How to Vectorise your Procreate Lettering on the iPad

Since Procreate came out, more and more artists have moved to the iPad as either a starting point, or their entire workflow. One piece of the process that has been hard to substitute when using the iPad alone, is vectorising.

The fastest and easiest way to convert pixel artwork to vector has always been via ‘image trace’ in Adobe Illustrator (aka ‘auto trace’). This is a popular method, but you need a costly subscription + a desktop computer.

But is there another way to do this without leaving the iPad or paying a monthly subscription? Yes!

I’m going to show you two different options for mastering your vectorising projects today. First, we’ll export lettering from Procreate and use the autotrace function using the free app, Vectornator. Then we’ll see how that compares when using Adobe Capture + Affinity Designer

Don’t worry, Adobe Capture is free. There is a (very reasonable) one-off cost for Affinity Designer, but once you see the special ‘sculpt’ feature, you will understand why I had to include it!

When is Vector Artwork Important?

Vector artwork is key for a lot of projects as it allows you to scale both up and down to any size, as many times as you need without losing quality. This is especially important for print projects, logos or any situation where the dimensions may need to change. It’s also useful for people selling prints on Etsy or other marketplaces. They may have multiple sizes they cater for, or in some cases need to supply .svg format for vinyl cutting. Having a master file in vector, they can resize without any quality loss and export to a .png .svg .tif (or whatever is needed). If you were trying to do this with pixels, the size changes would leave you with a very blurry image!

I want to note as well, there are a few different ways to create a vector. Some are more precise than others (such as bezier curves from scratch). But the quickest and easiest method is to use a feature called ‘auto trace’. Auto trace will automatically turn your pixel artwork into a vector at the click of a button! It’s not available in all vector software, but I’ll show you two different ways you can do it without leaving the iPad.

A Note about the Tutorial

A couple of years ago, I published a video about this process using Adobe Capture for the auto trace capabilities and Affinity Designer to refine the vector. At the time, this was the best way I could find to do this. I still rate this method. Adobe Capture does an excellent job of tracing (you don’t need a paid subscription to use it) and Affinity Designer has the amazing ‘Sculpt’ tool (see video from 9:53), which makes refining the vector a piece of cake.

But since then, Vectornator has joined the party and now offers auto trace capabilities, so I wanted to demo how that works today. I will say, Adobe Capture definitely did the better job of the auto trace for the particular project I was working on, but you can easily try both options for yourself and see which you prefer. 

So without further ado, here is the tutorial! 

I hope you enjoyed today’s tutorial. I’d love to know in the comments which method you prefer.

 

Apps mentioned in this video : 

4 replies on “How to Vectorise your Procreate Lettering on the iPad

  • Thomas Devenney

    Hi Nicole,

    Is the free mobile app version of Adobe Capture for this resizing, vector configuration process, good enough?
    I don’t have much money, and I’m not partial to paying for subscription fees (which is more and more the situation with all apps these days). Whatever happened to the one off payment? That’s why I like Procreate- simple!

    Kind Regards,

    Thomas.

    Reply
    • Nicole Mauloni

      Hi Thomas, thanks for your question! Absolutely. The main incentive for the tutorial was to find a way to do this that avoids subscription fees, so I know where you’re coming from there 🙂 Yes, Adobe Capture on the iPad is free. You need to login in order to access it, but it’s just a free user account and doesn’t require any subscription costs. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Gary Ditchfield

    Hello Nicole
    Can affinity designer be used for tracing parts in a picture?
    Reason I ask I wish to make stencils for my air brushing hobby and using procreate to create my work then vectorize it is a great point for ipad

    Reply
    • Nicole Mauloni

      Hey Gary, Thanks for the question. Affinity Designer doesn’t have any automatic tracing capabilities as of yet unfortunately. You could use the pen tool to manually trace areas yourself, or use Adobe Capture and import it as shown in the video. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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