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How to Use Procreate Layers
  • By Design Bundles
  • 02 Aug 2021
  • 9 Mins
  • Intermediate
  • Procreate Tutorials

How to Use Procreate Layers

In this tutorial, learn how to use the various features of the Layers Panel in Procreate!

Knowing how to use layers in Procreate is very important. Layers can help you stay organized, save time, and keep your work from accidental damage or deletion. Today we will go over how to open the Layers panel and how to rearrange, merge, group, delete, lock, and hide layers.

We won’t go into the specifics of how to create the design in this Procreate tutorial. However, it was created using galaxy Procreate brushes and a Procreate stitch brush. We also created our own tree brushes, which you can do by following our tutorial on how to make Procreate brushes. You can also find some awesome free Procreate brushes on Design Bundles.

Layer Panel Basics

Open Layers Panel

To get to the layers, you need to open the Layers panel. Tap the button in the upper right that looks like two squares with one on top of the other.

Open Layers Panel in Procreate

Rearrange Layers

To rearrange layers, tap and hold until you see the layer slightly pop out of place. From here, you can drag the layer anywhere in the list.

Tap and Hold Layer to Rearrange Layer in Procreate

You can also rearrange multiple layers. We have a fantastic free guide on how to select multiple layers in Procreate. Once selected, follow the same instructions as above to rearrange the layers.

Merge Layers in Procreate

Depending on the size and resolution of your canvas, you may sometimes run out of layers. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough layers, you can simply merge layers together. If your drawing is not yet complete, we suggest that you merge together layers where the drawings do not touch each other.

If your drawing is complete, merging layers can help reduce the size of the image file.

Merge Two Layers Together

Now we will show you how to combine layers in Procreate. If your project consisted of multiple layers, merging them can keep your Layers panel more organized. It can also be useful for freeing up space for more layers when your device storage is limited.

Step 1 - Rearrange Layers

Layers that you want to merge together must be next to each other. Rearrange the layers if needed.

Step 2 - Merge Layers

Tap the top layer’s thumbnail, and choose Merge Down.

Merge Single Layer in Procreate

Merge More Than Two Layers

There is a gesture shortcut you can do to merge layers together, and it can be done with any number of layers. With all the layers next to each other, place one fingertip on the top layer and a second fingertip on the last layer. Pinch all the layers together.

Unmerging Layers

Once you merge layers, the only way to unmerge them is to undo. Keep in mind that if you leave a project, you won’t be able to go back into that project to undo anything you’ve previously done.

Group Layers in Procreate

Grouping layers can help you stay organized and save you a lot of time.

Step 1 - Select Layers

To select the layers you want to group, swipe each layer to the right. The selected layer(s) will turn blue.

Swipe Layers Right to Select Them in Procreate

Step 2 - Group Layers

With all the layers selected, tap Group.

Group Selected Layers in Procreate

Ungrouping Layers

To ungroup the layers, simply drag the layers out of the group by following the instructions above under Rearrange Layers.

Delete Layers in Procreate

Deleting a layer is quite easy and can also save you time. If you added a reference photo, you might want to delete it afterwards when it's no longer needed.

Delete a Single Layer

To delete a single layer, swipe the layer left with your Apple pencil or finger, and then choose Delete.

Delete a Single Layer in Procreate

Delete Multiple Layers at the Same Time

Step 1 - Select and Delete

To delete multiple layers, select the layers, and tap Delete.

Delete Multiple Layers in Procreate

Step 2 - Tap Delete Again

You will be prompted with a warning. Tap the red Delete button.

Delete Multiple Layers in Procreate Warning

Lock Layers in Procreate

Locking a layer protects the contents on that layer. It’ll keep you from accidentally deleting or changing a layer without realizing it.

To lock a layer, swipe left, and tap Lock.

Lock a Layer in Procreate

Unlocking Layers

Swipe the layer left, and tap Unlock. As you see in the following image, the delete button is greyed out.

Unlock Layer in Procreate

When trying to delete a locked layer, the following message will pop up and tell you that the selection contains locked items.

Cannot Delete Locked Layer in Procreate

Hide Layers in Procreate

Hiding layers can help you see other layers better. When exporting a drawing, hidden layers will not be exported.

To hide a layer, tap the checkbox to the right of the layer name to uncheck the box.

Hide Layer in Procreate

By utilizing layers, you can also do so much more! If you found this Procreate guide helpful, make sure you check out our tutorials such as using alpha lock and creating a clipping mask.

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