If you work in the field of digital art, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Procreate vs Photoshop. These powerhouses are two of today’s most common design software applications—and for good reason. They offer a wide range of features and capabilities to help you bring your creative visions to life. 

However, especially if you’re just starting out as a digital artist, you might be wondering how the two programs compare. Is Procreate better than Photoshop? Or is Photoshop better than Procreate? Which one is right for you

In this guide, we compare Procreate vs Photoshop so you can make an informed buying decision and select the right software for your artistic goals.

What Is the Difference Between Procreate and Photoshop?

Photoshop is perhaps most well known as a photo-editing app, but it actually offers tools for a wide range of other projects. Procreate, on the other hand, is designed specifically to be used with an Apple Pencil for digital illustration. 

Below, we dive deeper into the differences between Procreate vs Adobe Photoshop. 


For artists who want options, Photoshop offers several ways to work. It’s available for Mac and Windows operating systems, and while most users use the program on desktop, it’s also available as an iPad app. 

Procreate is only available on the iPad. It is designed to work specifically with the Apple Pencil, although it is compatible with other styluses. 

procreate art "tea time"
Procreate is designed to be used on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. 


Both programs are feature-rich, but when comparing Procreate vs Photoshop, experienced users will agree: You can do nearly anything with Photoshop. Since the program was first released to the public in 1987, Photoshop has received numerous updates and new features. Today, it’s a robust application that boasts tools for photo editing and retouching, web design, digital illustration, and more. 

Photoshop offers extensive photo editing capabilities, with tools to adjust lighting, contrast, and saturation, plus options to add filters and effects. With just a few clicks, you can remove a blemish from your subject’s face or a distracting object from the background of your picture. You can even integrate photographs and illustrations to create a unique piece of art. 

old photo
Photoshop offers a range of tools for photo editing and retouching. 

Though it’s a simpler application, Procreate does offer many features that make digital illustration a breeze. It comes loaded with more than 200 brushes, and it gives you the option to upload your own custom brushes, as well. It supports layers, which allow you to separate different portions of your drawing. You can also create simple animations using Procreate’s recently released Animation Assist toolbar. And, as a final bonus: Procreate offers the fun and unique ability to create timelapse videos of your creations! 

Photoshop also offers similar tools for digital illustration, including a library of brushes and the ability to create multiple layers in a project. In Photoshop, however, you can create hundreds of layers, while Procreate limits the number of layers based on your canvas size. This means you can create much more complex and detailed projects in Photoshop. 

Ultimately, while Procreate offers a digital experience that feels like you’re drawing on paper, Photoshop offers a much more robust set of features, especially in the realm of photo editing. 

procreate lines
Procreate offers a simple, intuitive interface and comes loaded with more than 200 brushes. 

Dive Into Digital Illustration

Intro to Procreate: Illustrating on the iPad


Is Procreate better than Photoshop? When it comes to price, Procreate is certainly the more affordable option. Procreate is available on the Apple App Store for a one-time purchase price of $9.99. Once you have the app, you have access to all its current features and all future updates—no strings attached. 

Photoshop, on the other hand, must be purchased on a subscription basis. You can purchase it individually—starting at $19.99 per month for an annual subscription—or as a bundle with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps, including Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat Pro. Creative Cloud subscriptions begin at $49.99 per month. 

Learning Curve and Ease of Use

Because Photoshop is so robust, it can be much more time-consuming to learn than Procreate. If you plan to teach yourself how to use Photoshop, you may struggle to learn all the necessary tools and shortcuts, and, as a result, it may take you a long time to truly feel proficient. Fortunately, however, there are many ways to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop, from online tutorials to college courses. 

Learning how to use Procreate can be easier because it’s a simpler and much more intuitive program. While it offers many features, it keeps those tools largely tucked away in the top navigation, so you aren’t overwhelmed and have an unobstructed view of your canvas. Even if you have no experience in digital apps or illustration, you can figure out how to draw in Procreate within just a few minutes. 

photoshop on portrait of lady
Because it is so robust and feature-rich, Photoshop’s interface is more complex than Procreate’s.  

Lifespan and Future Updates

Adobe Photoshop has been around since 1987, and chances are, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s a standard in many professional work environments—including even the biggest media companies—and it’s used by millions of people around the world. In other words, you can expect continued support and updates for Photoshop for years to come. 

While Procreate hasn’t been around nearly as long—it was introduced in 2011—it’s already become a standard app for many graphic designers and illustrators, and you can generally expect it to be supported and updated well into the future.

Which Program Should You Choose? 

Ultimately, is Photoshop better than Procreate? Or does Procreate win overall? When choosing between Procreate vs Adobe Photoshop, it all comes down to your design goals. If you want to focus on photo editing, or if you have dreams of working for a large media company or design firm, learning Photoshop will serve you well. However, if you want to create digital illustrations and simple animations, Procreate is a great option. In the end, no matter which program you go with, it will enable you to create some amazing art. 

Photoshop 101 

Learn Adobe Photoshop: Fundamentals for Getting Started

Written by:

Katie Wolf