. Coverr provides a variety of high quality short video sequences that are easy to search and download instantly with no fuss. Everything you find here is under the CC0 license. Search via keyword, trending tag, or category. While the selection may not yet be huge, the quality and clean platform makes this site a real gem for creators in search of free use materials online.
Here is a collection of high quality short videos, loops, and animations offered freely by Leeroy Web Agency. Search by keyword or browse the collections – you’ll find everything from aerial nature and city shots to food and people.
This is what they have to say on their site about the license of videos offered here: “Is it really free? Hell yeah! No copyright restrictions (personal & commercial). How about that? The only thing we don’t want is our entire collection on your website, so we had set the redistribution limited to 10 videos on other sites. If you feel like it, pay us a beer or a mention on your website, it’s helping the community and it’s encouraging us to produce more video clips ;)”
So, how awesome are these folks? For real.
While we’re on the topic of the awesome people at the heart of Leeroy Web Design Agency (mentioned above), they not only offer video shots but also have a site dedicated to offering high quality photos by various generous members. Search and download of images is very simple here. You can join too, as a contributor to the free database! These guys are very cool about how their contributing photographers are showcased. You can create a portfolio of work on your own profile, share your own website and social links there, get listed in their “photographers” section, and have a chance to get your work featured through their own social media pages and website. That’s right, they select a new “photographer of the week” to highlight every week. Talk about mad props.
This is a free download site offered by Envato, so you know the quality is high. Find amazing HD 1080p video clips, animation, and high resolution illustrative art. Search via keyword or categories to find extraordinary art pieces and video clips. Submit you email to be notified of new monthly offerings. Creators interested in contributing may apply to be a Mixkit contributor by filling out a short form on the website. If accepted, your work will be showcased and you’ll gain some exposure alongside other incredible talents.
Pertaining to license terms, their site states, “..use any of our Items in your commercial and non-commercial projects, for free. You’re permitted to download, copy, modify, distribute, publicly perform and broadcast the Items. Your rights are non-exclusive, worldwide, sub-licensable and ongoing. Attribution is not required, however, we would appreciate if you credit Mixkit where reasonably possible.” So, from that we can gather that the Mixkit license is a basic equivalent to CC0 – but to learn more about the specifics, see the full Mixkit license and terms page.
This is a simple and straightforward site for finding CC0 licensed high resolution photos and videos. No joining, no attributions, no fuss, just search and download. Search via categories and keywords. They also have a blog filled with creative inspiration, tips, tutorials, tools, and trends. The flow and design here is quite modern and clean – I have no doubt you’ll love this site.
Need free icons – just simple small images that may be used in a variety of creative projects? Maybe you want to design a set of icons yourself, use the icons as imagery in an app or a pattern, or even make simple logos? Aiconica is the perfect, no fuss way to find what you’re looking for. They offer free CC0 vector icons, organized alphabetically by type. Click on the icon you want, choose a color from the palette, designate a size (from 16 to 500px), and download. No joining, no ads, no complicated licensing – just choose and add to your download queue – when you’re finished, click to download in a zip file directly to your computer.
Music and Sound
A wonderful source of CC0 licensed music offered by a number of highly talented musical artists. You can learn more about each artist and even leave them a tip for their labor, if you so choose. Download WAV and MP3 files to use in your projects, all 100% free with no attribution required. Look through the categories of musical offerings that include romantic, epic, upbeat, horror, and more. These guys are very generous indeed. For a small fee you can even download hundreds of files at one time, so be sure to check that out right on the front page – it’s very fairly priced at $10 and $25 for the separate download packages.
With a tagline of “Let’s create Unsplash for Music together” you know what kind of awesome you’re in for when you take advantage of what this site has to offer! The Unminus license is 100% royalty free, cleared for YouTube, no attribution music available for instant download. This means it is basically just like CC0 – they just spell out their own simple terms for user clarity – see Unminus complete license terms and information here. They accept submissions for review from music creators, so just visit the Unminus Submit page for more information on that if you are a musician interested in helping build up this free library – you’ll get a credit link as an opportunity to share your website or soundcloud profile.
Here you’ll find a new score and studio recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, generously recorded and placed in the public domain through CC0 license for everyone to own and use without limitations. This is a project that began as a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to enrich the musical experience for people everywhere by making these classic works freely obtainable.
As stated on Kickstarter: “Bach wrote his seminal work over 270 years ago, yet public domain scores and recordings are hard or impossible to find. Until now! This project will start by creating a new engraving of the Goldberg Variations using the MuseScore notation software. The edition will be subject to scholarly review, and when it is finished, it will be available to everyone to own and use without limitations. Then we’re working with pianist Kimiko Ishizaka to create a professional studio recording of the Goldbergs. This recording will also be made available to everyone to own and use without limitations.”
This is what you will find when you visit Open Goldberg Variations – the completed original project of Bach’s Open Goldberg Variations by Kimiko Ishizaka available for download and use in any of your projects.
Are you also looking for 100% Free Fonts to use in your creative projects? I won’t leave you hanging… Check out this previous post about The 6 Best Sites to Find 100% Free Fonts.
Well, that’s the list! I sure hope that you’ve appreciated this post and found it to be useful… if you have, then please consider sharing it with others! Leave a comment if you love one of the sites listed or if you know of any other great free resources to find royalty free, no attribution, easy downloads of high quality digital materials that creators can use in their own personal and commercial projects. I’d love to hear your thoughts.