How to export the illustration from Procreate?
There are two purposes for exporting the illustration: for the screens or for print.
Exporting from Procreate for the Screen
To export your file from Procreate you will need to tap on the wrench icon in the upper left—hand side corner. That will open the Actions Menu. Choose Share and a submenu of file options opens up before you.
I have never used the Share Layers section, so for now let’s focus on the Share Image section.
Sharing a file with the Procreate extension will save the Procreate file including the Timelapse video (if you have that option turned on). This is a huge, lossless file. You will not be able to save it to the Photos app, only to the iPad Files app.
As the name suggest, this option will save the file in layers in the Adobe Photoshop native format .psd. This will allow you to open the file in Photoshop and other Adobe programs, such as InDesign. Note that the text layers would be rasterized and you will not be able to edit them in Adobe programs.
This option will allow you to save your image as a .pdf or native Acrobat Reader file. You can also choose the quality (therefore the size) of the image.
Is the option I use most often. It saves the file as .jpg and you can save the image directly to your Photos App, or choose to save it in the Files App to preserve quality.
Just like JPEG, this will allow you to save the file in the Photos App or the Files App. It allows for saving the image with a transparent background.
I never use this file format.
WHICH COLOUR PROFILE SHOULD I USE?
When you create a Canvas in Procreate you can choose the Dimensions, which will give you the number of layers, Video Settings for the Timelapse, Background Colour and the Color Profile.
Pay attention the the Colour Profile.
What is a Colour Profile? It is a bit complicated to explain. The way I understand it is that it is a colour space with a specific gamut — a range of colours.
sRGB space has been around since the 90s, but it is a narrower gamut than the Display P3 space — invented in 2015 for iMac Retina Displays.
If you export your file with the Display P3 colour profile you may notice that the colours sometimes look duller. This happens on older devices that do not support the Display P3 colour space.
To be safe, until all the devices are updated to the Retina Display, I would export the image and work in the sRGB space. I was told to do this by Nikolai Lockertsen during a Schoolism Webinar.
Once I switched to the sRGB space, my images looked better across all devices.
There are 4 sRGB options. I really have no idea what the difference is between them. Nikolai suggested the first one, so I’m sticking with that one for now.
If you know you are working for newer devices — for example, designing wallpaper for a new iPad, you should work in the Display P3 space. You can always change the Color profile for exporting by tapping on the wrench, choosing Canvas, then Canvas information, then Color profile.
I would recommend that you duplicate the canvas, and change the profile on the duplicate canvas, just so that you do not accidentally save the wrong profile for your final document. This way, you can have both.
One of the greatest issues I had with Procreate is that when I would downsample the canvas the image would become far too pixelated. Procreate has listened, the downsampled images look better today than they did before the recent update.
To Downsample means to lower the number of pixels that make up the image by changing its size. You can do this in Procreate by tapping on the wrench icon, selecting Canvas, selecting Crop & Resize. This will open the Settings Menu. There you will need to toggle the Resample canvas option before you downsample your canvas.
For this example I have downsampled the original image from its original 3825px width to 1080px width.
Though Procreate does a decent job of downsampling the image these days, it still does not match the quality of my ImageResizer App.
Can you see the difference?
The Procreate Image is more pixelated.
I like using the ImageResizer app, because it allows me to choose the dimensions of the image I wish to downsample.
However, this app still does not allow for web optimization. For that I use the Compress App.
The Compress App does not allow me to set specific pixel dimensions for my new image, because it shrinks the image based on the percentage of its size. As you can see here, I cannot downsample the image to the exact 1080px width. So if I was to compress this image it would not be as small as I need it.
To get my images optimized for my website, I use the ImageResizer app to downsample my illustration down to the dimensions I need. Then I use the Compress app with Photo dimensions set to 100% and the Photo quality set to 80%. This gives me the best looking small file size.
Exporting Images from Procreate for Printing
When you create a Canvas in procreate you have the option to set your Colour Profile to RGB or CMYK mode. RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue and it is used for images intended for screens. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and is used for images intended for print.
Unless you know that you will be using this image for print and print only (which does not happen if you wish to share your work on Social Media) choose CMYK.
Otherwise I would always keep this setting on RGB. Even if you intend to use your image for Amazon KDP print books only, keep this setting to RGB.
When exporting images for printing, I would usually choose PSD or PDF file extension.
Personally, I mostly choose PSD, because most of the images I use for printing I import into InDesign and InDesign likes PSD files.
As you know, if you’ve followed my work at all, I am a publisher and I periodically publish my own books on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
I prepare these books in InDesign, because in my opinion this is the best software I’ve found for getting the books ready for printing or for Kindle.
InDesign always recommends you change the space to CMYK if you are getting to print your files. However, if you will be printing through Amazon’s Print-On-Demand you must keep the space RGB. This is because when Amazon publishes your book Amazon’s native software prepares it for printing — this means that Amazon’s software changes the colour space. If you’ve already change the colour space in InDesign, the colour space would be changed twice and the image would print with dull, unsaturated colours.
If you are not using Amazon to print your work, you should get this information from the printer that you are using. If you have the option, always print samples and make adjustments before printing your work.
Remember, what you see on your screen or printed via your home printer, may not look the same if printed by a professional shop.
H.O.O.T.s of Wisdom
When creating a Canvas in Procreate make sure you set your Colour Profile to RGB and choose sRGB unless you know your work will be used for Retina Displays — then choose Display P3.
If you feel that Procreate does not downsample your images well, I use the ImageResizer and Compress Apps. You can see if there is something better out there.
Always make your images larger than the required size. This will leave you with the room for composition adjustments. Never upsample your work — it will look pixelated.
If you are planning to use your illustrations for Amazon’s Print-On-Demand Books, keep the colour space in RGB when your export your PDF file from Adobe InDesign.
This is everything I know about illustrating. I sincerely hope that you find this information useful. If you have further questions don’t hesitate to ask them.