Procreate vs Photoshop: A Comprehensive Comparison of Features, Functions, and Pricing
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 11 min read


1. Features Overview: Procreate vs Photoshop

2. User Interface: Comparing Procreate and Photoshop

3. Performance: Procreate vs Photoshop on Different Devices

4. Learning Curve: Ease of Use for Procreate and Photoshop

5. Pricing: Comparing Procreate and Photoshop Subscription Models

If you're trying to decide between Procreate and Photoshop for your digital art needs, you're in the right place! In this blog, we'll explore the differences between these two popular programs, comparing their features, functions, and pricing. By the end, you'll have a better understanding of which tool is the right fit for you. So let's dive into this Procreate vs Photoshop showdown!

1. Features Overview: Procreate vs Photoshop

Both Procreate and Photoshop offer a wide range of features to help you create stunning digital art. In this section, we'll compare their brushes and tools, layers and masks, vector support, and animation capabilities.

Brushes and Tools

Procreate and Photoshop both come with an impressive array of brushes and tools to help you bring your artistic vision to life. Procreate, however, is specifically designed for use with the Apple Pencil on the iPad, which gives it an edge in terms of natural drawing feel and pressure sensitivity. Some of the unique features in Procreate include:

  • QuickShape: This handy tool allows you to easily create perfect geometric shapes with just a few strokes.
  • StreamLine: A stroke stabilization feature that smooths out your lines as you draw, making it easier to create clean, precise artwork.

Photoshop, on the other hand, has a more extensive selection of brushes and tools, including the famous Pen Tool, which is great for creating precise paths and shapes. Additionally, Photoshop's brushes can be customized in more ways, giving you more control over your work.

Layers and Masks

Both Procreate and Photoshop offer robust layer and mask features, allowing you to easily organize and edit your work. Procreate's layer system is more straightforward and intuitive, making it simple for beginners to grasp quickly. Some of the layer features in Procreate include:

  • Clipping Masks: These allow you to apply textures or patterns to specific layers without affecting the rest of your artwork.
  • Blend Modes: Blend modes let you control how layers interact with one another, enabling you to create unique effects.

Photoshop, being a more advanced program, offers even more powerful layer and mask capabilities. It includes adjustment layers, which can be used to apply non-destructive edits to your work, and Layer Styles, which can add a variety of effects such as drop shadows and bevels.

Vector Support

In the Procreate vs Photoshop debate, one area where Photoshop takes the lead is vector support. While Procreate is primarily a raster-based program, Photoshop offers both raster and vector capabilities. This means that you can create crisp, scalable artwork in Photoshop that won't lose quality when resized.

Procreate does have a feature called QuickShape that can help you create clean, geometric shapes, but it doesn't provide the same level of control as Photoshop's Pen Tool and vector capabilities.

Animation Capabilities

If you're looking to add animation to your digital art, both Procreate and Photoshop have you covered. Procreate offers a simple and intuitive animation feature called Animation Assist, which allows you to create frame-by-frame animations with ease. You can even export your animations as GIFs or video files to share with others.

Photoshop, on the other hand, has a more advanced timeline-based animation system that lets you create both frame-by-frame and tweened animations. This gives you more control over your animations, but may also come with a steeper learning curve.

2. User Interface: Comparing Procreate and Photoshop

Now that we've compared the features of Procreate and Photoshop, let's take a closer look at their user interfaces. A well-designed interface can make all the difference in your creative workflow, so in this section, we'll discuss workspace customization, touch gestures, and shortcuts and navigation in both programs.

Workspace Customization

Procreate offers a minimalist and clean interface that is easy to navigate, even for beginners. The canvas takes up most of the screen, with only a few essential tools available around the edges. The streamlined workspace allows you to focus on your artwork without being overwhelmed by multiple toolbars and panels. Some customization options in Procreate include:

  • QuickMenu: A customizable radial menu that you can access with a tap, allowing you to add your favorite shortcuts and tools for easy access.
  • Dark and Light modes: Choose between two interface themes to suit your preferences and working environment.

On the other hand, Photoshop provides a more comprehensive interface with multiple panels, toolbars, and menus that can be customized to your liking. This flexibility is excellent for advanced users who want more control over their workspace, but it might be intimidating for beginners. Some of Photoshop's customization options are:

  • Workspaces: Predefined and custom workspace layouts to suit different tasks, such as photography, painting, or web design.
  • Panel arrangement: Drag and dock panels wherever you want on your screen for a personalized workflow.

Touch Gestures

Touch gestures play a significant role in the Procreate vs Photoshop comparison, especially when it comes to working on a tablet. Procreate is designed specifically for the iPad and takes full advantage of its touch capabilities, offering intuitive gestures for tasks like zooming, rotating the canvas, and undoing actions. Some unique touch gestures in Procreate are:

  • Quick pinch: A two-finger pinch gesture to quickly fit your canvas to the screen.
  • Instant eyedropper: Press and hold on the canvas to activate the eyedropper tool and pick a color from your artwork.

While Photoshop also supports touch gestures, its implementation is not as seamless as Procreate's, primarily because it is designed for desktop use. Photoshop does offer some touch gestures for tablet users, such as zooming and panning, but the overall experience might not feel as fluid as it does in Procreate.

Shortcuts and Navigation

Efficient navigation and the use of shortcuts can greatly improve your workflow, and both Procreate and Photoshop offer ways to speed up your creative process. In Procreate, you have the QuickMenu, which provides easy access to your favorite tools and shortcuts. Additionally, Procreate's touch gestures make it simple to perform common actions like undoing and redoing steps.

In the Photoshop corner of the Procreate vs Photoshop battle, you'll find a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that can help you work faster and more efficiently. While some of these shortcuts are available on a tablet with a keyboard attachment, the extensive list of shortcuts shines when using Photoshop on a desktop computer. Photoshop's shortcuts cover everything from switching tools to applying filters, giving you a high level of control over your workflow.

In conclusion, both Procreate and Photoshop offer different user interfaces that cater to different preferences and needs. Procreate's minimalist interface and touch gestures make it ideal for artists who want a smooth, intuitive experience on their iPads, while Photoshop's customizable and feature-rich interface is perfect for those seeking more advanced options and greater control over their workspace.

3. Performance: Procreate vs Photoshop on Different Devices

Now that we've delved into the user interfaces of Procreate and Photoshop, let's discuss their performance on different devices. After all, a smooth and efficient experience is vital for any artist, whether you're a professional or just starting. In this section, we'll explore hardware requirements, speed and efficiency, and cross-platform compatibility in the Procreate vs Photoshop debate.

Hardware Requirements

Procreate is designed specifically for the iPad, and its system requirements are relatively low. You can use Procreate on any iPad model that runs iPadOS 13.2 or later. This includes a wide range of devices, from the budget-friendly iPad (6th generation) to the powerful iPad Pro. Some factors to consider when choosing an iPad for Procreate are:

  • Screen size: iPads come in various sizes, so consider what screen size works best for your art projects and portability needs.
  • Apple Pencil compatibility: The Apple Pencil is an invaluable tool for artists, but not all iPads are compatible with it. Make sure to check compatibility before purchasing.

Photoshop, on the other hand, has higher system requirements due to its extensive feature set. It's available on both Windows and macOS, with the following minimum requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster.
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM (8 GB recommended).
  • Graphics: GPU with DirectX 12 or OpenGL 2.0 support.

Keep in mind that these are just the minimum requirements—more powerful hardware will provide a smoother experience, especially when working on large, complex projects.

Speed and Efficiency

When comparing Procreate vs Photoshop in terms of speed and efficiency, both apps have their strengths. Procreate is known for its lightning-fast performance on the iPad, making it a joy to use for sketching, drawing, and painting. The app's touch gestures and streamlined interface contribute to its efficiency, allowing you to focus on your artwork without any hiccups or slowdowns.

Photoshop, while more resource-intensive, also offers robust performance on well-equipped devices. The app's speed is highly dependent on your hardware, so investing in a powerful computer with ample RAM and a dedicated graphics card will ensure a smooth Photoshop experience. Additionally, Photoshop's extensive range of features and tools allows for a highly efficient workflow, especially for advanced users who have mastered the app's shortcuts and customization options.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

In the battle of Procreate vs Photoshop, cross-platform compatibility is an important factor to consider. As mentioned earlier, Procreate is exclusive to the iPad, making it an excellent choice for artists who prefer a mobile and touch-based experience. However, if you need to switch between multiple devices or platforms, Procreate might not be the best fit for you.

Photoshop, on the other hand, is available on both Windows and macOS, with a more limited version called Photoshop on the iPad. This cross-platform availability makes Photoshop a more versatile option for artists who work on different devices or collaborate with others using various platforms. Additionally, Adobe Creative Cloud integration allows you to sync your projects and settings across devices, making it easy to pick up where you left off regardless of the device you're using.

Ultimately, the choice between Procreate and Photoshop will depend on your device preferences, workflow, and the specific features you require. Procreate offers a fast and intuitive experience on the iPad, while Photoshop provides a versatile and feature-rich solution for artists who need cross-platform compatibility and more advanced tools.

4. Learning Curve: Ease of Use for Procreate and Photoshop

As we continue our exploration of Procreate vs Photoshop, let's consider the learning curve for each application. After all, it's important to know how much time and effort you'll need to invest before you can confidently create your digital masterpieces. In this section, we'll discuss tutorials and resources, community support, and skill level requirements for both Procreate and Photoshop.

Tutorials and Resources

Procreate is known for its user-friendly design, making it easy for beginners to pick up and start using right away. The app's interface is intuitive, and the touch gestures are simple to learn. Additionally, there are many resources available to help you master Procreate:

  • Procreate Handbook: This handy guide covers all the features, tools, and gestures you need to know.
  • Online tutorials: Numerous YouTube channels and websites offer step-by-step instructions for various Procreate techniques.

Photoshop, on the other hand, has a steeper learning curve due to its vast array of features and tools. However, once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are nearly limitless. To help you learn Photoshop, Adobe offers a wealth of resources:

  • Adobe Help Center: This comprehensive resource includes user guides, tutorials, and troubleshooting tips for all Adobe products, including Photoshop.
  • Photoshop Training & Tutorials: Adobe offers a variety of tutorials, from beginner to advanced, to help you learn the ins and outs of Photoshop.

Community Support

In the Procreate vs Photoshop debate, both applications boast strong community support. Procreate users can find help and inspiration from fellow artists on platforms like Instagram, Reddit, and the official Procreate forums. These communities are filled with tips, tricks, and artwork to keep you motivated and inspired.

Photoshop also has a large and active user base, with many forums, Facebook groups, and other online communities where you can ask questions, share your work, and learn from others. Additionally, Adobe hosts its own community forums, where you can find answers to technical questions, learn about new features, and connect with other Photoshop users.

Skill Level Requirements

When comparing the skill level requirements of Procreate vs Photoshop, it's important to consider what you want to achieve with your artwork. Procreate is a fantastic choice for beginners and intermediate users, offering an easy-to-learn interface and a variety of tools for creating stunning digital art. However, if you're a professional artist or designer, you may find that Procreate's features are somewhat limited, especially when it comes to advanced techniques like photo manipulation and vector graphics.

Photoshop, while more challenging to learn, offers a vast range of tools and features that cater to users of all skill levels. Whether you're a beginner looking to learn the basics or a seasoned pro in need of advanced editing capabilities, Photoshop has you covered. It's worth noting that practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged if Photoshop seems overwhelming at first. With time, patience, and the right resources, you'll soon master the art of digital creation.

As we've seen in this Procreate vs Photoshop comparison, both applications have their own advantages and challenges when it comes to the learning curve. Procreate offers a more accessible experience for beginners, while Photoshop provides a powerful, feature-rich platform for more advanced users. Whichever app you choose, remember that there's a world of resources and community support available to help you along your creative journey.

5. Pricing: Comparing Procreate and Photoshop Subscription Models

Now that we've looked at the learning curve for both Procreate and Photoshop, let's talk about the elephant in the room—pricing. When comparing Procreate vs Photoshop, it's important to consider the cost of each application and whether it fits within your budget. In this section, we'll discuss the initial cost, subscription plans, and additional resources and add-ons for both Procreate and Photoshop.

Initial Cost

When it comes to the initial cost, Procreate has a clear advantage over Photoshop. Available exclusively for iPad, Procreate is a one-time purchase of $9.99 on the App Store, making it an affordable option for artists of all levels. Once you've paid this upfront cost, you won't have to worry about any recurring subscription fees, which can be a big relief for those on tight budgets.

Photoshop, on the other hand, operates on a subscription-based model as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud suite. Unlike Procreate, there's no one-time purchase option for Photoshop; instead, you'll need to choose from various subscription plans, which we'll discuss in the next section.

Subscription Plans

As mentioned earlier, Photoshop is part of Adobe's Creative Cloud, which offers a range of subscription plans to suit different needs and budgets. The most basic plan, the Photography Plan, includes Photoshop, Lightroom, and 20GB of cloud storage, priced at $9.99/month. If you need access to more Adobe applications, you can opt for the All Apps Plan, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more, for $52.99/month.

For those who only need Photoshop, there's also a Single App Plan available for $20.99/month. While the subscription model can be more expensive in the long run compared to Procreate's one-time purchase, it does provide access to regular updates, new features, and integration with other Adobe applications, which can be valuable for some users.

Additional Resources and Add-Ons

When comparing Procreate vs Photoshop, it's worth noting that both applications offer additional resources and add-ons to enhance your creative experience. In Procreate, you can find a variety of free and paid brushes, textures, and color palettes from artists and designers within the community. These resources can be easily imported into the app, allowing you to personalize your workflow and expand your creative possibilities.

Photoshop, on the other hand, offers a vast library of resources through Adobe's Creative Cloud. This includes access to fonts, stock images, and various add-ons like brushes, actions, and plug-ins. Some of these resources are available for free, while others require a separate purchase or subscription. Keep in mind that your overall cost may increase if you decide to invest in these additional resources, so it's important to factor them into your budget when weighing Procreate vs Photoshop.

In conclusion, the pricing for Procreate and Photoshop varies significantly, with Procreate being the more budget-friendly option through its one-time purchase model. However, Photoshop's subscription plans offer regular updates and access to other Adobe applications, which may be a deciding factor for some users. Ultimately, the choice between Procreate vs Photoshop will depend on your budget, artistic needs, and personal preferences. Remember that no matter which application you choose, there's a wealth of resources and support available to help you create stunning digital art.

If you're interested in diving deeper into the world of Procreate and Photoshop, don't miss the workshop 'Animating with Procreate and Photoshop' by Nyanza D. This workshop will provide you with hands-on experience and expert guidance on how to create stunning animations using both Procreate and Photoshop, helping you make an informed decision on which software best suits your needs.