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Redefining Animation on iPads with Apple’s M2 Power

Procreate, the best-selling paid app on iPad for over six years, has unveiled an exciting addition to its arsenal – a new animation app called Procreate Dreams. Following in the footsteps of the widely acclaimed Procreate app, which is a more accessible alternative to traditional digital art software that still offers powerful and complex tools, Procreate Dreams will deliver a touch-centric creative experience.

Redefining Animation on iPads with Apple's M2 Power

The app is slated for release on November 22, 2023, and, much like its two-time Apple Design Award-winning predecessor, it will be available for a one-time purchase of $19.99 (UK and AU prices TBC). In stark contrast to more complex Adobe software, there are no costly subscriptions with Procreate.

The best iPads offer incredible computing power, great pressure sensitivity, and excellent accuracy, increasingly making them a go-to tool for artists at all skill levels. Procreate Dreams will similarly leverage Apple’s slate – and in particular, those featuring Apple Silicon chips – to deliver smooth and efficient workflows as well as intuitive tools suitable for all skill levels.

To create a more accessible animation experience, Procreate has created several features and tools for Dreams, some of which may be familiar to users of the original app. One such tool is Performing, which allows creatives to animate through touch, automatically adding keyframes while recording actions. This breathes life into the artwork in real-time, and without the need for complex keyframes and paths, making it a lot more approachable for inexperienced animators.

Also noteworthy is the app’s Multi-touch Timeline, which allows for quick and easy navigation, organization, and editing. Procreate claims this system is faster than a mouse and keyboard, and that for the first time, it allows artists and animators to combine drawing, cel animation, keyframing, video editing, and compositing, all performed with fluid gestures.

New features and tools

By drawing directly on the timeline with the Apple Pencil, you can quickly select content, tracks, or keyframes, and then edit them all at once. Group drawings, move tracks, retime content, adjust keyframes, and much more. The timeline is kept clutter-free with simplified keyframes, but you can also tap into a keyframe for more precise property edits.

Its painting and compositing engine is immensely powerful, now allowing creatives to work on raster projects with resolutions of up to 1 million x 1 million pixels with abundant layers. It also supports all of Procreate’s brushes, which are Apple Pencil-optimized. There will also be full support for files created in Procreate.

Plus, thanks to GPU acceleration built on Metal and powered by Apple Silicon, creatives will be able to instantly play back projects as they edit. This level of real-time rendering stands to save animators a lot of time wasted on RAM previews.

Procreate Dreams introduces a new audio engine, enabling voice-overs, atmospheric music, and sound effects to bring creations to life. High-resolution video editing is also seamless with ProRes footage up to 8K supported. Video can be drawn over, allowing you to create annotated or rotoscoped projects using the full breadth of Procreate’s brush library.

There’s plenty more to shout about, too; Flipbook, which pays homage to traditional animation and builds on the original Animation Assist tool in Procreate; text and typography; and an iCloud synchronized Procreate file format, which the company says sees 1TB files opened in an instant. At long last, this new file format will offer eternal undo history, too.

With Procreate Dreams, the boundaries of what’s possible in animation and digital art might be about to change beyond belief, much like what Procreate’s original app did for digital art – so keep your eyes peeled for our first impressions of the app when it releases later this year!

PROCREATE’S BIG LEAP: A DEEPER LOOK

Procreate’s journey spans a decade since the release of its inaugural app, and over this time, it has consistently grown stronger. The anticipation for a full animation app was palpable, given the presence of its animation assist feature. The question arises: Why now?

The primary catalyst behind this strategic move is the unmatched prowess of Apple’s M2 chips, particularly within the tablet domain. In the realm of animation, the best graphics tablets typically demand a robust external computer for handling the resource-intensive processing and rendering tasks associated with heavyweight animation software. Traditionally, the tablet served merely as the canvas and workflow interface. Enter iPads – a game-changer in this narrative. These lightweight devices autonomously manage all aspects of the animation process.

Creating animation, especially at the scale envisioned by Procreate Dreams, necessitates substantial computational muscle. Until recently, this seemed unattainable, especially not in a manner that could seamlessly harness the full potential of the iPad’s inherent capabilities. Moreover, accessibility to non-professionals has always been a hallmark of Procreate’s software, making it a unique proposition in the market.

Considering the inevitability of this endeavor and the resounding success of the original app as a gateway to digital art for countless individuals, including myself, it becomes challenging to envision this software as anything but a resounding success. The moment of truth awaits in November.

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