Procreate, the best-selling paid app on iPad for over six years, has unveiled an exciting addition to its arsenal – a new animation app called Procreate Dreams.
Following in the footsteps of the widely acclaimed Procreate app, which is a more accessible alternative to traditional digital art software that still offers powerful and complex tools, Procreate Dreams will deliver a touch-centric creative experience.
The app is slated for release on November 22, 2023, and much like its two-time Apple Design Award-winning predecessor, it will be available for a one-time purchase of $19.99 (UK and AU prices TBC). In stark contrast to more complex Adobe software, there are no costly subscriptions with Procreate
The best iPads offer incredible computing power, great pressure sensitivity, and excellent accuracy, increasingly making them a go-to tool for artists at all skill levels. Procreate Dreams will similarly leverage Apple's slate – and in particular, those featuring Apple Silicon chips – to deliver smooth and efficient workflows as well as intuitive tools suitable for all skill levels.
New features and tools
To create a more accessible animation experience, Procreate has created several features and tools for Dreams, some of which may be familiar to users of the original app.
One such tool is Performing, which allows creatives to animate through touch, automatically adding keyframes while recording actions. This breathes life into the artwork in real-time, and without the need for complex keyframes and paths, making it a lot more approachable for inexperienced animators.
Also noteworthy is the app's Multi-touch Timeline, which allows for quick and easy navigation, organization, and editing. Procreate claims this system is faster than a mouse and keyboard, and that for the first time, it allows artists and animators to combine drawing, cel animation, keyframing, video editing, and compositing, all performed with fluid gestures.
By drawing directly on the timeline with the Apple Pencil, you can quickly select content, tracks, or keyframes, and then edit them all at once. Group drawings, move tracks, retime content, adjust keyframes, and much more. The timeline is kept clutter-free with simplified keyframes, but you can also tap into a keyframe for more precise property edits.
Its painting and compositing engine is immensely powerful, now allowing creatives to work on raster projects with resolutions of up to 1 million x 1 million pixels with abundant layers. It also supports all of Procreate's brushes, which are Apple Pencil-optimized. There will also be full support for files created in Procreate.
Plus, thanks to GPU acceleration built on Metal and powered by Apple Silicon, creatives will be able to instantly play back projects as they edit. This level of real-time rendering stands to save animators a lot of time wasted on RAM previews.
Procreate Dreams introduces a new audio engine, enabling voice-overs, atmospheric music, and sound effects to bring creations to life. High-resolution video editing is also seamless with ProRes footage up to 8K supported. Video can be drawn over, allowing you to create annotated or rotoscoped projects using the full breadth of Procreate's brush library,
There's plenty more to shout about, too; Flipbook, which pays homage to traditional animation and builds on the original Animation Assist tool in Procreate; text and typography; and an iCloud synchronized Procreate file format, which the company says sees 1TB files opened in an instant. At long last, this new file format will offer eternal undo history, too.
With Procreate Dreams, the boundaries of what's possible in animation and digital art might be about to change beyond belief, much like what Procreate's original app did for digital art – so keep your eyes peeled for our first impressions of the app when it releases later this year!
Analysis: Procreate joins the big leagues
It's been 10 years since Procreate's first app was released, and in that time it's gone from strength to strength. Given it featured an animation assist feature, it always felt like just a matter of time until the developer released a full animation app – so why now?
Well, the unrivaled computing power of the Apple M2 chips – especially in the tablet market – is likely the culprit here. The best graphics tablets used for animation will generally need to be hooked up to a powerful computer that handles the processing and rendering of beefy animation software, as the slate itself is just the canvas and workflow interface. Of course, with iPads, that's not the case; these lightweight slates handle everything on board.
Animation, especially at the scale Procreate Dreams is offering, requires immense computing power, and up until now it likely just wasn't possible; certainly not in a way that fully optimized the iPad's innate features and benefits while also remaining accessible to non-professionals, which is a key selling point for Procreate's software.
Given how long this has inevitably been in the pipeline, and just how successful the original app was as a gateway to digital art for so many – including myself – it's hard to imagine the software being a flop. We'll see come November.
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Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.