Procreate vs Photoshop: Which one is better for you?

Post by 
Joseph Kinstler
March 16, 2020

hotoshop has been around for so long you can walk down the street and ask just about anyone what photoshop is and they will know - without even being a designer. In my college years, I used photoshop all the time for all of my digital painting projects. The only close competitor that we were required to learn was Corel Draw. Until Procreate came along and sent the digital art world in a frenzy!

With the iPad Pro and the Apple pencil release on the horizon paired with designers universally downsizing to a more versatile and lean machine, Procreate's timing was perfect.

Procreate is now one of Photoshop's biggest competitors and because it allows designers more natural brush freedom, simple gestures, and animation at your fingertips it's leaving CorelDraw in the dust. However, Photoshop still is the go-to for a lot of different needs.

So let's break it down.

Photoshop is the industry standard.

It's a simple fact. In all of the creative jobs that I have had Photoshop is there and always will be. Companies, especially larger corporations, aren't exactly open to the Procreate app as a creative tool to get the job done. But that's okay.

Photoshop is the clear go-to when it comes to versatility both in projects and when it comes to exporting. The ability to save to web, CMYK for print, and work with both vectors and raster elements gives photoshop the edge. It also allows you to have as many layers as you want as well as any canvas size. These are two elements that Procreate limits based on how powerful your iPad is.

Photoshop also sneaks ahead when it comes to keyboard shortcuts. I am a lover of shortcuts and that's exactly why I use photoshop for heavy intricate design projects. It's also important to note that although Procreate has added more visual effects, blending modes, and lighting adjustments - Photoshop is still the clear choice to go to if you are working on any large format or photo-heavy projects.

I don't think I need to go into much detail but it's worth mentioning that photoshop does come with creative cloud and the integration between Photoshop and Illustrator makes photoshop that much more powerful. While you can export procreate files to .psd files the integration just isn't the same.

If you are doing heavy photo editing or large format creative projects then Photoshop is the answer!

Procreate isn't even there, and that's why it's great!

Yeah, you read that right. When using Procreate you get lost in the project that you are working on and never stop to think, "where is that feature again?" or, "How do I get the program to do that one thing again?" I find myself doing that often when it comes to Photoshop. With Procreate, I just start drawing and let the easy, natural hand gestures and quick interface do the work.

I believe that Procreate has really just been showing off when it comes to the brushes and natural textures that it offers. You can buy brush sets or dig a bit and find some free ones. Either way, it's fun using different brushes for different projects.

New features on Procreate 5 make it that much better. Color drop and quick shape are two of my favorite and have been taking social media by storm for their quick and easy ways to make creative timelapse videos.

If you are working on illustrations and want natural, clean lines or that handmade quality then Procreate is the answer!

Procreate is fucking dirt cheap. It's $10. I mean come on, that's well within the realm of impulse buying. It doesn't even compare to the $55/month you have to pay for CC. It's important to note that If you don't have the apple pencil then you won't be able to utilize the full power of Procreate. It also helps to have the iPad Pro.

It's almost like they colluded with Apple to boost sales or something crazy like that.

Now that we have broken the two programs down and reviewed the pros and cons I hope you have a better understanding of what makes each program great. I think they both can be put in the same class if you are looking for a creative illustration program. However, when it comes to software as a whole then I don't think these programs should necessarily be compared apples to apples. To be the best creative you can be, you need both, because they both cover different areas of the creative process.

Don't stress yourself out though, if you are still learning Photoshop then don't jump ship to Procreate - wait until you feel comfortable enough in Photoshop and then give Procreate a try.

That being said, if you are a CorelDraw user then stop wasting money and start using Procreate now! :) That's it for this week - check back next week for another Pints n' Pixels article!

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