Create Engaging Procreate Animations: A Comprehensive Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


1. Getting Started with Procreate Animation

2. Creating Basic Procreate Animations

3. Advanced Procreate Animation Techniques

4. Exporting and Sharing Your Procreate Animation

5. Procreate Animation Tips and Tricks

Are you looking to create captivating animations using Procreate? You're in the right place! In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to create engaging Procreate animations, from setting up your canvas to exporting and sharing your masterpiece. So, grab your iPad and stylus, and let's dive into the world of Procreate animation.

1. Getting Started with Procreate Animation

In this section, we'll cover the basics of setting up your Procreate animation project, including canvas size, understanding Animation Assist, and choosing the right brushes and colors for your animation.

Setting Up Your Canvas

First things first, you need to set up your canvas. The size of your canvas will depend on the intended use of your animation. For example, if you're creating a short animation for social media, a smaller canvas size will suffice. A typical size for Instagram is 1080x1080 pixels. If you're planning to create a detailed, high-definition animation, a larger canvas size will be necessary.

Remember, the larger your canvas, the more memory your iPad will need to handle the animation. So, if you're working with limited resources, it's essential to find the right balance between canvas size and performance.

Understanding Animation Assist

Procreate introduced Animation Assist to help artists create animations with ease. To enable Animation Assist, navigate to the Actions menu (the wrench icon) and tap on the "Canvas" tab. Then, toggle on "Animation Assist."

With Animation Assist enabled, you'll see a timeline at the bottom of your screen. Each frame in your animation represents a layer in the Layers panel. You can easily add, delete, or rearrange frames by managing the layers. Animation Assist also allows you to adjust the timing and speed of your animation—more on that later.

Choosing Brushes and Colors

Procreate offers a vast array of brushes for you to choose from, making it easy to find the perfect brush for your animation. Experiment with different brushes to find the one that best suits your style and the look you're going for in your animation. If you're new to Procreate, start with the default brushes and explore additional brush packs as you become more comfortable.

When it comes to colors, the sky's the limit! Procreate provides a color wheel and various color palettes to help you find your ideal hues. You can also create custom color palettes by saving your favorite colors. Remember, the colors you choose can greatly impact the mood and tone of your animation, so take your time to select the perfect palette.

2. Creating Basic Procreate Animations

Now that we've covered the essentials of setting up your project, it's time to dive into the fun part—creating animations! In this section, we'll guide you through drawing your first frame, adding and editing frames, and previewing and adjusting the timeline in your Procreate animation.

Drawing Your First Frame

With your canvas set up and your brushes and colors ready to go, it's time to draw your first frame. This initial frame serves as the foundation of your Procreate animation, so take your time to create a solid starting point. Here's how to get started:

  1. Select your desired brush and color.
  2. Draw your first image directly on the canvas.
  3. Make sure the Layers panel shows your drawing on the first layer.

Remember, you don't need to be a professional artist to create a fantastic animation. The beauty of Procreate animation is in its flexibility, allowing you to experiment and learn as you go. So, don't stress over perfection—just have fun with it!

Adding and Editing Frames

Now that you've drawn your first frame, it's time to build your animation by adding more frames. To add a new frame, tap the "+" icon in the Animation Assist timeline. This will automatically create a new layer in the Layers panel. The more frames you add, the more fluid your Procreate animation will be.

Editing frames is a breeze with Procreate. If you need to make adjustments to a specific frame, simply select the corresponding layer in the Layers panel and make your edits. Keep in mind that each layer represents one frame, so be cautious not to accidentally edit the wrong frame. With practice, you'll become a pro at managing your frames and creating smooth animations.

Previewing and Adjusting the Timeline

As you work on your Procreate animation, you'll want to preview your progress to ensure everything is coming together nicely. To preview your animation, simply press the "Play" button in the Animation Assist timeline. You can adjust the playback speed using the "Frames Per Second" (FPS) slider—higher values create faster animations, while lower values create slower ones.

Another useful feature in the timeline is Onion Skinning, which allows you to see a faint overlay of adjacent frames while working on your current frame. This helps with creating smooth transitions between frames, making your animation appear more fluid. To enable Onion Skinning, tap the "Settings" icon in the Animation Assist timeline and toggle it on.

3. Advanced Procreate Animation Techniques

With a grasp of the basics, you're ready to explore more advanced animation techniques. In this section, we'll discuss using layers for complex animations, looping animations, and creating smooth transitions to elevate your Procreate animation to new heights.

3. Advanced Procreate Animation Techniques

Now that you have a solid foundation in creating basic animations, it's time to level up your skills and dive into more advanced Procreate animation techniques. In this section, we'll discuss how to use layers for complex animations, create looping animations, and achieve smooth transitions to make your animations stand out.

Using Layers for Complex Animations

Layers play a vital role in Procreate animation, allowing you to manage separate elements of your animation without affecting the entire frame. This is especially useful when working on complex animations with multiple moving parts. Here's how to make the most of layers in your Procreate animation:

  1. Organize your layers: Give each layer a descriptive name to help you keep track of different elements. For example, if you're animating a character walking in front of a background, you might have layers named "Character" and "Background."
  2. Group related layers: Use layer groups to organize layers that belong together. This can help you manage complex animations more easily and prevent accidental edits to the wrong layer.
  3. Use blending modes: Procreate offers various blending modes that can be applied to layers, creating interesting effects in your animation. Experiment with these modes to achieve the desired look for your animation.

By mastering the use of layers, you'll be able to create intricate Procreate animations with ease and precision.

Looping Animations

Looping animations are those that play continuously, seamlessly transitioning from the last frame back to the first. This type of animation can be particularly effective for social media, website banners, or background elements. Here's how to create a looping Procreate animation:

  1. Plan your animation: Before you start drawing, think about the beginning and end of your animation, ensuring that the last frame connects smoothly with the first frame.
  2. Use Onion Skinning: As mentioned earlier, Onion Skinning is a valuable tool for creating smooth transitions between frames. Make sure to enable it when working on looping animations to help achieve a seamless loop.
  3. Set the playback mode: In the Animation Assist timeline, tap the "Settings" icon, and choose "Loop" as your playback mode. This will automatically loop your animation when previewing and exporting.

With practice, you'll be able to create captivating looping animations that keep viewers engaged and mesmerized.

Creating Smooth Transitions

Smooth transitions are key to making your Procreate animation feel polished and professional. Here are some tips to help you achieve that buttery-smooth animation flow:

  1. Adjust the Frames Per Second (FPS): Experiment with different FPS values to find the perfect balance between smoothness and the number of frames needed for your animation. Remember, higher FPS values result in smoother animations but may require more frames to achieve the desired effect.
  2. Use easing: Easing is the technique of gradually changing the speed of movement between frames. By incorporating easing into your animation, elements will appear to accelerate and decelerate more naturally, creating a more polished result.
  3. Pay attention to arcs: When animating movement, consider the natural arcs that objects follow. For example, a bouncing ball follows a curved path, not a straight line. Incorporate these arcs into your animation to create more lifelike and fluid motion.

Applying these principles will help you create Procreate animations that are not only visually appealing but also feel natural and smooth to the viewer.

By exploring these advanced techniques and practicing your newfound skills, you'll be well on your way to creating engaging, professional-quality Procreate animations that captivate your audience. So go ahead, unleash your creativity, and bring your ideas to life with Procreate animation!

4. Exporting and Sharing Your Procreate Animation

Now that you've mastered the art of creating eye-catching Procreate animations, it's time to share your masterpieces with the world. This section will guide you through the process of exporting your animation in the right format, exporting the animation itself, and sharing it online for everyone to enjoy. Let's dive in!

Choosing the Right File Format

Selecting the appropriate file format is crucial for ensuring that your Procreate animation looks its best when shared. Here are some popular formats and their benefits:

  • GIF: GIF is a widely supported format perfect for simple animations with limited colors. It supports transparency and is ideal for small file sizes, making it suitable for sharing on social media or as website elements.
  • MP4: MP4 is a versatile video format that can handle more complex animations with various colors and effects. It offers higher quality and better compression than GIF, but the file size is usually larger. MP4 is suitable for sharing on video platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Animated PNG (APNG): APNG is an alternative to GIF that supports more colors and smoother transitions. It's less widely supported, but it can be a great choice if you need higher quality without moving to video formats like MP4.

Consider your animation's complexity, intended use, and the platforms where you plan to share it when choosing the right file format.

Exporting Your Animation

Once you've decided on a file format, it's time to export your Procreate animation. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Animation Assist panel: Tap the "Actions" icon (the wrench) in the top-left corner of the screen, then select "Canvas" and enable "Animation Assist."
  2. Check your animation settings: In the Animation Assist timeline, tap the "Settings" icon to review the playback mode, frames per second (FPS), and other settings before exporting.
  3. Export your animation: Tap the "Actions" icon again, then select "Share" and choose your desired file format (GIF, MP4, or APNG). Procreate will generate your animation file, which you can then save or share directly from the app.

That's it! Your Procreate animation is now ready to be shared with the world.

Sharing Your Animation Online

With your Procreate animation exported, you can now share it on various platforms to engage and entertain your audience. Here are some ideas for sharing your animations:

  • Social media: Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are perfect for showcasing your animation skills. Keep in mind each platform's guidelines and optimal file formats, as they may differ.
  • Video platforms: If you exported your animation as an MP4, you can upload it to video platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. This allows for higher quality playback and opens up new opportunities for reaching a larger audience.
  • Personal website or blog: Show off your Procreate animation prowess on your own website or blog, where you can build a portfolio of your work and attract potential clients or collaborators.

Don't forget to engage with your audience, respond to comments, and keep practicing your Procreate animation skills to continue growing as an artist.

Now that you have all the tools and knowledge needed to create, export, and share your Procreate animations, there's nothing stopping you from sharing your creativity with the world. So go ahead, showcase your talents, and let your Procreate animations shine!

5. Procreate Animation Tips and Tricks

As you continue to explore the world of Procreate animation, you'll find that there's always more to learn and new techniques to try. In this section, we'll share some tips and tricks to help you take your animations to the next level. Get ready to level up your Procreate animation skills with these handy pointers!

Using Reference Images

Reference images can be a game-changer when it comes to creating smooth and accurate Procreate animations. They help you visualize complex movements and provide inspiration for your artwork. Here's how to make the most of reference images:

  • Import images directly into Procreate: You can easily import your reference images into the app by tapping the "Actions" icon (the wrench), selecting "Add," and then choosing "Insert a photo."
  • Use layers to your advantage: Place your reference image on a separate layer and adjust its opacity to avoid confusion with your actual animation frames. This way, you can easily trace or study the image without affecting your animation.
  • Study real-life examples: Observe the world around you and take note of how things move, like the way a bird flies or the way a person walks. These real-life examples can help you create more realistic and believable Procreate animations.

Optimizing Your Workflow

A streamlined workflow can make a huge difference in your Procreate animation productivity. Here are some tips to help you work more efficiently and avoid common pitfalls:

  • Organize your layers: Keep your layers organized by labeling them and grouping them in folders. This will make it easier to navigate your project and help you avoid accidentally editing the wrong layer.
  • Use shortcuts and gestures: Procreate offers various shortcuts and gestures that can save you time, like two-finger tapping to undo or using the touch modifier to access alternate brush actions. Familiarize yourself with these features to speed up your workflow.
  • Backup your work: Accidents happen, so it's important to regularly back up your Procreate projects to avoid any potential heartbreak. You can save your work to iCloud or other cloud storage services to ensure your animations are safe and sound.

Exploring Procreate Animation Resources

Learning from others is a great way to level up your Procreate animation skills. There are countless resources available to help you improve and stay inspired. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Online tutorials: Platforms like YouTube and Skillshare offer a wealth of Procreate animation tutorials, ranging from beginner to advanced levels. You can find lessons on specific techniques or follow along with entire projects to learn new skills.
  • Procreate community: Join online communities dedicated to Procreate animation, where you can share your work, ask for feedback, and learn from fellow artists. Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter are great places to connect with other animators and discover new inspiration.
  • Books and articles: Don't underestimate the power of a good book or article on animation. There are many resources available that cover the principles of animation, storytelling, and character design, which can all help to elevate your Procreate animation game.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid to experiment and try new techniques. The more you explore the world of Procreate animation, the more skilled and confident you'll become. Happy animating!

If you're looking to dive deeper into the world of Procreate animations, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Procreate Basics: Making Digital Art' by Sameera Maruvada. This workshop will provide you with a solid foundation in digital art creation using Procreate, ensuring that your animations are engaging and visually stunning.