How to Group Layers in Procreate: Practical Step-by-Step Tutorial
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


Understanding Layers in Procreate

How to Group Layers in Procreate: Step-by-Step Guide

Benefits of Grouping Layers in Procreate

Tips for Grouping Layers in Procreate

Advanced Techniques for Grouping Layers in Procreate

When you're working on a digital masterpiece in Procreate, handling layers can be quite challenging, especially when you have a lot of them. If that's the case, don't worry! This blog will teach you how to group layers in Procreate, making your life a lot easier—just like magic! By the end of this tutorial, you'll know all about layers, how to group them, and some nifty tricks to keep your Procreate canvas organized.

Understanding Layers in Procreate

Before we dive into grouping layers, let's first make sure we're on the same page about what layers are and how they work in Procreate. Layers are a fundamental feature of digital art software, allowing you to stack different elements on top of each other—think of them as transparent sheets with your artwork on them.

Layer Basics

  • Adding layers: To create a new layer, tap the "+" icon in the Layers panel. You can have as many layers as you need, depending on your device's capabilities.
  • Visibility: You can toggle layer visibility on or off by tapping the checkbox next to the layer thumbnail. This helps you see what's underneath or focus on specific parts of your artwork.
  • Opacity: Adjust the layer's transparency by sliding the Opacity bar in the Layers panel. This is useful for blending or creating subtle effects.
  • Reordering: To change the order of layers, simply tap and hold a layer, then drag it up or down in the list. This affects how elements appear in your artwork—higher layers cover the ones below them.

Layer Functions and Uses

Layers offer incredible flexibility and control over your artwork, allowing you to:

  • Separate different elements (e.g., background, characters, and text) for easy editing
  • Experiment with colors, textures, and effects without affecting other parts of the image
  • Apply blend modes, adjustment layers, and masks for advanced creative techniques

With these powerful functions, it's no surprise that layers are a digital artist's best friend!

Layer Limitations

While layers are amazing, they do come with some limitations:

  • Layer count: Depending on your device's processing power and canvas size, you might be limited in the number of layers you can use. Keep an eye on the layer counter in the Layers panel to avoid running out of layers unexpectedly.
  • Organization: As your artwork grows in complexity, it can be challenging to locate and manage specific layers. This is where knowing how to group layers in Procreate comes in handy!

Now that we have a solid understanding of layers, let's move on to grouping them and making your Procreate experience even smoother.

How to Group Layers in Procreate: Step-by-Step Guide

Alright, now that you're familiar with layers and their functions, it's time to learn how to group layers in Procreate. Grouping layers is a fantastic way to keep your canvas organized and make your digital art experience more enjoyable. So, let's get started!

Selecting Layers

First things first, you'll need to select the layers you want to group together. Here's how:

  1. Open the Layers panel by tapping the Layers icon (two overlapping squares) at the top right corner of your screen.
  2. Tap and hold a layer thumbnail until a blue checkmark appears on it. This indicates that the layer is selected.
  3. Continue tapping other layer thumbnails to add them to your selection. You'll see blue checkmarks on each selected layer.

Once you've selected all the layers you want to group, you're ready for the next step.

Creating a Group

Now that you have your layers selected, let's learn how to group them in Procreate:

  1. With your layers selected, tap the "Group" button that appears at the top of the Layers panel.
  2. Voilà! Your selected layers are now grouped together in a new folder within the Layers panel.
  3. Tap the folder icon to expand or collapse the group, revealing or hiding the layers within.

And there you have it—that's how to group layers in Procreate. But let's not stop there. Let's explore organizing layers within a group and ungrouping, too.

Organizing Layers within a Group

Now that your layers are grouped, you might want to rearrange them within the group. No problem, here's how:

  1. Expand the group by tapping the folder icon, if it's not already open.
  2. Tap and hold the layer thumbnail you want to move.
  3. Drag the layer to its new position within the group.
  4. Release your finger to drop the layer in place.

Feel free to rearrange layers within the group as needed—this is your masterpiece, after all!

Ungrouping Layers

Sometimes, you might need to ungroup layers in Procreate. If that's the case, here's how to do it:

  1. Select the group by tapping its folder icon in the Layers panel.
  2. Tap the "Ungroup" button that appears at the top of the panel.
  3. All the layers within the group will now be ungrouped and displayed separately in the Layers panel.

And that's it! You've successfully ungrouped layers in Procreate. Now you know how to group layers, organize them, and ungroup them when needed.

Benefits of Grouping Layers in Procreate

Now that you know how to group layers in Procreate, let's discuss the benefits of doing so. You might be wondering why you should take the time to group layers in your digital art projects. Well, here are three significant advantages of grouping layers in Procreate that will make your artistic endeavors more efficient and enjoyable.

Improved Organization

One major benefit of grouping layers in Procreate is the improved organization it brings to your canvas. When you're working on a complex piece, it's easy for the Layers panel to become cluttered and overwhelming. By grouping related layers together, you can:

  • Keep your Layers panel neat and tidy.
  • Quickly locate specific layers within your project.
  • Make it easier to navigate your canvas and focus on the elements you're currently working on.

All of this adds up to a more organized and enjoyable digital art experience. Plus, a clean and organized workspace is always more inviting, don't you think?

Efficient Workflow

Grouping layers in Procreate also leads to a more efficient workflow. When you have a well-organized Layers panel, you can work faster and more effectively. Grouping layers allows you to:

  • Quickly toggle the visibility of entire groups of layers, instead of individually.
  • Apply adjustments to multiple layers at once—saving you precious time.
  • Focus on specific areas of your project without getting distracted by other elements.

When your workflow is efficient, you can spend more time doing what you love—creating fantastic digital art—rather than wrestling with a disorganized Layers panel.

Easier Editing and Adjustments

Finally, grouping layers in Procreate makes it easier to edit and adjust your artwork. By having related layers grouped together, you can:

  • Apply adjustments or effects to the entire group, rather than individual layers. For example, if you have a group of layers that make up a character's clothing, you can easily change the color scheme of the entire outfit in one go.
  • Transform or resize multiple layers at once, maintaining their relative positions and proportions.
  • Quickly isolate specific elements of your artwork for more precise editing.

These editing advantages not only save time but also help ensure consistency throughout your artwork. Plus, it's always nice to have a smooth editing process, isn't it?

Now that you're aware of the benefits of grouping layers in Procreate, let's look at some tips and advanced techniques to help you make the most of this feature.

Tips for Grouping Layers in Procreate

Now that you're familiar with the benefits of grouping layers in Procreate, let's explore some tips that can help you make the most of this feature. By implementing these strategies, you'll not only learn how to group layers in Procreate more effectively, but you'll also enhance your overall digital art experience.

Naming Layers and Groups

One simple but powerful tip is to name your layers and groups. It might sound basic, but trust us—properly naming your layers will save you a lot of headaches down the road. By giving each layer and group a descriptive name, you can:

  • Easily identify layers and groups within your project.
  • Prevent confusion when working with similar elements in different groups.
  • Quickly locate specific layers or groups, saving time and effort.

For example, if you're working on a digital painting of a landscape, you could name your groups "Foreground," "Midground," and "Background." Within each group, you could have layers named "Trees," "Rocks," "Grass," etc., to help you stay organized and focused.

Using Colors to Distinguish Layers

Another helpful tip is to use colors to distinguish your layers in Procreate. By assigning different colors to your layers and groups, you can:

  • Visually differentiate between layers at a glance.
  • Quickly locate specific layers or groups within your project.
  • Make your Layers panel more visually appealing and inviting.

To assign a color to a layer or group, simply swipe left on the layer or group name in the Layers panel, and then tap on the color you want to assign. Just like that, you've added a splash of color to your organization!

Layer Management Best Practices

When it comes to layer management in Procreate, following some best practices will ensure a smooth and efficient workflow. Here are a few key points to remember:

  1. Keep your Layers panel tidy by grouping related layers together and naming them appropriately, as we discussed earlier. If you ever need a refresher on how to group layers in Procreate, just refer back to the step-by-step guide in this blog.
  2. Merge or flatten layers when you're confident you won't need to edit them individually. This can help you conserve your layer limit and keep your project more organized.
  3. Regularly review your Layers panel and delete any unnecessary or unused layers. This will help you stay organized and focused on the most important elements of your artwork.

By following these best practices, you'll maintain an organized workspace and be well-equipped to create stunning digital art in Procreate.

Now that you've learned some handy tips for grouping layers in Procreate, let's dive into some advanced techniques that can take your art to the next level.

Advanced Techniques for Grouping Layers in Procreate

Now that you're equipped with useful tips and best practices for layer management, let's explore some advanced techniques that can elevate your Procreate experience even further. These techniques will help you harness the full potential of layer grouping and take your digital art to new heights.

Using Clipping Masks with Grouped Layers

Clipping masks can be a game-changer when working with grouped layers in Procreate. They allow you to apply textures, patterns, or color adjustments to a group of layers without affecting the rest of your artwork. Here's how you can use clipping masks with grouped layers:

  1. Create a new layer above the group you want to apply the mask to.
  2. Tap on the new layer to open the layer options, and select "Clipping Mask."
  3. Paint or add your desired texture, pattern, or color adjustment to the clipping mask layer. This will only affect the layers within the group below it, keeping the rest of your artwork intact.

With clipping masks, you can achieve intricate effects and maintain a non-destructive workflow, making it a powerful addition to your layer grouping arsenal.

Applying Blend Modes to Groups

Blend modes are another fantastic feature that can be applied to groups of layers in Procreate. They determine how the colors of layers interact with one another, resulting in various visual effects. To apply a blend mode to a group, follow these steps:

  1. Select the group you want to apply the blend mode to.
  2. Tap on the "N" icon next to the group name in the Layers panel, and a list of blend modes will appear.
  3. Select the desired blend mode, and watch as the visual effect is applied to the entire group.

Experimenting with different blend modes can lead to stunning and unexpected results, making it a valuable tool when working with groups in Procreate.

Transforming and Resizing Groups

Transforming and resizing groups of layers in Procreate is both easy and efficient. This feature allows you to apply changes to an entire group simultaneously, saving you time and maintaining consistency throughout your artwork. Here's how you can transform and resize groups:

  1. Select the group you wish to modify by tapping on its name in the Layers panel.
  2. Tap on the Transform tool (the arrow icon) in the top toolbar.
  3. Adjust the group by using the handles on the bounding box or by using gestures like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger rotation.
  4. Once you're satisfied with the transformation, tap on the Transform tool again to apply the changes.

By mastering these advanced techniques, you'll be able to create complex and dynamic compositions in Procreate, all while maintaining an organized and efficient workflow.

In conclusion, understanding how to group layers in Procreate is essential for any digital artist looking to improve their organization and workflow. By applying the tips, best practices, and advanced techniques covered in this tutorial, you'll be well on your way to creating stunning and professional digital artwork with ease. Happy creating!

If you enjoyed learning about grouping layers in Procreate and want to further enhance your drawing skills, don't miss the workshop 'Learn How to Draw in Procreate' by Vicky Catalan. This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive guide to mastering the art of drawing in Procreate, helping you unlock your full creative potential.