How to Use the Procreate Face Paint Feature


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Procreate 5X brought a lot of neat upgrades and features to this amazing digital drawing program. One of them being the face paint feature. Now, with Procreate, you can draw on your iPad or iPhone and see the result on a picture of your face in real time. 

To use the face paint feature in Procreate and Procreate Pocket, open a new canvas and click on the Reference button within the Actions tab. Within the Reference settings, click on the FacePaint option. Procreate’s FacePaint feature is only available on iPads that have an A12 chip or higher.

Procreate’s FacePaint feature is really fun to use. Actually, everything in the Procreate 5X update is fun to use (source). Before you can get the fun started though, we need to talk about how to set it up in the first place.

Don’t worry; we’ll talk about everything you need to know. 

Important note: if you go through these steps and realize you DON’T have a FacePaint option, keep reading. We’ll be talking about why you might not have a FacePaint option and what you can do about it.

To get started, let’s talk about how to set up the FacePaint feature on your iPad’s Procreate app. We’ll also talk about how to set it up on your iPhone’s Procreate Pocket app. 

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The processes are extremely similar, but the apps look different and have settings in different places, so it’s worth talking about them separately.

How to Use Procreate’s FacePaint Feature

1. Create a new canvas in your Procreate gallery

To create a new canvas in Procreate, click on the plus sign in the top right corner of your Procreate gallery. You’ll see a lot of predetermined canvas sizes. If you want to create a custom canvas that isn’t already on the list, click the little square with the plus sign in it.

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procreate create a custom canvas

2. Within your new canvas, click on the Actions tab

Once you’ve created your new canvas, look towards the top toolbar. Click on the wrench icon, which will open the Actions tab.

3. Click on the canvas option within the Actions menu

In the Actions menu, you’ll want to click on the Canvas sub-menu. This is the second button to the left. 

procreate canvas settings

4. Toggle on the Reference button

Find the Reference button within the Canvas options and toggle it on. 

procreate reference

5. Choose the FacePaint option.

Within your Reference settings, you’ll have the choice to use your canvas as a reference, import a reference image, or enable the FacePaint option.

If your options look like the photo below with only the “Canvas” and “Image” options, keep reading. We’ll discuss this soon.

6. Start drawing on your face!

If you have the FacePaint option, click on it and you’ll see your face appear on your canvas. 

In order to do this, Procreate enables the front facing camera on your iPad. For the best results, make sure to be sitting in an area with good lighting and have your iPad pointed straight at your face.

If you’re a Procreate Pocket user, you can use the FacePaint feature on your iPhone! Here’s how to set it up.

How to Use Procreate Pocket’s FacePaint Feature

1. Create a new canvas in your Procreate Pocket gallery

To create a new canvas in Procreate, click on the plus sign in the top right corner of your Procreate gallery. You’ll see a lot of predetermined canvas sizes. If you want to create a custom canvas that isn’t already on the list, click on the “Custom Canvas” button.

Procreate Pocket create new canvas

2. Within your new canvas, click on the Modify button

Unlike the iPad Procreate app, Procreate Pocket hides the top menu buttons in order to save space. To have them pop down, click on the Modify button in the top left corner.

procreate pocket modify

3. Click on the wrench to open the Actions menu

Once you’ve clicked on the Modify button to access the top menu options, you’ll want to click on the wrench. This will open the Actions menu.

4. Within the Actions menu, click on the Canvas button

The Canvas button is the second button to the left within the Actions menu.

5. Click on the Reference button

You can find the Reference button within the Canvas settings. It’s located in the bottom right corner.

procreate pocket reference feature

6. Within the Reference settings, choose the FacePaint option

Within your Reference settings, you’ll have the choice to use your canvas as a reference, import a reference image, or enable the FacePaint option.

procreate pocket face paint feature

7. Start drawing on your face!

Once you have FacePaint enabled, you’ll see your face pop up on your iPhone screen. Anything you draw in Procreate Pocket will show up on thee image of your face that you see on your screen.

procreaate pocket FacePaint feature

Similar to the iPad’s Procreate app, the FacePaint option uses your front facing camera to display your face on your screen in real-time. For the best results, make sure your iPhone is positioned correctly and you’re sitting in a place with good lighting.

Alright, so now that we’ve learned to enable FacePaint in procreate and Procreate Pocket, let’s talk about what to do if you CAN’T enable FacePaint at all! 

Why Don’t I Have FacePaint on Procreate?

FacePaint is included with Procreate 5X, but your iPad also needs to meet other requirements aside from doing the Procreate software update. To use FacePaint, your iPad needs to have a TrueDepth camera and have an A12 chip or higher. If it doesn’t, FacePaint won’t show up in the Reference options.

If you have an older iPad, you won’t be able to use FacePaint. Currently, the iPads that support FacePaint are the following:

As you can see, you need a fairly new iPad model in order to use FacePaint. Personally, my iPad doesn’t support it, so I only use FacePaint on my iPhone’s Procreate Pocket.

If you are really interested in using FacePaint on your iPad, you’ll need to buy a new iPad that supports it. There aren’t any other workarounds for it.

Buying a new iPad is a big investment. I’ve often said that I believe it’s worth saving up for a new iPad to be able to use Procreate and get started with digital art in the first place. 

Is it Worth Buying an iPad for Procreate
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If you already have Procreate though, but you can’t use FacePaint because you have an older iPad, I’m not sure that buying a new iPad just for the FacePaint feature is worth it. Of course, if you have other reasons to buy a new iPad, having the FacePaint feature will be a nice perk.

Only you know your budget and needs, so you’ll have to think about the best decision for you.

If your iPad doesn’t support FacePaint, but you have an iPad, it’s worth it to check out Procreate Pocket. This is what I use whenever I want to use FacePaint and it works for me!

is procreate pocket worth it?
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Procreate’s FacePaint is a really neat addition to the Procreate 5X update (source). If your iPad supports it, it’s definitely worth checking out so that you can get started with face painting!

Diana Fitts

Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana's latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.

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