If you can draw, you can animate—thanks to Procreate Animation Assist. By taking even a simple drawing and making a few small, sequential changes to it, you can create movement and bring that illustration to life. Below, learn the basics of Procreate Animation Assist, from how to enable the feature to step-by-step instructions for creating your first animation. 

How to Turn On Procreate Animation Assist

Turning on Procreate Animation Assist is easy. Once in Procreate, click Settings (the wrench icon at the top left), and then under the Canvas option, you will see the setting for Animation Assist. Toggle the slider to enable the feature. 

procreate screem
Enable Procreate Animation Assist under the Settings menu in Procreate. 

Once you’ve activated Animation Assist, a new toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen. This is where you’ll see each frame of your animation, as well as where you can make adjustments like duplicating frames or changing the type or speed of animation. 

Now that you have the feature enabled, you can jump into creating your first animation. 

How to Use Procreate Animation Assist

If you’re new to Procreate Animation Assist, consider creating a walking animation for your first project. Creating a walk cycle is a great way for a beginner animator to get a feel for how a character will move. While it may seem intimidating at first, when you break it down into individual steps, it actually becomes very simple. 

Step 1: Choose Your Design 

For a beginner, the easiest place to start is to choose an existing illustration. To animate a walk sequence, look for a simple character without complex elements like accessories or detailed patterns on his or her clothing. The more details the character has, the more complex the animation process. 

Step 2: Create Keyframes

Next, you’ll create keyframes—drawings of the starting and ending points of your desired movement. For a walk sequence, you will hone in on two specific poses: when your character’s leg is most extended and when one leg crosses over the other mid-walk. These are the first frames you will create.

To do this in Procreate, use the Animation Assist toolbar to add frames to your animation. Then, create rough sketches of your character in those poses. Keep in mind that for a true walking effect, you will need these poses for each side of the body (e.g., when the right leg is fully extended to the front, as well as when the left leg is fully extended to the front). 

animating a character walking
In this reference video, the character is at the midpoint of the walk sequence, where one leg crosses over the other.  

Step 3: Add In-Between Frames

Now that you have the starting and ending points of the animation, you will want to add in-between frames to smooth out the movement. This can be as simple as adding in one frame between each of the keyframes. However, the more in-between frames you add, the smoother the animation will become. 

The Animation Assist Procreate toolbar allows you to replay the animation at any time, so you can check your work and make sure the movement is smooth and connected. 

procreate animation
By following arcs of movement, you can ensure your animation stays smooth and connected. 

Step 4: Refine Your Drawings and Add Finishing Touches

At this point, you’ll have a rough animation, but to bring it across the finish line, you’ll need to do some additional work, like refining your sketches and adding color. For a simple way to add color, use the color drop tool to select colors from your original illustration and add them to each of the frames. You can also add fun extras, like a scrolling background or elements like shadows and lighting, which can create dimension. 

illustration of person with a bat
This final version of an animation incorporates shadows and highlights, which add dimension to the character. 

Finally, play the animation through to double check that the frames flow smoothly and there’s nothing that makes the movement jerky or disconnected. 

Step 5: Export and Share 

Now that your animation is complete, it’s time to show it off! Under Settings, you have the ability to share the file in several animated formats, such as a GIF or MP4. Simply choose your preferred file type, adjust your frames per second, and export. Then, you’ll have an animation ready to share on social media or on your online portfolio

Procreate Animation Assist enables you to export your animation in several different formats, including GIF and MP4. 

Animation can seem daunting, but Procreate Animation Assist makes it easy. In a few simple steps, you can bring an existing illustration to life. 

Create Your First Animation 

Animating in Procreate: Simple Steps to Create Awesome Animations With Danni Fisher-Shin