Can Procreate Open PSD Files? A Step-by-Step Guide to Importing and Exporting
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


1. Can Procreate Open PSD Files?

2. Importing PSD Files into Procreate

3. Exporting PSD Files from Procreate

4. Working with PSD Layers in Procreate

5. Best Practices for PSD Files in Procreate

Working with digital art software can sometimes feel like navigating a maze of file formats and compatibility issues. If you're wondering whether Procreate can open PSD files, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we'll explore Procreate's PSD support, share some tips on importing and exporting PSD files, and offer advice on managing layers and organizing your workflow.

1. Can Procreate Open PSD Files?

Yes, Procreate can open PSD files, allowing you to work seamlessly between Procreate and Photoshop. However, there are some limitations and alternative file formats worth considering. Let's dive into the details.

Understanding Procreate's PSD Support

Procreate's ability to open PSD files means you can transfer your artwork between Procreate and Photoshop without losing any of your work. Some key aspects of Procreate's PSD support include:

  • Preserving layers: Procreate maintains your Photoshop layers when you import a PSD file.
  • Layer effects: While some layer effects might not translate perfectly, Procreate does a decent job of keeping your layer styles intact.
  • Optimized for Procreate: Although Procreate can open PSD files, the app has been designed around its native .procreate file format, which offers more advanced features and better performance.

Limitations of PSD Files in Procreate

While Procreate's PSD support is useful, there are some limitations to be aware of:

  • Text layers: Procreate does not support text layers. When you import a PSD file with text layers, the text will be rasterized, meaning you won't be able to edit it as text in Procreate.
  • Smart objects: Procreate doesn't support smart objects. If your PSD file contains smart objects, they will be rasterized when imported into Procreate.
  • Some layer effects: As mentioned earlier, some Photoshop layer effects may not translate perfectly in Procreate, so you may need to make adjustments after importing.

Alternative File Formats for Procreate

While PSD files allow for compatibility with Photoshop, you might want to consider using Procreate's native file format, .procreate, for the best performance and features. Some advantages of using .procreate files include:

  • Faster performance: Procreate's native file format is optimized for the app, which can lead to better performance and a smoother experience.
  • Time-lapse recording: Procreate automatically records your drawing process when working in a .procreate file, allowing you to export a time-lapse video of your artwork.
  • Additional features: Some advanced features, such as QuickShape and StreamLine, are only available when working in .procreate files.

Now that you know Procreate can open PSD files, let's look at how to import and export them effectively.

2. Importing PSD Files into Procreate

Now that you know Procreate can open PSD files, it's time to learn how to import them. This section will cover various methods to import PSD files into Procreate, provide a step-by-step guide, and help you troubleshoot common import issues.

Different Methods to Import PSD Files

There are several ways to import PSD files into Procreate, depending on your device and preferences. Here are three common methods:

  • Using Files app: This method involves saving your PSD file in the Files app on your iPad and then importing it into Procreate.
  • Airdrop: If you're using a Mac, you can easily send your PSD file to your iPad via Airdrop, and then open it in Procreate.
  • Cloud storage: Sync your PSD files through cloud storage services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive, and then import them into Procreate directly from the cloud.

Choose the method that works best for you, and let's move on to the step-by-step guide.

Step-by-Step Guide to Importing PSD Files

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to importing PSD files into Procreate:

  1. Open Procreate and tap the "+" button to create a new canvas.
  2. Select "Import" from the top right corner.
  3. Navigate to the location of your PSD file, whether it's in the Files app, Airdrop, or your chosen cloud storage service.
  4. Select your PSD file and tap "Open."
  5. Procreate will import your PSD file and open it as a new canvas, with layers and effects intact.

Now that you've successfully imported your PSD file, let's address some common import issues.

Troubleshooting Common Import Issues

Occasionally, you might encounter issues when importing PSD files into Procreate. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  • Missing layers or effects: If some layers or effects are missing, check if your PSD file contains text layers, smart objects, or unsupported layer effects. Remember, Procreate rasterizes text and smart objects, and some effects might not translate perfectly.
  • File size limitations: Procreate has a maximum canvas size and layer limit, which might affect large PSD files. If your file exceeds these limits, consider reducing the dimensions or removing unnecessary layers before importing.
  • File corruption: If your PSD file won't import or appears corrupted, try opening it in Photoshop to ensure it's not damaged. If the file is fine, re-save it as a new PSD and try importing it again.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to import PSD files into Procreate with ease. Next, let's explore how to export PSD files from Procreate.

3. Exporting PSD Files from Procreate

Now that you've mastered importing PSD files into Procreate, let's dive into exporting your Procreate artwork as PSD files. This section will guide you through the process step-by-step, help you optimize your export settings, and troubleshoot any common issues that may arise.

Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting PSD Files

Exporting your Procreate art as a PSD file is a breeze. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Procreate project you want to export as a PSD file.
  2. Tap the wrench icon in the top left corner to access the Actions panel.
  3. Select "Share" from the list of options.
  4. Choose "PSD" as the export format.
  5. Decide where you want to save your exported PSD file — you can save it to the Files app, send it via Airdrop, or upload it to a cloud storage service.
  6. Tap "Save" or "Send," depending on your chosen method, and your PSD file will be exported.

And there you have it — you've successfully exported a PSD file from Procreate! But what about optimizing those export settings?

Optimizing Export Settings for PSD Files

When exporting PSD files from Procreate, it's important to ensure the best possible quality and compatibility with other programs like Photoshop. Here are a few tips to help you optimize your export settings:

  • Layer preservation: Make sure to keep your layers intact when exporting, as this will allow you to continue working on your project in other programs without any hassle.
  • File size management: Exporting at a high resolution can result in large file sizes, which might be challenging to work with. Consider reducing the resolution or compressing your file if necessary, while still maintaining the quality of your artwork.
  • Compatibility: To ensure seamless compatibility between Procreate and Photoshop, avoid using layer effects or adjustments that aren't supported in both programs. This will help you maintain the integrity of your work when switching between applications.

With these tips in mind, you're ready to export your PSD files like a pro. But what if you run into any issues?

Troubleshooting Common Export Issues

While exporting PSD files from Procreate is usually a smooth process, you might occasionally encounter some hiccups. Here are a few common issues and their solutions:

  • Missing layers or effects: If you notice that some layers or effects are missing in your exported PSD file, double-check that all layers are visible in Procreate and that you're using compatible effects between both programs. Remember, not all layer effects in Procreate will translate perfectly to Photoshop.
  • File size limitations: If your exported PSD file is too large to open or work with in other applications, try reducing the resolution or compressing the file, as mentioned earlier in the optimization tips.
  • Export errors: If you experience any unexpected errors while exporting, try closing any unnecessary apps on your device to free up memory, or restart your device and try again.

Armed with these troubleshooting tips, you can confidently export your PSD files from Procreate and continue working on your projects in other programs.

4. Working with PSD Layers in Procreate

Now that you're familiar with importing and exporting PSD files in Procreate, let's delve into the world of layers. Understanding how to manage and work with layers in Procreate will make your transition between Procreate and Photoshop seamless. In this section, we'll cover layer management, applying layer effects and adjustments, and ensuring compatibility between the two programs.

4. Working with PSD Layers in Procreate

Great job on getting the hang of importing and exporting PSD files in Procreate! Now let's dive into working with layers, which is an integral part of any digital art workflow. By mastering layer management and compatibility between Procreate and Photoshop, you'll be able to work on your projects seamlessly across both platforms. So, can Procreate open PSD files with layers? Let's find out!

Managing Layers in Procreate

Proper layer management is essential for a smooth and efficient digital art workflow. Here are some tips to help you manage layers effectively in Procreate:

  • Create new layers: To avoid making irreversible changes to your artwork, always create a new layer before adding new elements or making adjustments.
  • Rename layers: Give your layers descriptive names to help you easily identify and locate them as your project grows. This is especially helpful when you're working with numerous layers.
  • Organize layers: Use layer groups to keep similar layers together, making it easier to manage and navigate your project. Simply tap and hold a layer, then drag it onto another to create a group.
  • Merge layers: When you're satisfied with certain parts of your artwork, you can merge layers to reduce the overall layer count and save memory. Just swipe left on a layer and tap "Merge Down."

With these layer management tips, you'll be able to keep your Procreate projects organized and easy to navigate.

Applying Layer Effects and Adjustments

Layer effects and adjustments can enhance your artwork and help you achieve the desired look. Here's how to apply these effects in Procreate:

  • Blend modes: Blend modes determine how layers interact with each other. To access blend modes, tap the "N" icon on the layer and select your desired mode from the list.
  • Opacity: Control the transparency of your layers by adjusting the opacity slider, located next to the blend modes in the layers panel.
  • Masks: Use layer masks to hide or reveal parts of a layer without permanently erasing any content. Tap the layer thumbnail, then choose "Mask" to add a layer mask.
  • Adjustment layers: Procreate offers various adjustment options, such as brightness, contrast, and saturation. Tap the magic wand icon at the top of the screen and select the desired adjustment to apply it to your layer.

Remember, not all layer effects and adjustments in Procreate are compatible with Photoshop, so it's essential to be mindful of this when working with PSD files.

Ensuring Layer Compatibility between Procreate and Photoshop

To ensure that your PSD files can be opened and edited seamlessly in both Procreate and Photoshop, it's crucial to maintain compatibility between the two programs. Here are some tips to help you achieve that:

  • Avoid unsupported effects: Some layer effects in Procreate, like Liquify or Recolor, may not have direct equivalents in Photoshop. Using these effects may cause unexpected changes when opening your PSD files in Photoshop.
  • Use common file formats: Stick to widely supported file formats, like JPEG, PNG, or TIFF, when working with image layers. This will ensure that your images display correctly in both applications.
  • Test compatibility: If you're unsure whether specific effects or adjustments will work across both programs, try opening your PSD file in Photoshop after applying the changes in Procreate. This will help you identify any potential compatibility issues before they become a problem.

By keeping compatibility in mind, you can confidently work on your PSD files across both Procreate and Photoshop without any hiccups.

5. Best Practices for PSD Files in Procreate

You're now well-equipped to handle PSD files in Procreate, but let's not stop there. In this final section, we'll cover some best practices to help you get the most out of your Procreate and Photoshop workflow. From organizing your files to streamlining your workflow and backing up your work, these tips will ensure that you can focus on creating fantastic art without any roadblocks.

5. Best Practices for PSD Files in Procreate

Now that you're a pro with PSD files in Procreate, let's take it a step further and explore some best practices to optimize your workflow. We'll cover efficient file organization, workflow tips, and the importance of backing up your work. By following these practical suggestions, you'll be able to focus on creating stunning artwork while making the most of Procreate's capabilities with PSD files.

Organizing Your PSD Files

Keeping your PSD files organized is a game-changer for your productivity. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a tidy workspace:

  • Folder structure: Create a clear and logical folder hierarchy for your projects, separating them by categories, clients, or themes. This simple step will save you time searching for specific files.
  • Naming conventions: Develop a consistent naming system for your files, including version numbers or dates. This will help you quickly locate and identify the correct file when needed.
  • File cleanup: Periodically review your files, archiving or deleting unused or unnecessary versions. This will keep your workspace clutter-free and make it easier to focus on your current work.

By implementing these organizational habits, you'll have a more streamlined and efficient working environment, making it a breeze to manage your PSD files in Procreate.

Streamlining Your Procreate and Photoshop Workflow

Smooth and efficient workflows are essential for artists using both Procreate and Photoshop. Here are some tips to streamline your creative process:

  • Start with the basics: Begin your project by sketching and refining your ideas in Procreate. Since Procreate is designed for a more natural drawing experience, this will help you quickly generate concepts and build your artwork foundation.
  • Leverage each app's strengths: Use Procreate for drawing, painting, and adding textures, while turning to Photoshop for more advanced editing, retouching, and compositing. This approach will ensure you're using each program to its fullest potential.
  • Sync your work: Regularly synchronize your PSD files between Procreate and Photoshop using cloud storage services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive. This way, you'll always have access to your latest work, no matter which device you're using.

By optimizing your workflow with these tips, you can seamlessly transition between Procreate and Photoshop, making the most of each app's features and answering the question, "can Procreate open PSD files?" with confidence.

Backing Up Your PSD Files

Backing up your work is a small effort that can save you from big headaches. Here's how to ensure your PSD files are safe and secure:

  • Use cloud storage: Services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive not only help you sync your files between devices but also serve as a reliable backup solution. Make sure to regularly save your work to the cloud, so you always have a copy available if needed.
  • External hard drives: Another option is to back up your PSD files on an external hard drive. This provides an additional layer of security and ensures you have a local copy if internet access is limited.
  • Automate backups: Set up automatic backups using cloud storage or local backup software. By automating the process, you can focus on your artwork without worrying about losing your progress due to an unexpected issue.

By following these backup practices, you'll safeguard your hard work and avoid any potential data loss, allowing you to create fearlessly in Procreate and Photoshop.

In conclusion, understanding the ins and outs of working with PSD files in Procreate can significantly improve your digital art workflow. By mastering file organization, streamlining your workflow, and backing up your work, you'll be well-prepared to tackle any project in Procreate and Photoshop. So, can Procreate open PSD files? Absolutely! And with these best practices, you'll be able to do it like a pro.

If you're interested in taking your Procreate skills to the next level, check out the workshop 'Animating with Procreate and Photoshop' by Nyanza D. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and techniques on how to create stunning animations using both Procreate and Photoshop.