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How to Share Procreate Images with Layers

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Sharing your Procreate art can be tricky. If you need to share your Procreate images with individual layers included, it can be even more tricky. There’s a few steps you’ll need to take and a few considerations you’ll want to keep in mind.

To share Procreate images with layers, click on the share button and scroll down to the “Share Layers” option. Within there, choose either a Procreate file, PNG files, or a or PDF and complete your export to your desired location.

If you need your Procreate art broken up into individual layers, there are some very important things you’ll need to keep in mind when you are choosing your export settings. 

Keep reading to make sure you know what to do! I know I know, this isn’t the most fun or exciting part of Procreate but, hey, it’s a part of the game. Don’t worry, we’ll make it quick, easy, and painless. Let’s dive in!

Export Options for Preserving Your Procreate Layers

If you want to export your Procreate art so that all of your layers are separated, you will need to choose a Procreate file, PNG files, or a PDF file. Choose a Procreate file if you need to continue working on your art. Choose PNG files or a PDF if you want static layers that are easy to view.

Don’t worry, we’ll talk about how to share your art in the sections below. Before we even get to that point though, we need to export our art correctly.

Firstly, let’s talk about how to export all of your layers to begin with.

  1. Click the wrench icon to open the Actions menu.
  2. Click the Share button.
  3. Scroll down to the Share Layers options.
procreate export and share with layers

But, which option do you choose? Let’s talk about why you would choose one export option over the other.

When to Export Your Art as a Procreate File

When you export your art as a Procreate file, your exported file maintains everything it needs to function within Procreate. This means that you can reupload your file into Procreate and it will appear as any other piece of art in your Gallery.

This is why backing up your Procreate art as Procreate files is SO important in case your iPad ever crashes and you need to restore your Procreate gallery. That’s a topic for another day though. I have a full article about backing up your Procreate art that you should read if you don’t already have a back up plan for your Procreate art.

If you need access to your individual layers, emailing a .procreate file is great…maybe. It really depends on your needs.

Whoever you’re emailing your Procreate file to will need to have access to Procreate on their end. They will only be able to open your .procreate file with the Procreate app.

This is great if you’re collaborating with another artist and you need to send them a work-in-progress piece of art that they can continue working on. It’s also great for anyone who has Procreate and is comfortable working with it.

This is not so great if you’re emailing your art to someone who doesn’t have Procreate and simply wants an easy way to see all of the layers in your art.

They don’t need to change the colors, manipulate the design, or do anything to it at all.

They just need to see it.

This is when you would want to choose the PDF option, which we’ll talk about next.

procreate layer opacity
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When to Export Your Art as PNG Files or a PDF

If you need a static copy of your Procreate art that shows all of your layers separated on individual pages in one document, you will want to export your art with the PDF with layers option. If you want your layers as static copies in individual files, export your art as PNG files.

Choose these options if you DO NOT need a workable Procreate file. Your PDF or PNG files will be static and you won’t be able to upload them into Procreate as editable pieces of art.

What I love about exporting Procreate art as PDFs and PNG files is that they are easily shareable and viewable on many types of devices. This is especially great if you are doing client work and you need a universally used file type to review with them.

download procreate layers as individual png files
Layers separated into individual PNG files.
download procreate layers as a pdf document
Layers compiled on individual pages of 1 PDF document.

What I love about exporting Procreate art as PDFs with individual layers is that it will create 1 PDF file with all of your layers on individual pages. This means that you don’t have to juggle multiple files with each of your layers on individual PDF documents. Simply scroll through 1 PDF file to review all of the work on each of your layers.

If you DO want your layers in individual files though, choose the PNG files option. This will turn each of your layers into individual image files for you to view.

lock layers in Procreate
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A Quick Note About Animated Options

When you make animations with Procreate, you will need to export them with all of your layers separated out. That said, you will not be able to access these layers. Do not choose the animated option if you need to review or work with your individual layers. Only use this for creating animations.

When Procreate makes animations of your artwork, it takes all of your layers and scrolls through them in order. Every new layer is considered to be another frame in your animation. So, when you export an animation, you will see individual layers, but they will flash by in the typical way that animations do.

You won’t have access to your individual layers to move around and work with.

So, even though the export options in Procreate list animations under the “with layers” option, it doesn’t actually give you access to those individual layers in the same way that Procreate files or PDFs do.

Ok, so now that we’ve talked about choosing the right export options for your needs, let’s talk about how and where to share your work. We’re going to talk start with email given that it’s a common choice for sharing Procreate work.

procreate layer limits
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How to Email Procreate Images with Layers

To email your Procreate images with layers included, make sure you have an email app setup on your iPad and export your art as either a Procreate file, PNG files, or a PDF with layers. Choose your email within your export options. This will include your art as an attachment in an email draft.

Email is a great way to share your Procreate art with clients, family, friends, or anyone who isn’t in your direct Airdrop vaccinity. Email is a great option given that it can be accessed on any device, whether it be a PC, Mac, Chromebook, or otherwise.

Important note: Procreate files can only be opened with Procreate. I know I’ve already said that, but it’s worth repeating. If you need flexibility with the devices and programs you use, export your files as PDFs or PNG files with layers separated out.

There are additional ways to share your Procreate work aside from email. I have an entire guide about how to export Procreate files that will walk you through the steps of sharing your Procreate art in any form and method you desire.

There are SO many benefits to sharing your Procreate art with the individual layers separated out. Give it a try and see how it opens so many possibilities for reviewing and sharing your work with others.

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