How do I set up the UI scaling to look like a normal app and not some low-res 90s throwback?

I’m using the trial version of Aseprite at 1920x1080, and the UI looks terrible and low-res like I’m working in some 90s resolution like 800x600. The UI text is super chunky and pixellated and way bigger than the normal-sized window header text. I don’t know if this is what it’s supposed to look like, but if it is, then all I can say is it’s an utterly horrific design choice and I am completely baffled why anyone would choose to work like this if they have even the vaguest aspirations of productivity. Just looking at it gives me Windows 3.1 flashbacks.

After some poking around, I found some scaling options in the preferences menu, and the screen scaling appeared to be set to 200% by default, so I tried 100% but that made it too tiny to use. Now the UI text is ridiculously tiny compared to the window header text, and the only other scaling options are even bigger than the already absurdly chunky 200% (I assume 400% scaling is for people who want to get their 90s flashbacks on a 4K monitor).

I initially assumed this weird scaling was a deliberate (if bizarre) design choice made on the deranged assumption that anyone making pixel art must also be hardcore into super pixellated retro UI aesthetics. If this is actually the case, then I recommend implementing a UI setting for people who aren’t insane ASAP. However, I stumbled across this video, and it looks like the guy is using Aseprite but the UI looks completely normal and modern:

How do I set Aseprite up to look like this? Is this a theme or something that needs to be downloaded from somewhere? Why on Earth would this not be the default appearance? I feel like I have stumbled into bizarro world just by opening this software.

Found the link to the theme: Minimal Dark by fe / 2dchaos

You can install it by going Edit > Preferences > Extensions > Add Extensions > Find your theme file > OK then go back to Edit > Preferences > Themes > Select your theme > OK

If you’re using the trail I don’t know if you are able to change the theme.

I don’t know if you have something wrong with your install of Aseprite but my UI is sized normally. Current settings are Windows 10 Scaling set at 100% and Aseprite Screen scaling at 200% and UI elements at 100%. Everything is about the same size as what photoshop, office or others would be.

I think the default design of the UI is pretty good! It fits into the whole aesthetic of being a pixel art program, like if you play a spaceship themed game your UI would resemble that of something space-y and futuristic; this goes for aseprite being made up of pixel art icons and text. And it would also make sense that it would resemble something 90’s and older since pixel art dominated almost 3 decades of games from 1970 to 1990. Of course not everyone likes this look which is why themes are a supported feature of the program, or there are alternatives like photoshop, pyxel edit, and more.


Can you post a screenshot of what your UI looks like (if there are still any issues)?

Thanks. I installed the theme, and there are still a few scaling issues, but I guess it’s mostly usable now. This is the first software I’ve used where just looking like a normal modern app was something you had to find and download a community mod for.

The trial doesn’t exactly install, you just get a zip with the exe and stuff in. Not sure what difference that would make, though.

Software in the 90s and earlier sucked ass and was a pain to use, and I have zero nostalgia for it. I want to make 90s era graphics, I don’t want to use a 90s era UI. If I was writing a 1930s detective novel, I wouldn’t expect people telling me it makes sense to do it on a typewriter just because that’s what they had in the 1930s. However, I guess there is a selection bias to any responses I’m likely to get to this sort of opinion, as anyone who is still here and hasn’t already fled in disgust at the sight of the default UI is probably unlikely to agree with me.

Firstly, here is what my UI looks like;

Above is my main 29" monitor 2560x1080 resolution. Windows 10 scaling at 100%; Aseprite screen scaling at 200% and UI elements at 100%

Above is a 21" 1920x1080 monitor. Same exact settings.

It should be fine. The trial is probobly lightweight enough that sharing it as a portable file without installation is easier for first-timers and people just trying it out. The full version of Aseprite also has the option of installing it through file directory or as a portable file like yours. You can keep the portable on a usbstick and open it on any computer. I’ll download the trial later and see if I get any problems.

Yep, having 99% of all existing software trying to imitate or clone Adobe, Microsoft office, or Autodesk does that to you. Everything looks so homogenous now its basically second nature to assume that anything that doesnt look like “progessional softare” i.e. look like photoshop means that it is spaghetti code scam software made by a nutjob (cough cough @dacap)

And to be honest, I have never looked at the Aseprite UI that closely. When you mentioned how everything is low res and pixel-y I had to open the software to confirm everything was made of pixel art, I guess for me the software was intuitive enough that I didnt second guess anything I was doing.

You should talk smack on the GIMP software forum, exept over there you’ll have unanimous agreement on how GIMP sucks.

Yeah, that’s how it looks on mine, I just can’t stand the sight of it. The layout is fine, it’s just the blocky, oversized font and being able to see the chunky 2x2 pixels on the UI border/button corners that irritates me. I already lived through the era of ugly pixellated UIs, I don’t want it making a comeback.

Right, because not having visibly chunky pixels makes everything a Photoshop clone. The apps I use most often are probably Visual Studio, GitKraken and Firefox, none of which particularly resemble each other. The only thing they have in common is having a HD interface because this is 2022 not 1992. Even the Windows Vista version of MS Paint I was previously using for pixel art looks better than Aseprite’s default theme.

Oh yeah, I hate GIMP, maybe I’ll do that.

And what a first post that is!

You don’t need to use the default theme, most people change it - Aseprite is fairly customizable. I would recommend checking also this Dark HD theme - it’s even darker and has a slight resemblance to the VS Code color scheme.

I don’t think I can agree that the UI is from the 90s, it’s definitely heavily stylized visually but functionally it provides a modern user experience. You can like it or not, that’s a matter of preference, but no one opened Aseprite and made the mistake of thinking it’s enterprise software, it communicates well enough that it is essentially indie software.