A look at Procreate, a new painting app for the iPad
(This is a guest post by fellow fingerpainter Chris Menice, aka rebelpapa)
Procreate is simply one of the best painting apps I’ve used on the iPad. I didn’t realize this fact until after a couple days of digging into the app.
The UI is thoughtfully designed and stays out of your way. Having the the size and opacity on the left-hand nav-bar is great. It also allows you to touch the size slider and adjust the size of your paint stroke while you paint. The opacity slider works the same way. It’s never been easier to adjust the width or opacity of your paint stroke with Procreate.
The painting and smudging tool experience is the best I’ve used on the iPad yet. It doesn’t feel like standard painting in other apps, it somehow feels better. It’s so smooth and responsive. Savage Interactive are the guys behind Procreate and they claim to have built a custom desktop powered painting engine. I’m not exactly sure how to explain how its’ different, but it is.
Here’s an interesting fact from their blog:
(…) the Si painting engine written completely in OpenGL ES 2.0.
That actually doesn’t just mean speed, but also platform independency.
(…)Digital brushes haven’t really progressed since the 80′s. They are all pretty much just repeating stamps, on a transparency layer. But why! A brush is full of texture and awesomeness
Did I mention Procreate has a brush editor? You can select a brush shape and grain from your photos to create pretty much any kind of brush you can think of. There are also a few other ways to tweak the brushes within the editor, such as a scatter and rotation for the shape component. The grain component allows for a movement, scale and zoom alterations.
The canvas size is slightly smaller than the iPad’s screen resolution at 960x704px, but for posting to the web or making smaller prints this will be fine. I’m hoping for higher resolution in an update (and I’m told this is coming), either way it doesn’t hinder the painting experience. It does hinder exporting at high resolution, but hopefully this is only temporary.
Here’s a video showing procreate in action:
Procreate is a strong competitor when stacked against Brushes and Inspire Pro painting apps. Savage Interactive is responsive and actively planning updates to the app. This is important because the advancement of the other mentioned apps has all but stopped. With some key updates Procreate will stand up and move ahead of it’s competitors as the best painting app on iPad. For me, Procreate has become my default painting app and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Some may have gripes with the $9.99 price, but I don’t. I purchased at the sale price of $7.99 (still on sale) and after using the app would gladly pay full price. This may be the future of painting on the iPad. This isn’t a photoshop type tool, it’s a painting tool and at that it excels.
Note: When I first purchased Procreate (at version 1.0 on March 16) and used it on the iPad 2 the app crashed almost constantly. For a few seconds I was frustrated, but I opened a ticket on the Savage Interactive website. Savage Interactive was great at diagnosing the problem. The company is located in Australia so the iPad 2 hasn’t even been released yet. Not only did they fix the problem within 2 days, they bought an iPad 2 from eBay and boarded a plane to pick it up flying over 600 miles to make it happen. This kind of service and response is unheard of and I commend them for such service. During the many crashes I had with Procreate v.1.0 I NEVER LOST ANY PAINTED WORK! I put that in caps because it’s important. I never lost my work. Version 1.01 of the app is currently in the app store as an update and has fixed the crashes. I haven’t had a single crash since I updated.