For illustrators and graphic designers, Procreate is an essential tool of the trade—and now, it’s even better. The latest update to Procreate, Procreate 5X, is filled with exciting updates and fun new features. Below, we explore some of the Procreate 5X new features, so you can quickly get up to speed and start creating. 

Procreate 5X new features include new filters, updated color capabilities, text gestures, and much more.
Procreate 5X new features include new filters, updated color capabilities, text gestures, and much more.

Ability to View a Reference Image

In the Procreate 5X update, you now have the ability to view a reference image. By toggling this option, you can bring up a floating companion window, where you can simultaneously view another image. You might, for example, use this window to view your entire canvas while you work on a zoomed-in portion of the image. Or, you might opt to view another image to serve as the inspiration for your work

You can also color drop from the reference image. So, if you’re working on a detailed portion, you can quickly grab a color from elsewhere in the image. 

This new capability doesn’t replace Procreate’s split-screen feature, so that is still available—but this provides a convenient new option for viewing your canvas or another image. 

Skillshare instructor Brooke Glaser demonstrates how to pull up a reference image in Procreate 5X.

New Filters 

One of the most exciting features of the Procreate 5X release is its new filters. A few notable new filters include: 

Pencil Filters 

In older versions of Procreate, you would have to apply a filter to an entire layer of your image. With the new pencil filter, however, you can essentially paint on an effect exactly where you want it on an individual layer. And, you can use any type of brush to apply those effects, so whether you need a certain size or texture, you can achieve the precise look you want. 

Glitch 

The glitch filters are designed to create analogue- and digital-video-inspired distortion to your artwork. Once you select this adjustment filter, you can slide your Apple Pencil across the image to see an increasing level of distortion. There are four different types of glitch filters that you can apply, each with a slightly different effect: artifact, wave, signal, and diverge. 

In this illustration, the artist has applied the artifact version of the glitch filter, creating a pixelated distortion of the image.
In this illustration, the artist has applied the artifact version of the glitch filter, creating a pixelated distortion of the image.

Gradient Map

Another adjustment filter, gradient map allows you to take black and white images and apply a color scheme to colorize your image. You can use preset color palettes, or you can create your own custom colors. This feature generally gives you more color control than using the hue and saturation adjustment tools. 

Using the gradient map feature in Procreate 5X, you can take a black and white image and automatically color it using predetermined or custom color palettes. 

Chromatic Aberration 

The chromatic aberration filter allows you to give your images depth through color distortion. Essentially, you can select an object in your illustration and pull it apart by color, creating a shaded effect around the object. Procreate 5X gives you full control over this effect, so you can make it as dramatic or subtle as you want. 

This simple image demonstrates the chromatic aberration filter, which distorts an image using color. 
This simple image demonstrates the chromatic aberration filter, which distorts an image using color. 

Updated Color Features

Procreate 5X also offers some new color features. For example, you can create a custom color palette from anything, including images from your photo library or photos taken with your iPad’s camera. 

With Procreate 5X’s custom color palette feature, you can generate a new color palette in real time using your iPad’s camera. 
With Procreate 5X’s custom color palette feature, you can generate a new color palette in real time using your iPad’s camera. 

There is also a new color fill option. This enables you to draw any shape and automatically fill it with your selected color, which can be a big time saver. Or, if you have a line drawing or sketch, you can select an area of the drawing to fill in with a selected color—just like a coloring book. 

Take Advantage of These New Features

How to Use Procreate 5X: Fresh Filters, Features, and More With Brooke Glaser

New Text Gestures 

There are several new ways to add and adjust text in Procreate 5X. Now, you can simply hand write words on the screen, and they will convert to text. If you scribble over a word, it will be deleted. You can also add or remove a space within a word or phrase by drawing a vertical line wherever you want the space. And finally, you can select a word by circling it or drawing a horizontal line through it—and from there, you can easily pull up a menu to make further adjustments to the font, size, color, and more. 

With a few simple swipes of your Apple Pencil, you can add and edit text on your Procreate 5X illustrations. 

FacePaint

A fun new feature in Procreate 5X, FacePaint uses augmented reality capabilities to enable you to “paint” your own face. Your creation can be mapped to the live camera view, so it appears like a digital face mask. Then, you can even record yourself and share your creations with your friends and fans. 

Updated Snapping and Magnetics Tools 

Snapping is a function that can help you align objects in relation to each other or in relation to the canvas overall. If you select one object and begin moving it around, Procreate 5X will automatically populate guidelines and “snap” the object into place. 

As Brook Glaser lines up these cat faces, Procreate 5X generates guidelines and helps “snap” them into place. 
As Brook Glaser lines up these cat faces, Procreate 5X generates guidelines and helps “snap” them into place. 

While snapping helps you align objects horizontally and vertically, you can use the magnetics feature to move objects diagonally and at various angles. You can use these two settings in any combination (i.e., you can turn them both on or both off, or you can use just one at a time). 

Private Layer

New in Procreate 5X, you can add a private layer to your projects. These layers will not appear in your gallery or time lapse videos. This can be useful if you need to include a reference image, but don’t want it to be visible in your final artwork. 

This Procreate time-lapse video shows Skillshare instructor Brooke Glaser’s creative process from beginning to end. With new private layers, you can hide selected layers from your time-lapse videos. 
This Procreate time-lapse video shows Skillshare instructor Brooke Glaser’s creative process from beginning to end. With new private layers, you can hide selected layers from your time-lapse videos. 

Streamlined Shortcuts and Menus 

Every artist has his or her own creative process—and now, Procreate 5X can help you customize menus and shortcuts to align with that process. You can build your own library of custom shortcuts and tailor your QuickMenu to your preferences. For example, if you use different shortcuts for sketching than when you’re adding color to your images, you can create two totally separate QuickMenu sets. Then, you can toggle between the menus so you have quick, convenient access to the shortcuts you need, depending on your current project. 

Where to Download the Procreate 5X Release

You can download Procreate 5X on the Apple App Store for iPad. If you are a current user, the update is free. If you are a new user, there is a one-time fee of $9.99 to download the app, and you must have iOS 13.2 or later. In addition, some features are only supported in newer versions of the iPad. FacePaint, for example, requires an iPad with an A12 chip or higher and a TrueDepth camera.

With all of the new features in the latest Procreate 5X release, you can do more than ever to create and customize your images. In fact, some early reviewers say that this update is especially helpful for those who want to work more in Procreate and less in Photoshop. With these new features, you can spend less time moving between apps and more time bringing your creations to life. 

Bring Your Procreate Creations to Life

Animation for Illustration: Adding Movement with Procreate & Photoshop