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What Is Procreate?

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There are lots of programs you can use to get creative work done, but there are few like Procreate. If you're unfamiliar with what it is, we've answered your burning questions here. We've also thrown in some of the best premium Procreate assets and free resources online.

And if you prefer a visual lesson to reading, have a look at this short video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel!

What Is Procreate?

Procreate is digital creative software for creating illustrations, paintings, animations, and more. It was first released in 2011 and has caught on like wildfire since then. In fact, it's been a permanent fixture on the Apple App Store's Top 10 Paid iPad Apps List since 2016.

Woman drawing landscape design on a digital tabletWoman drawing landscape design on a digital tabletWoman drawing landscape design on a digital tablet
Woman drawing landscape design on a digital tablet

That is an important distinction to make. Procreate and Procreate Pocket are currently only available on iPad and iPhone, respectively. So sorry, Windows, Linux, and Android users, your hardware won't work here.

If you are in the Apple ecosystem, then you get to enjoy a powerful art studio that's yours to use with a single purchase. That's right, no subscription is necessary for Procreate!

Is Procreate or Procreate Pocket Better?

This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on your needs. Procreate Pocket for the iPhone is just as capable as the iPad version. It was developed from the ground up for iPhone, meaning it's been fully optimized to run and perform well on smaller devices. 

example of artwork made with procreate
An illustration like this can be made in both Procreate and Procreate Pocket. (Source)

One key difference is you won't be able to use the Apple Pencil on your iPhone. You can use other styluses with Procreate Pocket, so don't worry. But this is something to consider.

With both the iPad and iPhone apps being identical, you've got to think about a few things to see which is best for you. Think about where you do your creative work, and whether a smaller or larger screen will be better.

If you don't have an iPad or an iPhone, it'd be a good idea to factor in the cost of getting new hardware. You should also think about how important it is for you to use the Apple Pencil or one from a third-party brand.

Does Procreate Have Cool Features?

An app doesn't get as popular as Procreate without having some tricks up its sleeve! If you have Procreate for iPad, then the Apple Pencil will help you take your work to the next level. That's because Procreate's native brushes are adaptable and respond to changes in pressure and tilt.

For example, lighter contact from the Apple Pencil can change a Procreate brush's opacity. Holding it at an angle can create a wider scatter effect. You can customize the pressure and tilt effects, letting you have a personalized experience.

Top view creative female drawing on digital tabletTop view creative female drawing on digital tabletTop view creative female drawing on digital tablet
Top view creative female drawing on digital tablet

Speaking of customization, you can also change what happens when your fingers touch the screen. Known as gestures, the number of fingers you use and how you move them are tied to specific controls in the app. When you go into the settings of Procreate, you can change these gestures to what makes sense for you.

What File Types Does Procreate Use?

You've probably heard about the Adobe Creative Suite and some of its file types. If so, you should know how well Procreate fits into that ecosystem thanks to the file types the program uses.

Here's a full list of the file types you can open in Procreate, courtesy of the Procreate Handbook:

  • .procreate
  • PSD
  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • GIF
  • PDF
  • MP4
  • HEVC
  • OBJ
  • USDZ

You'll also be able to export your illustrations, animations, and 3D art in any of these formats for easy sharing.

Which One to Use: Procreate or Photoshop?

Since Procreate can open Photoshop's famous PSD file format, you're probably wondering which of the two you should use. After all, they're both incredibly powerful creative tools.

The decision is yours, so make sure you're thinking about features and your needs before taking it. Photoshop can basically do it all. That includes retouching, photo manipulation, and a lot more. But that does mean there is a steep learning curve.  

Procreate has an emphasis on drawings and illustrations. All of its tools and features are focused on making that process as easy as possible for users. So while you can create highly intricate art, you don't need years using the program to get to that point.

Close Up Of Woman Drawing On Digital Tablet Using Stylus Pen Lying On Carpet At HomeClose Up Of Woman Drawing On Digital Tablet Using Stylus Pen Lying On Carpet At HomeClose Up Of Woman Drawing On Digital Tablet Using Stylus Pen Lying On Carpet At Home
Close Up Of Woman Drawing On Digital Tablet Using Stylus Pen Lying On Carpet At Home

You'll be happy to know that both programs play well with each other. You can share files back and forth between Procreate and Photoshop as they open identical file types.

What Creative Assets Can I Use in Procreate?

Like other design programs, you're not limited to just what's available when you download the app. With Procreate, you can download all types of add-ons.

The Monster Procreate BrushesThe Monster Procreate BrushesThe Monster Procreate Brushes

These Procreate assets include brushes, like the ones for hair, textures, and lettering. You can also download color palettes and stamps. Use them to your advantage to get the most from Procreate for your creative projects.

Top Procreate Brushes, Palettes, and Stamps From Envato Elements

You can download extra Procreate brushes, palettes, and stamps with Envato Elements. It's a creative asset platform that offers every user unlimited downloads for a low monthly fee. Everything is covered by a simple-to-understand license, so you can use every item for whatever you'd like. You can sign up for Envato Elements today.

Here are ten premium Procreate asset downloads you can download right now from Envato Elements.

1. Procreate Portrait Painting Brushes (BRUSHSET)

Procreate Portrait Painting BrushesProcreate Portrait Painting BrushesProcreate Portrait Painting Brushes

This set of brushes for Procreate is made with portrait painting in mind. There are 30 assets to use in this download. You can download skin texture brushes for Procreate, as well as brushes for hair, eyelashes, and more.

2. Shader Brushes for Procreate (BRUSHSET, PNG)

Shader Brushes for ProcreateShader Brushes for ProcreateShader Brushes for Procreate

Adding detail is the best way to make sure your art feels textured and full of life. If your art needs some fine-tuning, then the Memento Shader Brushes for Procreate are what you're after. This set has Procreate brushes with hatch, scatter, and shader effects.

3. Hair Brushes for Procreate (BRUSHSET)

Hair Brushes For ProcreateHair Brushes For ProcreateHair Brushes For Procreate

If you're working with hair, odds are there's a Procreate brush for that. This set has a few different hair styles. There are even brushes for beard and body hair! It's one of the top Procreate resources to download when creating illustrations of people.

4. Burn Orange Color Palette for Procreate (SWATCHES)

Palette Burn Orange for ProcreatePalette Burn Orange for ProcreatePalette Burn Orange for Procreate

Can you feel the warmth of this Procreate color palette? There are 30 different tones in this autumnal set. The burn orange swatch works easily. All you need to do is open it in Procreate to start using this Procreate color palette!

5. Floral Alphabet Procreate Lettering Stamp Brushes (BRUSHSET)

Floral Alphabet Procreate Lettering Stamp BrushesFloral Alphabet Procreate Lettering Stamp BrushesFloral Alphabet Procreate Lettering Stamp Brushes

Working on nature-themed projects? This floral set of Procreate lettering stamp brushes could make a useful addition. It features a full alphabet of Procreate stamps, each with a different floral look. You can edit the size, opacity, and color of each letter.

6. Procreate Color Palette: Bright Candy (SWATCHES)

Procreate Color Palette - Bright CandyProcreate Color Palette - Bright CandyProcreate Color Palette - Bright Candy

Bright Candy is a vibrant Procreate color palette. You'll get three sets of 90 colors from this single download. What a treat, right? It's like walking into a candy shop of color palettes for Procreate. There are so many options that can be applied to a wide variety of paintings.

7. 10 Smoke Brushes Procreate (BRUSHSET)

10 Smoke Brushes Procreate10 Smoke Brushes Procreate10 Smoke Brushes Procreate

Fill the air with mystery and a touch of realism with this smoke brush Procreate set. Each of the ten brushes comes with a distinct look. Choose from wispier clouds to thicker, black smoke. It's enough of a selection for you to find the perfect fit for your projects.

8. PROODLE Procreate Doodle Stamps (BRUSHSET)

PROODLE Procreate Doodle StampsPROODLE Procreate Doodle StampsPROODLE Procreate Doodle Stamps

These cutesy Procreate stamps add a quick doodle to anything you want. Use them to create patterns or to complement your work. These Procreate stamp brushes could work great if you're creating artwork for children or are looking to add a pinch of fun to a design.

9. Realistic Fur Brushes for Procreate & Emoji (BRUSHSET)

Procreate Realistic Fur & EmojiProcreate Realistic Fur & EmojiProcreate Realistic Fur & Emoji

The creatures featured on this item's page may not be realistic, but their fur effects sure are. Get 30 realistic fur texture brushes for Procreate from this single download, and apply them anywhere. It's a helpful set to have around, and there's even an included tutorial so you can get the most out of it.

10. Animal Textures Procreate Brushes (BRUSHSET)

Animal Textures Procreate BrushesAnimal Textures Procreate BrushesAnimal Textures Procreate Brushes

We're wrapping up this roundup with more cool texture brushes for Procreate. These ones are more rooted in reality, taking cues from the animal kingdom. This set of 34 Procreate brushes creates a seamless repeating pattern that is easy to use. Make sure you take advantage of Procreate's stylus features and apply different levels of pressure!

More Procreate Resources

You've just been given the answer to "what is Procreate?" in this article. But learning about Procreate doesn't have to stop here. We have lots of Procreate resources right here on Envato Tuts+. Browse our website and our YouTube channel to find out more about how you can use Procreate for your creative projects.

And you can dive into these articles and tutorials to help you on your digital art journey:

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