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Adobe Fresco vs. Procreate

This post was originally created for Might Could Studiomates and published on February 4, 2020. Content has not been edited since original review; please check newest versions of the apps mentioned for the most accurate comparison of features.

You asked for it, and the battle royale has begun!

There has been a lot of talk about these two drawing apps for iPad, and this week, I decided to compare them side by side while drawing #mightcoulddrawtoday's weekly prompt. My comparison overview is below, but you can also view and listen to my entire process, from drawing in my sketchbook to working digitally in both apps, by clicking on the image above or choosing a timestamp below.


Part 1: Intro and Brainstorming the Prompt with a traditional sketchbook and brush pen (13 min)

Part 2: Drawing the Prompt in Adobe Fresco with Commentary (50 min)

Part 3: Drawing the Prompt in Procreate with Commentary and Conclusion (48 min)

(Edited down from raw footage to a total of 1 hour, 50 min)

Adobe Fresco

Cost to Use: Adobe Creative Cloud Membership or $10 a month (as of 2020)

Available on iPad and PC.

This app can be used to create gorgeous pieces of digital art that rival traditional media, especially with the live brushes.


🌟 Live Brushes and Vector Brushes are Spot On

🌟 UI is similar to other Adobe products

🌟 Options for expansion are available (Brushes)

🌟 Layers don't get cut off by the edges of the canvas when moving them around

🌟 Most touch shortcuts are the same as Procreate (Undo, Redo, etc.)

🌟 Cloud backups are automatic if you have Creative Cloud and art can be worked on seamlessly between apps


❌ No animation options

❌ No auto shape/line generation shortcut

❌ It can be confusing to find what options you're looking to tweak on a layer, especially hue/saturation toggle

❌ Layers are only represented as thumbnails, so it can be easy to confuse layers if you're working with minuscule details (I ended up painting on a layer that had something on it and erasing an effect I liked)

Procreate 5

Cost to Use: One-time payment of $10 (as of 2020)

Available only on iPad.

Procreate is the app of choice for many digital artists due to the ease of use and competitive price in comparison to Adobe Creative Cloud. It was recently updated to include more brushes, improved UI, and basic animation tools. I've been using it since May 2019.


🌟 Layers are easy to distinguish between with thumbnails and titles

🌟 UI is adjustable and can be changed depending on hand use

🌟 Options for expansion are available (Brushes)

🌟 Extra tools such as animation have been expanded on and improved

🌟 Export options are great and art can be exported to Photoshop PSDs as well


❌ UI may have a learning curve for those who haven't used it before

❌ Does not sync with Creative Cloud software or have automatic cloud backups

❌ Brushes are not as smooth as Adobe's live brushes, but are being improved

❌ Animation still relies on layers, which means you have to flatten your layers when animating (but I still have a lot to learn and experiment within this area)

❌ Layers get cut off by the canvas edge when moving or resizing them

So here's my final verdict:

🏆 Best App for the Budget Conscious who own an iPad: Procreate

🏆 Best App for Creative Cloud Users who are familiar with Photoshop: Fresco

🏆 Best App for People who Like Automatic Cloud Saving: Fresco

🏆 Best App for People who don't have an iPad but have a Digital Drawing Tablet and a PC*: Fresco

🏆 Best App for Included Variety of Brushes and Presets: Procreate

🏆 Best App for People Who Love Watercolor Painting: Fresco

🏆 Best All-Around App: Procreate

*Update: Fresco is currently only supported on Windows Surface tablets.

🙋 Got an answer, recommendation, or question about Adobe Fresco or Procreate?

Have you ever used Adobe Fresco or Procreate? If you have, what's your take on it? If not, would you like to try it? What did you think of my comparison?

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