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Procreate Dreams - A Complete Guide to 2D Animation

Procreate Dreams - A Complete Guide to 2D Animation

Procreate Dreams is here! Learn how to use it for animations for both beginners and experienced levels. This cutting-edge animation app is designed for ...

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In the realm of digital art, Procreate has become synonymous with powerful, user-friendly tools that empower artists to create stunning illustrations. With the advent of Procreate Dreams, the app's capabilities have expanded to include robust 2D animation features. Whether you're a seasoned animator or a beginner eager to dive into the world of motion graphics, Procreate Dreams offers a comprehensive suite of tools to bring your ideas to life. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to start animating in Procreate Dreams.

Getting Started

Setting Up Your Workspace

To begin animating in Procreate Dreams, you'll need to set up your workspace. Open the app and create a new canvas. It's essential to choose the correct dimensions and resolution based on your project requirements. For instance, standard HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels) is a good starting point for most projects.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Interface

The Procreate Dreams interface is intuitive, with a clean layout designed for ease of use. Key elements include:

  • Canvas: Your primary workspace where all the animation magic happens.
  • Toolbar: Located at the top, it provides quick access to essential tools like brushes, erasers, and selection tools.
  • Animation Assist: This powerful feature, found in the Actions menu, is where you'll manage frames, timelines, and other animation settings.

Brushes and Tools

Procreate Dreams comes with a variety of brushes that mimic traditional media, such as pencils, inks, and paints. These brushes can be customized to suit your animation style. Additionally, the app includes essential tools like the selection tool, transform tool, and color picker, which are crucial for refining your animations.

Understanding Animation Basics

Keyframes and Timelines

At the heart of animation in Procreate Dreams are keyframes and timelines. Keyframes are individual frames where significant changes occur, and they form the building blocks of your animation. The timeline is a visual representation of these keyframes, allowing you to sequence and organize them.

Onion Skinning

Onion skinning is a vital feature for animators, allowing you to see multiple frames at once. This helps in creating smooth transitions and ensuring consistency across frames. In Procreate Dreams, you can adjust the opacity and number of onion skin frames to suit your needs.

Frame Rates

Frame rate, measured in frames per second (FPS), determines the smoothness of your animation. Standard frame rates include 24 FPS for a cinematic feel and 12 FPS for a more traditional, hand-drawn look. Procreate Dreams allows you to set and adjust the frame rate based on your project's requirements.

Creating Your First Animation

Sketching and Planning

Before diving into animating, it's crucial to plan your scenes and sequences. Start by sketching out key poses and movements. This rough sketching phase, often called "thumbnailing," helps you visualize the overall flow and timing of your animation.

Drawing Keyframes

With your plan in place, begin drawing the keyframes. These are the pivotal moments in your animation where significant actions occur. For instance, if you're animating a character jumping, the keyframes would include the starting pose, the peak of the jump, and the landing pose.


In-betweening, or tweening, is the process of creating the intermediate frames between keyframes to ensure smooth motion. Procreate Dreams simplifies this process with its intuitive frame management system. Use onion skinning to guide your in-betweening and maintain consistency.

Refining and Adding Details

Once your keyframes and in-betweens are in place, refine your drawings and add details. This step involves cleaning up rough lines, enhancing the shapes, and adding finer details to your characters or objects. You can also use layers to separate different elements and make the refinement process easier.

Advanced Techniques

Using Layers for Depth

Layers are a powerful feature in Procreate Dreams, allowing you to create depth and complexity in your animations. By separating elements onto different layers, you can move, transform, and animate them independently. This technique is particularly useful for creating parallax effects and multi-layered scenes.

Adding Special Effects

Procreate Dreams offers various tools to add special effects to your animations. These include:

  • Blending Modes: Adjust how layers interact with each other, creating effects like shadows, highlights, and textures.
  • Filters: Apply effects such as blur, sharpen, and color adjustments to enhance your animations.
  • Brush Dynamics: Utilize brush settings like opacity, flow, and pressure sensitivity to add dynamic effects to your drawings.

Sound and Music

Sound is an integral part of animation, adding depth and emotion to your scenes. While Procreate Dreams focuses primarily on visual animation, you can export your animated sequences and import them into video editing software to add soundtracks, voiceovers, and sound effects.

Exporting and Sharing

Exporting Your Animation

Once you're satisfied with your animation, it's time to export it. Procreate Dreams supports various export formats, including animated GIFs, MP4 videos, and PNG sequences. Choose the format that best suits your needs and adjust the export settings accordingly.

Sharing Your Work

Procreate Dreams makes it easy to share your animations with the world. You can directly upload your animations to social media platforms, share them via email, or save them to your device. The app's high-resolution export options ensure your animations look crisp and professional.

Tips and Tricks

Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning keyboard shortcuts can significantly speed up your workflow. Procreate Dreams supports a range of shortcuts for common actions like undo, redo, and switching tools. Familiarize yourself with these shortcuts to enhance your efficiency.

Customizing Brushes

Take advantage of Procreate Dreams' brush customization options. You can create and save your own brushes, adjusting settings like shape, texture, and dynamics to suit your animation style.

Utilizing Reference Images

Reference images can be incredibly helpful, especially when animating complex movements or anatomy. Procreate Dreams allows you to import reference images and use them as a guide while animating.


Procreate Dreams is a powerful and versatile tool for 2D animation, offering a range of features that cater to both beginners and experienced animators. By understanding the basics of keyframes, timelines, and onion skinning, and exploring advanced techniques like using layers and adding special effects, you can create stunning animations that bring your ideas to life. With practice and creativity, Procreate Dreams can help you unlock your full potential as an animator. Happy animating!

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