Procreate Handbook

Version 5X
Layers

Options

Rename, Select, Copy, Fill, Clear, or master powerful Alpha, Mask, Reference and Merge functions through the versatile Layer Options menu.

Layer Options Menu

The Layer Options menu offers you a broad range of ways to interact with layers at a touch.

tap

Once you have the Layers panel open, select a layer by tapping on it, and tap it again to access the Layer Options menu. ​

Rename

Give your layer a custom name.

Layers added to your project are given sequentially numbered titles by default - for example, Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3… To help you remember what’s on each layer, you can give them new names.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Rename. When you’ve typed your layer name, hit Return or tap anywhere on the canvas to dismiss the keyboard.

Select

Select the contents of a layer.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Select.

Pro Tip

As a shortcut, hold two fingers on a layer to select it.

This will select only the non-transparent parts of the layer - parts where you have drawn, painted, or pasted images.

When your selection is active you’ll see areas outside the selection marked by moving diagonal lines.

From here, you can take all sorts of actions on the selected area: paint it, transform it, copy it, feather or clear it, and plenty more.

The Selections section of the Handbook explores selection tools in greater depth.

Copy

Copy the active layer to the clipboard.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Copy.

Now that your image data is copied to the clipboard, you can paste it into another layer or a different Procreate canvas, add it to an email, or use it in another app.

Fill

Fill a layer with flat color.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Fill.

This will fill your entire layer with the currently selected color. The flat color will override all other layer contents.

Pro Tip

If you have Alpha Lock on, you can use Fill to color only the existing artwork on that layer, leaving transparent areas untouched.

Clear

Clear an entire layer in an instant.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Clear.

This will clear the contents of the entire layer, and reset the layer opacity to 100%. However, it will not reset the blend mode or change the layer name.

Settings

For even finer control over Clear Layer, navigate to Actions > Prefs > Gesture Controls > Clear Layer.

Here you can set up a number of touch and Pencil shortcuts and settings to integrate Clear Layer into your workflow, your way.

Alpha Lock

Lock the transparency of a layer.

Any further drawing or painting will only affect the existing artwork on that layer, leaving transparent areas untouched.

Alpha Lock is is ideal for adding texture, detail, or shading to an element of your artwork without painting outside the lines.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Alpha Lock.

Pro Tip

As a shortcut, you can swipe a layer left-to-right with two fingers to activate Alpha Lock.

Active Alpha Lock is shown by a checkered background in the layer thumbnail.

Learn more about Alpha Lock in Masks.

Mask

Lock the transparency of any layer to a parent layer.

A Layer Mask functions like an Alpha Lock, with one difference. Instead of respecting the transparency of itself, it respects the transparency of a parent layer.

The changes you make on your Layer Mask can be removed or altered without affecting the parent layer. This makes Layer Masks a great way to modify the appearance of the parent layer non-destructively, allowing you to experiment with colors, textures, and effects.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Mask.

If you don't like the result, remove it: swipe right-to-left on the Layer Mask, and tap Delete.

Learn more about Masks.

Clipping Mask

Edit one layer using the contents of another.

A Clipping Mask functions like a Layer Mask, but is not attached to a single specific layer - it is a separate and distinct layer of its own. It can be linked to any other layer. Because of this, you can move a Clipping Mask from one layer to another, or stack multiple Clipping Masks above a single base layer, creating complex visual effects.

Clipping Masks are a great way to modify your content non-destructively, allowing you to experiment with colors, textures, and effects.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Clipping Mask.

Pro Tip

The Clipping Mask option is not available if your selected layer is at the bottom of the Layers panel.

If you don't like the result, remove it: swipe right-to-left on the Clipping Mask, and tap Delete.

Learn more about Masks.

Drawing Assist

Automate your brushstrokes.

Drawing Assist works in tandem with Drawing Guides, adding several types of automation to your brushstrokes.

It can ‘snap’ your strokes to a guide or perspective grid. Or, using Symmetry settings, it can automatically reflect your strokes across the canvas in several different ways, allowing you to quickly draw mirrored or kaleidoscopic images.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Drawing Assist.

Repeat the process above to switch Drawing Assist off again.

Learn more about Drawing Guides.

Invert

Reverse the colors in your layer.

Each color is replaced with its opposite complementary color.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Invert.

Repeat the process above to invert the colors back to their original shades.

Reference

Create color fills that respect inked lines on a separate layer.

This advanced feature helps cartoonists and concept artists keep color fills and ink lines separate.

With this setting, you can ColorDrop fills onto any Layer, and the fills will behave as though they are flowing into the linework on the Reference Layer.

Preserving your linework and colors on separate layers allows you to recolor and adjust both elements of your art independently of one another.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Reference.

A Reference Layer displays the label Reference underneath the layer name.

Select another active layer and ColorDrop will fill into it based on the Reference Layer.

Learn more about ColorDrop.

Merge Down

Combine two layers into one.

Merge Down combines the active layer with the layer directly below it. The two layers become a single layer, and are no longer editable as separate objects.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Merge Down.

Pro Tip

You can merge multiple groups with one simple gesture. Pinch together the top and bottom layers you want to merge. They will merge together along with every layer between them.

Merging layers will apply any blending mode to the pixels below, and will also disregard any ​ alpha lock.

If you reach your layer limit, look through your layers for any you are happy to merge together. It’s best to merge only once you’re happy with what you’ve drawn.

When you merge multiple layers, the single layer created will bear the name of the layer that was at the bottom of the merged layers.

Pro Tip

This action can be undone immediately with a two-finger tap; however, you cannot come back to a merged layer later in the painting process and un-merge it.

Combine Down

Group layers together.

Combine Down brings together the active layer plus the layer directly below it into a container called a Layer Group.

In the Layers panel, tap a layer to bring up Layer Options, then tap Combine Down.

If you use Combine Down on a layer that sits directly above a Layer Group, your layer will become part of the existing Group.

You can also combine a Group with a layer below, or combine two Groups.

Learn more about Layer Groups.