Animate in Procreate

An Edge activity guide

February 2024, Ellie Dumigan


We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their continuing connection to land and as custodians of stories for millennia. We respectfully acknowledge the land on which we all meet today, and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.


This is a basic introduction to animation in Procreate. The finished file can be exported as a GIF, animated PNG or a short video depending on your needs.

Skills Introduced

  • Basic drawing skills
  • Understanding basic frame animation within Procreate
  • Exporting files

Making our short animation

The basic concept of this activity is using Procreate to create fun animated drawings over the top of existing photos. You will need an iPad with the Procreate software and an Apple pencil. To begin grab a base image, for this example, I am using a family photograph from the State Library of Queensland collection, you can use any photo you like Onesearch. Firstly think about what fun creative drawings you would like to add over the top and animate. You can also animate text using Procreate as well! (coming soon). For this example, I have drawn a chalk-textured heart that beats over the heads of the three young children in the photo.

Step 1

There are two ways you can go about importing your image! You can select the Photo button in the gallery in the top right-hand corner. Clicking on a photo will open the photo album and you can select your image. The photo will automatically open and import into Procreate.

or you go via the photo album on your iPad and tap on the share icon to open the image in the Procreate app. This will open and import the photo into Procreate. Both ways of importing will work and you are welcome to select which way works best for you.

Step 2

Open the actions tool (wrench icon) in Procreate, open the canvas icon and toggle on Animation Assist to open up the animation panel.

The Animation Assist bar will open at the bottom of the screen, here you can do a few things and also edit the settings. Click on the settings button, adjust the onion skin frames to and set the opacity to 18%. Having onion skin frames set up is super helpful in viewing the last frame of the animation to see what you have already drawn. To begin, leave the image on the layer and then add a new layer via the layers tab by clicking the ‘+’ and drawing your desired shape using the paint tool. For this example, I use the artist's crayon brush to create a chalk-like effect.

Step 3

We need to ensure the image will remain in the background for every frame, to do this ensure you are on the image layer then go down to the Animation Assist tool and click on the first frame of the animation (which should be your image layer). A menu will appear, from here you want to toggle the Background button to On. This will make the image our background for each frame that we add on top.

Then select Add a frame on the animation bar and draw your shape. Once you have created this shape, select Add a frame again and draw the same shape but in a slightly different way (you can also add a new layer instead of clicking Add frame). For this example, the heart was drawn slightly bigger and moved the lines slightly to the left and right to create a beating effect. Continue this step of adding new layers/frames and drawing your shape slightly differently until you are happy with the desired result. You can even change the colour to create a flashing effect! (this was done for the example). Keep drawing until you are happy, you can also click on the Play button regularly throughout the drawing to see how your animation is looking.

Step 4 - Animation settings

Procreate allows you to adjust the finished animation via the animation assist button. Click on settings to open this up. At the very top, you will see there are three options for your animation;

  • Loop
  • Ping-Pong
  • One Shot

A loop will endlessly play the animation from one frame 1 to the end frame and then start on frame 1 again.

Ping-Pong will endlessly loop but will move from frame 1 to the end frame and then go backward to frame 1 again.

One Shot will run through all the frames once.

Select the type of animation you desire, you can also adjust the frame from this option too. Having a higher number of frames per second will cause the animation to run quickly while a lower number will run the animation slower. Again choose what you like the best! For the example animation, I selected Ping-pong and the frames per second at 16. I liked the ping-pong effect best as it appeared to create a flashing beating heart.

Step 5 - Exporting

To export the finished animation select the actions tool again, move to the share button and go down to where it states ‘Share Layers’.

Here you will find a few different options, usually the best ways to export a short animation are either the Animated GIF or the Animated PNG. These options are best for sharing on social media or via messages.

The animated GIF file format will export a lower-quality file while the animated PNG option will export a higher-quality file. Select the option that works best for your needs.

Procreate text animation

Now that you know the basics of animating in Procreate using drawings, let’s take a quick look at animating using text. In Procreate you can create a range of animating text effects that include flashing text, moving text or text that looks like it is been written or typed.

Typing text animation guide:

Step 1

To create text that appears like it’s typing first choose your desired background layer (for this example I am using a traced image from the SLQ collection as shown how to do in 101 - Intro to Procreate).

Step 2

Now select the add text feature, write out the full word and decide on the size, layout, spacing, etc. Once you are happy with the placement of the text, drop the opacity of this layer down so it’s easier to see what you are animating. Duplicate the text layer and remove all the text from the word but leave the first letter.

Duplicate this text layer and type the next letter, continue duplicating and typing one letter at a time until you have written out the full word.

Step 3

Move the full word layer we first created to the top of the layers and click Play to view your finished animation. Make any further changes and play around with further settings until you are happy.

You can then export and share!

Handwriting text guide

This short guide will show you how to create a handwritten text animation in Procreate! This kind of text adds a cute and unique touch to any illustration or photo!

Step 1

Select your desired background image or illustration! This example will be using a photo, but you can use whatever you would like. Go to the text layer and drop down the opacity to about 50%, we will be using the finished word as a guide. Then select the text layer and hit select area to create an outline section of the text you can’t draw out of.

Step 2

Will the text outlined, select Add a frame on the animation assist bar and then use whatever kind of brush and colour you like to colour in a small section of the text and then duplicate this layer.

Then colour in another small section of the text and duplicate the layer area. Continue this step until the whole word is coloured! To ensure the handwritten effect is created colour in the letters the way you would write them and follow the loops in a direction that makes sense.

Step 3

Once you have coloured in the whole world, delete the original text layer or hide it and then click Play to check out your animation! You can play around with the animation settings too, adding in a few extra frames at the end of the animation of the final word can help with readability.

Flashing text guide

Creating flashing text is pretty easy in Procreate and you can use a range of different colours to create your desired effect! For this example, a rainbow colour palette was chosen, but you could even do this effect in black and white.

Step 1

First, grab your desired background image, then add text, and choose your desired size and front. Remember to select your image layer and turn it in the background of your animation.

Step 2

Select the text layer and hit duplicate, now on this new layer change the colour of the text to a colour you like (ensure the colour is either slightly darker or lighter than the colour before it if using the same colour throughout). Continue this step until you have reached your desired length of animation.

Step 3

Play around with what kind of animation you would like and the number of frames per second, this is all up to you! Then export your text animation via the share button!

You can play around with all of these different animating techniques to create unique animations using text and drawing effects.

facilities/slq_wiki/procreateactivties.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/05 11:31 by Ellie-Jayne Dumigan
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We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their continuing connection to land and as custodians of stories for millennia. We are inspired by this tradition in our work to share and preserve Queensland's memory for future generations.