Battle of the Titans: Procreate vs Photoshop

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High-powered PCs are no longer the sole arbiter of graphic design and digital art—at least not anymore. Both Photoshop and Procreate are available on a number of devices, in app form and as a more standard software format. 

While Photoshop is probably a household name at this point, Procreate has made a ton of strides, even though it’s limited to iPads (with a smaller, more streamlined version for iPhones. Photoshop is also available on iPad but is used on PCs far more often. 

So, the biggest difference between the two is the most obvious—platforms. Procreate is designed almost exclusively for use with the Apple Pencil, even though you can use another stylus’ with it. Photoshop is a lot more diverse in terms of platforms. 

Procreate Vs Photoshop: Features

From a fundamental standpoint, both Procreate and Photoshop are loaded with features. However, there are some things that clearly set them apart from one another. While Photoshop has a more defined purpose (pictures), Procreate is more of a digital painting app. 

Adobe Photoshop Features

When it comes to doing just about anything you want, Photoshop is the one that rises to the top. Photoshop has been around for a long time and it might surprise some to know that it was originally released in 1987. 

Photoshop’s photo-editing features are so broad and numerous that it would be difficult to lay them all out in a single article. Some of the primary features include a number of photo-adjusting tools (contrast, lighting, etc.), along with retouching, digital illustration, and web design capabilities. 

Though Photoshop offers a suite of different capabilities, it has always been software designed for photo editing in particular. When it comes to editing photos, there is probably nothing else in the world (at least in terms of being available to the public) that can compete with it. 

Procreate Features

While you can edit photos in certain ways with Procreate, it’s far more of a digital art platform than anything else. Since it’s designed for use with Apple platforms and the Apple Pencil, in particular, Procreate doesn’t have to cover a wide area in terms of compatible functions and features. 

Check out this Introductory course to Procreate – Link Here

It can specifically focus on one platform, which gives it an advantage over similar software. Procreate offers over 200 brushes, pencils, pens, and various types of each one. You can also create your own brushes and upload them to Procreate. 

It also includes an Animation Assitant toolbar if you are into drawing cartoons or Anime. The difference between Procreate and Photoshop, when it comes to digital illustration, is Procreate comes so close to the real world of art that it feels like the canvas beneath you is real. 

Procreate Vs Photoshop: Price

It rarely matters what software certain platforms offer if no one can afford them. Fortunately, most design software involves multiple tiers of payment plans so it’s affordable for nearly everyone. Photoshop and Procreate do neither.

Photoshop Price

When it comes to pricing, Photoshop is easily the more expensive program. It costs $19.99/mo and you have to make that purchase as an annual subscription if you want to keep it that way. That means an upfront payment of $240 for an entire year with Photoshop. 

Procreate Price

Procreate has probably one of the simplest payment models in existence. It costs $9.99 to purchase and that’s all there is to it. Come up with ten bucks and Procreate is yours forever with no sneaky, backdoor, bait-and-switch payments, or pat-to-play schemes. 

Procreate Vs. Photoshop: Pros and Cons

Procreate and Photoshop are both highly popular software for creative minds with Procreate being the “new kid on the block” compared to the immense longevity of Photoshop. However, even the best piece of software has its drawbacks. 

Photoshop Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Versatility in terms of platforms Massive photo editing capabilities Never have to worry about battery Vectors A lot of adjustment layersPricing is a huge issue for some Excessive learning curve Excessive system requirements App versions are severely watered down

Procreate Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Massive library of brushes Performance is top notch on iPads Procreate is often more convenient thanks to portability Affordable pricing Unique and streamlined combination with Apple Pencils SimplicityAn iPad isn’t cheap Battery dependent iPad-only No vectorizing Lacks a broad array of photo editing features

Procreate Vs Photoshop: Head-to-Head

A head-to-head comparison is often a difficult thing to do, especially when you’re talking about different platforms. Since Procreate was designed specifically for iPad use and the Apple Pencil, it’s constrained to a very small window for comparison purposes. 

On the flip side, Photoshop is available on a broad array of platforms but it’s mostly used on PCs and Macs. The fact that Photoshop is so watered down on the iPad (or any tablet platform for that matter) makes a direct comparison even more difficult.

Get Started with Photoshop Fundamentals with this course – Link Here

Lastly, the primary focus of both platforms is inherently different. Where Procreate got into the game with a focus on artistic creation with brushes, pencils, pens, etc, Photoshop started with a primary focus on editing photos. 

Both platforms have pushed into other arenas, which is why you’ll find photo editing options on Procreate and illustration options on Photoshop. That’s where the most direct comparisons can be made. 


ProcreatePhotoshop
Ease-of-UseVery simple and effective mimicry of pencil and paperSteep learning curve
Price$9.99 one-time price$19.99/mo for annual subscription
Photo EditingLimited, secondary functionalityMassive and deep photo editing software
Color PalettesCustom colors and the ability to pull colors from imagesCustom swatches with a large variety of choices
Graphic DesignCan’t vectorizeVectorizing images is a primary and extensive tool
VersatilityA specific program with a focus on illustrations and paintingsPhoto editing focus with a broad array of tools and features for other projects
Technical SpecificationsiPad onlyPC, Macs, and tablets with limited use on tablets and requires moderate PC GPU/CPU or better

All Things Considered

What it boils down to is what you want to do. If you enjoy sitting down and drawing on something that comes as close as it can to drawing in real life, there’s no better choice than Procreate.

If you’re into graphic design and need the kind of software that gives you options on a broad spectrum of design, Photoshop is one of the best tools out there. With Procreate only costing 10 bucks for everything, it makes sense to have both. 

Purchase Photoshop and, down the line, when you need it, add Procreate to your growing arsenal of creative software. 

Check out this article, where I compare Clip Studio Paint and Procreate.