Tutorial: How to Convert After Effects Animations into Procreate Dreams Files

In September 2023, Procreate announced its latest app, Procreate Dreams. Procreate was first released in 2011 as a one-cost model and is only available for iPad with a separate version—Procreate Pocket—available only for iPhone. Procreate is focused on digital drawing, painting, and illustrating. It’s a raster-based drawing software that works seamlessly with the Apple Pencil.

Procreate Dreams is a 2D animation app. It follows the same idea as Procreate, but instead of being focused on static drawing—although you can animate in Procreate too—Procreate Dreams is focused purely on creating and editing animation and video. I’ve been using it for a few days now and loving it so far. But is it possible to bring existing After Effects animations into Dreams?

Can you export Your After Effects Animations into Procreate Dreams? Yes, it’s possible!

Step 1: Preparing the Animation in After Effects

  1. Open Your Project: Start by launching After Effects and opening the project containing the animation you wish to convert.
  2. Enable Transparency: Toggle the transparency grid to ensure that your animation’s background is transparent.
  3. Set the Work Area: Adjust the work area to encompass only the part of the timeline you want to export.
  4. Exporting the Frames:
  • Navigate to File > Export > Add to Render Queue.
  • In the Render Queue, select Custom under the Output Module settings.
  • For the format, choose PNG Sequence.
  • Under Video Output > Channels, select RGB + Alpha. This ensures your animation maintains its transparency.
  • For color depth, choose Millions of Colours.
  • Confirm your settings by clicking OK.
  1. Saving the Sequence:
  • Under Output To, designate a folder where you want the PNG sequence to be saved. It’s best to leave the filename as is to maintain the sequence order.

Step 2: Compiling Images in Photoshop

  1. Loading Images: Open Photoshop, then go to Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
  2. Selecting Your Images: Navigate to the folder where you saved the PNG sequence from After Effects. Select all PNG images within this folder.
  3. Creating the Document: Photoshop will compile these images into a single document, placing each image in order.
  4. Final Adjustments: If necessary, you can crop or adjust the images at this stage.
  5. Saving as PSD: Save the compiled document as a PSD file and upload it to iCloud Drive for easy access on your iPad.

Step 3: Importing into Procreate on iPad

  1. Procreate Import: Open Procreate on your iPad and import the PSD file.
  2. Animation Assist: Activate Animation Assist within Procreate to play back the animation. This step is crucial to ensure that the animation is functioning correctly.
  3. Returning to Gallery: After confirming the animation plays correctly, exit to the Procreate gallery.

Step 4: Integrating with Procreate Dreams

  1. Setting Up the Workspace: Open Procreate Dreams and Procreate side by side in split view on your iPad.
  2. Creating a New Project: In Procreate Dreams, start a new, empty project.
  3. Dragging the File: Simply drag the Procreate file from Procreate into the stage area in Procreate Dreams.
  4. Finalizing: Your animation will now be available in Procreate Dreams, playable frame by frame.

This process seamlessly blends the powerful animation capabilities of After Effects with the intuitive interface of Procreate Dreams, allowing for a fluid transition of your animation projects to a more touch-centric environment. Remember, the key to a smooth transition lies in ensuring the correct export settings in After Effects and properly compiling the images in Photoshop.

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