Procreate is releasing a new iPad app for animation – and it looks incredible

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.

Procreate dream keynote

(Image credit: Future)

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!

Procreate dream keynote

(Image credit: Future)

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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Instagram is introducing an incredible new way to get nostalgic

As we approach a new year, it is only natural that we start to think back to what the previous one has been like. If you're the sort of person who lies to feel the wave of nostalgia that Facebook's Memories feature can bring each day, you're going to love the new feature that Instagram is introducing.

Building on the idea of the Stories archive that was introduced a few years back, Instagram is adding a new, time-limited way to share your 2021 highlights with your friends.

The new feature is called Playback, which gives you a way to create a customized journey through your year by selecting your favorite moments from your Stories archive. It is a more personal option than many of the “look back over the previous” year features that the likes of Facebook create as you are placed in control of what is included.

While there is a lot to be said for automated “year in review” posts, what is algorithmically selected for inclusion may not match what you would have chosen yourself. And this is why Instagram's approach is so great.

Get reflective on Instagram

The new feature lets you select up to ten Stories from your archive, and if you would like to post an upbeat Playback, you can select all of the positive Stories you have posted across the year.

Equally, you might be feeling more melancholy, in which case you can opt for the slightly sadder posts. Or, of course, you can mix it up to give a fair representation of the ups and downs that 2021 has probably involved for you.

The Playback feature launches today and will be available for “A few weeks”. You will see a message pop up within the app inviting you to create your Playback. You can then nostalgically shift through your Stories and select the ones that you think best sums up the year.

Instagram also says that if you see a 2021 Story posted by somebody else, you just need to click on the 2021 sticker contained within that Story in order to create your own Playback.

So take a browse through your Stories archive and share your 2021 highlights with your friends and family.

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