Procreate, an illustration app for iPad, has long been an essential tool for digital artists and illustrators. Procreate’s features provide artists with the benefits of working digitally (on a tablet with a stylus), without taking away the look and feel of traditional, paper-based art. 

Perhaps most importantly, the software is constantly being updated with new features that will make your experience (and compositions) even better. One of the most recent updates, Procreate 5, was released in late 2019 and is available on the Apple App Store for iPad. Below, find a closer look at the Procreate 5 update and the new features you can now take advantage of. 

With Procreate 5, you can create digital illustrations while retaining the look and feel of traditional paper-based art. 

With Procreate 5, you can create digital illustrations while retaining the look and feel of traditional paper-based art. 
With Procreate 5, you can create digital illustrations while retaining the look and feel of traditional paper-based art. 

Procreate 5 Release Date

The Procreate 5 release date was December 8, 2019. Since then, Procreate 5X was also released (on September 21, 2020), offering several additional features including new filters, streamlined shortcuts, and text gestures. Both updates are available on the Apple App Store for iPad. 

New to Digital Illustration?

Intro to Procreate: Illustrating on the iPad With Brooke Glaser.

Procreate 5 New Features 

1. Animation Assist 

While Procreate 5 isn’t the first update to include animation features, it does introduce Animation Assist, a useful new tool that makes animation easier than ever. Enabling this feature will bring up the Animation Assist toolbar at the bottom of your screen. Using the toolbar, you can instantly play back your animation, view onion skin layers (reduced-opacity versions of the previous layer or layers), and choose a playback style (e.g., loop or ping pong). With these tools, it’s easy to create Procreate 5 animations. 

This still comes from an animation created by Skillshare teacher (and student) Jennifer Nichols in Procreate 5. 
This still comes from an animation created by Skillshare teacher (and student) Jennifer Nichols in Procreate 5. 

2. Photoshop Brush Support

Procreate 5 is powered by a new graphics engine called Valkyrie. This gives artists the option to import their favorite brushes from Photoshop and use them in Procreate. Why is this important? Many artists rely on certain brushes in both Photoshop and Procreate to create certain effects in their artwork. Now that they can switch between the two programs and use the same brushes, they’ll have more options than ever to create a consistent artistic look. 

In Procreate 5’s new Brush Studio, you can create custom brushes, as well as take advantage of brushes imported from Photoshop. 
In Procreate 5’s new Brush Studio, you can create custom brushes, as well as take advantage of brushes imported from Photoshop. 

3. Brush Studio 

Procreate 5 offers a comprehensive new brush studio that contains a range of exciting features. The studio contains 100 new settings, a texture creator, and the ability to combine brushes. If you have an interest in developing your own digital illustration brushes, you will appreciate this new feature. If you aren’t a fan of creating your own brushes, don’t worry—you can still purchase professionally made brushes and use them in Procreate 5. And, the Procreate 5 update also comes with several new standard brushes, so you will be sure to find the right brushes for your unique style. 

Skillshare student Yw Pismenkova first developed a digital illustration brush set, then used those brushes to create this illustration in Procreate 5. 
Skillshare student Yw Pismenkova first developed a digital illustration brush set, then used those brushes to create this illustration in Procreate 5. 

4. Clone Tool 

A tool commonly available in Photoshop, the clone tool, is now available in Procreate 5. With the clone tool, you can select an area of pixels within your illustration and apply it to other areas of your canvas. 

5. Floating Color Picker 

In previous iterations of Procreate, the color picker was a tool that dropped down from the toolbar in a set location. This meant that every time you wanted to choose a new color, you had to navigate to the top corner of the screen. 

Procreate 5’s new color picker can be separated from the toolbar and dragged anywhere on the screen. 
Procreate 5’s new color picker can be separated from the toolbar and dragged anywhere on the screen. 

Procreate 5 introduces a floating color picker—one that you can detach from the toolbar—so you can relocate your palette to wherever is most convenient for you. 

6. Color-Focused Tools 

New color tools in Procreate 5 can enable you to work more efficiently, give you more creative options, and prepare your artwork for however you’d like to display it when complete. 

Color Dynamics 

With the new Color Dynamics tool, you can create a custom brush that changes color, saturation, and brightness depending on the pressure or tilt you apply with your stylus. 

Color Harmony 

The Color Harmony tool enables you to select complementary colors directly from your working screen, rather than consulting a third-party color app—which takes you off the app and can distract you from your composition. 

CMYK Support 

Procreate 5 now offers CMYK support, which is essential for artists who want to make physical prints of their illustrations. CMYK refers to the primary colors of pigment (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), while RGB refers to the primary colors of light (red, green, and blue). If you plan to display your art digitally, you would default to RGB, while if you plan to print your art, you would choose CMYK. When creating a new canvas in Procreate 5, you can now choose a CMYK or RGB color profile. 

Color History 

You can now easily see the last 10 colors you used in Procreate through the Color History feature, so you can avoid repeatedly sampling colors. 

With the new Color Dynamics tool in Procreate 5, you can create a custom brush that changes color and saturation depending on the pressure you apply with your stylus. 
With the new Color Dynamics tool in Procreate 5, you can create a custom brush that changes color and saturation depending on the pressure you apply with your stylus. 

7. Canvas-Level Customizations

Procreate 5 offers several new capabilities to customize your canvases. For example, you can now adjust the timelapse recording settings for each canvas you create, rather than adjusting those settings in the overall app preferences. 

The new canvas rotation feature allows you to rotate your canvas. This can be helpful if you need to, for instance, straighten the horizon in a digital illustration. 

You can also add your name, photo, and signature to each of the canvases you create—an easy way to designate every illustration as something uniquely yours. 

How to Update to Procreate 5

To update to Procreate 5, you first need to make sure you’re running the right iOS, as the update requires iOS 13.2 or newer. Go to your iPad settings, then click on General, then Software Update. If there is an update available, click Download and Install. 

Once you have the right iOS, you simply need to update your Procreate app. If you have automatic updates enabled, you may already have Procreate 5. If not, go to the iPad App Store and click on your profile picture in the top right corner. This will bring up a list of your apps; scroll to find Procreate. If there is an Update button available, click it to update your app. If there is no Update button, you likely already have the update. 

Procreate 5 is a versatile digital illustration tool with rich features that support all styles of art, including this modern, line-art based composition of a cat. 
Procreate 5 is a versatile digital illustration tool with rich features that support all styles of art, including this modern, line-art based composition of a cat. 

Troubleshooting Procreate 5 

As you install the update, you may encounter these common questions or issues. 

Is Procreate 5X a Free Upgrade? 

If you are a current Procreate user, the update is free. To download the app for the first time, there is a one-time fee of $9.99—but you will receive future updates for free. 

What If You Can’t Download Procreate 5? 

If you can’t download Procreate 5, first make sure that you have the correct iOS installed—Procreate 5 requires iOS 13.2 or newer. If you have an older version of the iPad that doesn’t support iOS 13.2, there is a workaround: First, purchase Procreate as a gift through the App Store, and send the purchase to your own email. When you redeem the purchase through your email, you will be able to download a compatible version of Procreate for your iPad. (However, this may not be Procreate 5.)

If you encounter additional issues, visit the Procreate support website.  

With the robust features of Procreate 5, you have a comprehensive set of tools to create unique digital art. If you haven’t already made the switch, head to the App Store, update your app, and start exploring—and creating. 

Bring Your Digital Illustrations to Life

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