Free fantasy landscape images – and software to make them! – are used by all kinds of worldbuilders – authors and writers, Dungeon Masters, and GMs! Plus they’re an excellent memory touchstone when creating a series bible or campaign setting! AND they can make your worldbuilding articles on World Anvil go from good to great!
In this post, I’ll go through 5 great resources for (mostly) free fantasy landscape images that you can use for your worldbuilding projects on World Anvil! And yes, there are some scifi friendly ones too!
By the way, if you’re not already on World Anvil, it’s the best place to create cities, settlements, and geographic regions for your book or RPG campaign. (It’s won both Writers Digest awards and ENnie Gold awards, you know!) Our worldbuilding templates inspire you with prompts, AND help you keep everything organized!
Writers and authors should check out our book and series bible features as well as our novel writing software which helps you reference your world as you write!
Dungeon Masters and GMs can manage all your NPCs, your lore and your campaign, with our campaign management features for Dungeon Masters! You can even make your maps interactive there, and let your players explore, or keep everything private!
1. Artbreeder – blend your own free fantasy landscape images
I’ve already mentioned Artbreeder in our free character portraits resources, but did you know they also do customizable landscape pictures?! You can blend together different geographical images to create fantastical landscapes, and then further customize them! You can get some really cool results this way. Just check out the fantasy landscape I made below!
The sliders below allow you to further change aspects like color, architecture (it’s still a bit rudimentary), land shapes, color, saturation, and brightness. For a free tool, it offers a lot of customizability and this would be my number one go-to for dramatic landscapes!
2. Flowscape – customizable 3D fantasy landscapes at your fingertips
Flowscape is a downloadable 3D modeling program that allows you to create your own 3D spaces! It’s for windows only (sorry mac users!) but beyond that, the computer requirements aren’t too crazy.
Flowscape isn’t free, but it’s so close it’s scary! You can pick up this amazing program for under 15 dollars on Steam or Itch.io. It’s easy to use – just select assets from the library, resize them, then drag and drop them onto the 3D canvas.
When it comes to creating fantasy landscape images for your series bible or campaign setting on World Anvil, just position the camera within the Flowscape program and grab a snapshot. You can even add animations and capture screengrabs of panning with OBS or similar programs, so you can have videos embedded on your World Anvil pages via Youtube or kuula!
Click through this gallery of Flowscape images to get a feeling for how many different types of fantasy landscape images you can create with FlowScape! It really is impressive! AND notice the spaceship there? You can make awesome SciFi images, as well as fantasy ones!
3. Wombo Dream – AI-generated landscapes!
Wombo Dream is an AI-powered web app that’s great at generating images. To explain it simply, you write a short sentence (100 characters is the maximum), select one of its many allowed styles, and click the create button! After waiting about 20 seconds, you get an image based on your prompt. As simple as that! While you can type anything in the prompt, it works best with landscapes, rather than animals or people. Here’s a sample of the kind of images it can produce, using three different styles:
As you can see, the graphics it generates are portrait rather than landscape. But that’s actually great for World Anvil—they’ll fit really well in any article’s sidebar! You are free to download the images it produces for personal use. However, their terms of service are not very clear about commercial use and copyright, so I recommend contacting them directly if you’re interested in that!
4. Public Domain Images
Maybe you didn’t find what you’re looking for yet, but that’s ok! There’s a tonne of free fantasy landscape images in the public domain or available under Creative Commons! Public Domain Pictures is a massive image library that you can search, and it’s full of amazing things – largely for free! If you want higher-quality downloads, you’ll have to pay (anything from a few cents to a few dollars), but if you’re looking for free fantasy landscape images for reference material, and you don’t need massive files, it’s perfect.
A great example of the free fantasy landscape images available for download from Public Domain Pictures – and perfect for your World Anvil world!
Another website in a similar vein is Pexels. This site contains a tonne of free images released under Creative Commons, and many of them are of excellent quality! This is a website that I use a lot for both image and short video assets, and it’s full of gems! If you’re looking for base images to add to Artbreeder, this would be an excellent resource.
5. Landscape art – free fantasy landscape images from the past
If you’re looking for free fantasy landscape images, why not take a trip into the past? Historical paintings don’t carry copyright after a certain amount of time (it’s different in every country, but usually about 100 years), and that means that you can use those images freely in your worldbuilding! If you want to sell materials containing these images, though, make sure you double-check with the art gallery or collection holder.
“Roman Ruin at Twilight” – a painting by 19th-century artist Ferdinand Knab – is an example of the free fantasy landscape images that can be found out of copyright!
How gorgeous is that painting above? It’s by Ferdinand Knab, who painted a tonne of super-evocative landscapes and landmarks! You can find some similar landscape artists here, and the images are perfect for cityscapes, landscapes, and even dungeons!
6. Advanced 3D generated landscapes – only for the brave!
OK, so this is NOT my area of expertise, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it! There are many programs on the market that allow you to create your own 3D-generated landscapes – and they look freaking epic! You can do amazing things with them, but since I’m ABSOLUTELY not a pro in this area, I leave it to this blog from Creative Blog (slightly dated, but very thorough) to give you the basics of the field!
Once you have your images, make sure you upload them to World Anvil (use the blue button to make it ultra fast!) to keep them safe, add worldbuilding context, and more! Of course, our worldbuilding templates, like our geographical location template and building templates, are the best things since… well World Anvil! They’re full of prompts, and as with everything on World Anvil, you can connect locations to interactive maps – so you can remember WHAT goes WHERE in your world, and nest everything together!
Just one example of World Anvil’s interactive maps in action! This world of Pekkola is by Dhelian, and he takes map commissions, too!
A quick note about permissions
Obviously, you shouldn’t publically post work that you have no permission to use! All the information about permissions in this blog post is correct at the time of writing, but permissions can change. If you have ANY queries about permissions, it’s always worth trying to get in contact with a service or artist directly!
Do you have other fantasy landscape images resources you can recommend? Or did you find one of these particularly helpful? Let me know in the comments below!
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Great article Janet! I’ve got a question for you on that matter: when using such generated images in WA, who should we credit ?