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Procreate Basics: Files & Formatting Guide

Updated: May 1

How to choose the best file format for creating and editing with Procreate

Procreate is a renowned digital art application, predominantly used on iPad. This app offers a wide range of features that artists can utilize to create stunning artwork, including an array of brushes, layers, and effects. Moreover, Procreate supports various file formats for importing and exporting artwork, which allows artists to work seamlessly across different software platforms.

Procreate File Formats


This is Procreate’s native file format. It maintains all the data and layers within a Procreate artwork, making it ideal for backing up your work or transferring between devices while retaining the ability to edit.

PSD (Photoshop Document)

Procreate supports this file format, allowing you to work interchangeably between Procreate and Adobe Photoshop. However, some complex layer effects in Photoshop may not appear as intended in Procreate.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

This file format is commonly used for photographic images due to its compression capabilities. However, it loses quality each time it’s saved, so it may not be the best choice for artwork that requires multiple edits.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG files support lossless compression and also retain transparency, making them ideal for digital artwork. They’re perfect for sharing online, but keep in mind that they can have larger file sizes compared to JPEGs.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

This format is often used for storing high-quality images and is widely supported across many graphics applications. TIFF files can maintain layers, like PSD and .procreate files, but they tend to have large file sizes.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

Procreate can export animations as GIFs. This format is great for creating short, looped animations for web use.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

This is a versatile file format that can be opened on virtually any device. It’s a good choice for sharing artwork, especially if the recipient doesn’t have a graphics program. However, it doesn’t support layers.

Painting on an iPad with Procreate
Procreate App on iPad | Source:

Creating a New Project, Importing Images, and Exporting Files

Once you have installed Procreate, it’s time to start creating your first project:

  1. Open Procreate and tap on the ‘+’ button in the upper right corner to create a new project.

  2. Choose your canvas size and orientation based on your preferences.

  3. Now you have a blank canvas to work on.

To import images into your project:

  1. Tap on the wrench icon located at the top left corner to access the Actions menu.

  2. Select “Add” and then choose “Insert a photo” to import an image from your photo library.

  3. Once you’ve imported the image, you can resize, rotate, or position it on your canvas as desired.

To export your artwork from Procreate:

  1. Tap on the wrench icon to access the Actions menu.

  2. Select “Share” and choose your preferred file format (JPEG, PNG, PSD, etc.).

  3. You can then choose how you want to share your artwork, whether it’s through email, social media, or cloud storage platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Ready to Procreate Something?

When exporting or importing files in Procreate, remember to choose a file format that best suits your needs. If you want to keep the ability to edit your work, use .procreate or PSD. For sharing online, JPEG or PNG are excellent choices. Finally, if you’re preparing a print, consider using TIFF for its high-quality output.

Get Creative

Take your creativity to new heights with custom brushes and stamps by other others and creators too. Check out some custom Procreate Brush Sets on Gumroad and the #MadeByMELO Artist Shop - including FREEBIES!


Get Creative!

Procreate is a powerful tool for digital artists. Its versatility and user-friendly interface make it a joy to use. With practice and exploration, it’s an app that can truly transform the way you create art. So pick up your Apple Pencil, fire up Procreate, and let your creativity flow!

Check out all of the Procreate Brushes, Color Palettes, tips & Tricks by MELOGRAPHICS in the in the Artist Toolkit. Download the #MadeByMELO Procreate Artwork badge for your Procreate creations using #MadeByMELO Custom Brushes & tag @melographics1 #MadeByMELO for some virtual high-fives and a chance to be featured (only if interested of course).



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