When you’ve spent a lot of time and energy creating a beautiful piece of art on Procreate, it can be disappointing to realize that it’s low quality once you share it or print it. Exporting high resolution images from Procreate takes careful planning from the beginning.
To export high resolution images from Procreate, make sure your canvas size is large and set to 300 DPI. Once you’re finished with your art, export it as a PNG file for the highest resolution image. If printing your work, make sure not to stray too far from your Procreate canvas size.
If you want to export high resolution images from Procreate, there are some very important things you need to do and keep in mind. This is very much a “preparation is the key to success” situation.
Let’s run through everything you need to know to wind up with the highest resolution images possible from Procreate.
Set Your Procreate Canvas to the Correct Size and DPI
A lot of image resolution issues are due to incorrect canvas sizes and low DPI. Before you begin drawing, make sure that your canvas is large enough and that the DPI is around 300. This is especially important if you plan to print your work.
When you create a new Procreate canvas, it can be tempted to choose the “Screen Size” option and call it a day. Personally, that’s what I use for basic sketching.
There can be issues with the screen size option though.
Generally, you won’t have a big problem with the sizing. The size will depend on what size iPad you have. For me, it’s 2048px x 1536px, which measures 15.5” x 11.6”.
Again, that will usually be ok, but it really depends on your needs, so don’t assume anything.
The best practice is to choose the canvas size that makes the most sense for your art. If you’re planning to print an 8” x 10” piece of art, make your canvas 8” x 10”.
If you’re not sure about the size you’ll want your finished art to be printed at, take your best guess and aim a little bit higher than you think you’ll need. If you scale your art either up or down too much during printing, you could end up with resolution issues that result in pixelation.
That said, I tend to have more issues with scaling my work up than scaling it down, so I usually say to aim higher in your canvas size if you aren’t sure what your final size needs to be.
Best case scenario, figure out your final size before creating your canvas and set it at that.
The bigger your canvas, the fewer layers you’ll have available to you, so you don’t want to make sure your canvas too big for no reason.
I have a full guide about choosing the correct digital canvas size for your digital art that you can read if you want to learn more.
Ok, so while canvas size is an issue, DPI is often a bigger problem.
If you take a look at the DPI of the screen size option, it clocks in at 132.
For artwork that you solely share digitally, you can get away with DPI that low. If you go to print your work though, you’ll be faced with a low resolution image and probably be bummed about it.
When printing your art, you’ll want 300 DPI. There’s no real benefit to going much higher than that. You won’t notice better quality images, but you will notice a smaller layer limit, which can be frustrating.
So, set your DPI to 300 and call it a day. Don’t overthink it.
Recommended Procreate Tools
These are my favorite Procreate tools that I wouldn't be able to live my Procreate life without!
- Skillshare: I take a LOT of Skillshare classes and they are the reason that I started using Procreate in the first place. These classes are amazing and you can take them for FREE! Click here to get a 30 day free trial of Skillshare
- Matte Screen Protector: these matte screen protectors will make your iPad screen feel more like traditional paper. Click here to find them on Amazon! Make sure to get the right size for your iPad model.
- Printful: it's SO rewarding to see your own art on a shirt, mug, sticker, poster, and so much more. Whether you want to start selling your art and sharing it with the world, or you just want a gift for yourself or a friend, having a great printer is important. Printful is my favorite print provider, offering a ton of high quality products to print your own art on. Check them out and sign up for a free account here!
The easiest way to do this is within the custom canvas creation settings. You can set the size and DPI of your image all in one place and be guaranteed that everything is good to go.
There are some preset canvas sizes that are at 300 DPI, but not all of them, so you’ll need to check.
To check the size and DPI of your canvas, click on the wrench to open the Actions tab and then click on the Canvas button. At the bottom, click on the Canvas Information button.
This will bring up a screen with way more information than you’ll ever need to know about your canvas. Click on the Dimensions tab and you’ll see information about your canvas’s size and DPI.
Setting up your canvas correctly from the get-go is 95% of the battle against low resolution images. If you can get this right, you’ll likely have high resolution images when exporting from Procreate.
There is one last thing that can get you that last 5% though.
Export Your Procreate Images as PNG Files for the Highest Resolution
PNG files use lossless compression and hold more data than a JPG does, which makes them a good choice for complex things, such as images. PNGs are also capable of preserving transparent backgrounds, which can be useful for exporting art for merchandise.
A PNG file will be larger than other files types, but it will give you the best results as far as quality and resolution is concerned. In most cases, the larger file type will be worth the boost in quality.
PNG files are able to hold more information than JPG files and are great for images as a result (source).
They’re also the only file type that’s able to retain transparent backgrounds, so if you need transparent images for selling your art on products, PNG will be your only option anyways. Luckily, it’s also the highest quality choice, so it’s a win-win.
Exporting high resolution images from Procreate is something that is very much in your control. Taking the time to set up your Procreate canvas properly, with the correct sizing and DPI, will save you a lot of headache down the road when worrying about exporting high resolution images.
In addition, by exporting PNG files, you’ll be in an even better position to have high resolution images that really show off your art for everything that it’s worth.