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Battle of the Apps: Adobe Fresco vs. Procreate

By Snap Agency August 2, 2019

For most of us digital people (unless you’re a rockstar illustrator or designer), art is hard. And drawing or painting on a mobile device is even harder. But new advancements in touch screen sensitivity, stylus technology, and mobile app design are making the process more accessible. Over the years, a number of creative apps have been introduced that help mobile device users perfect the digital sketching and painting process. 

Both Procreate and the forthcoming Adobe Fresco aim to put the power of desktop-accessible creative tools into the hands of mobile artists. But what exactly does each app do, and which one would be a better fit for you?

What Is Adobe Fresco?

Previously dubbed Project Gemini, Adobe Fresco is an iPad-friendly drawing and painting app based on its parent company Photoshop’s painting engine. Although there are quite a few similar apps for tablet users, Adobe Fresco, set to make its debut later this year, claims to be more streamlined. The program concentrates its tools around drawing and painting via touch and the iPad Pencil, making it incredibly responsive and user-friendly. Although Fresco is only available to illustrators in its current beta stage, we’re excited to see what it can do.

Let’s Talk About Procreate

First launched in 2011, Procreate is an award-winning illustration, sketching, and painting app designed for the iPad by the Australian-based company Savage Interactive. The natural response of the iPad pencil is highlighted by over 130 brush options, and the ability to move between other apps has made it a favorite among seasoned professionals. Now in version 4.3, the power, flexibility, and sensible functionality of Procreate make it unmatchable for mobile illustrators—at least until the upcoming and much-anticipated release of Adobe Fresco.

How Do These Apps Compare?

Because they’re compatible with smart tablets and devices made by Microsoft and Apple, both Adobe Fresco and Procreate can meet an illustrator’s needs and provide a great user experience. There are some crucial differences between the two, though, which can make one app or the other a better fit according to your needs. 


If Fresco follows in Photoshop’s footsteps, it will probably be subscription-based and cost around $9.99 a month. This would force users to allocate a monthly budget towards its use and to commit to using the app for predetermined chunks of time according to the specific subscription parameters. In comparison, Procreate can be purchased in the app store for a one-time fee of $10.

Industry Standard

Adobe Fresco is brand new to the market, but its designers have the proven success of Photoshop and other programs behind them. Highly utilized throughout countless industries, Photoshop, while created specifically for graphic design and imaging, has been the king of the creative world for years. Since Fresco’s beta test has shown a very similar user interface to Photoshop, the transition to the new app should be seamless for existing users. Procreate has yet to reach this same level of professional usage.


Although Fresco’s full list of tools and features is still to be released, we can already tell its selling point will be Live Brushes, or watercolor and oil paint brushes, activated by a stylus, that act like real paint. They react to the paint that’s already on the canvas, so watercolors bloom, spread, and blend seamlessly. When using Fresco’s oil paints, you’ll see vivid brushstrokes and great control over color deposits. When it comes to Procreate, this is an instance of, “you get what you pay for.” Although Procreate has over 130 brushes to choose from, the responsiveness of Fresco’s Live Brushes promises something a little more versatile.

Choosing the Best App for Your Needs

At the end of the day, choosing an app doesn’t come down to its features or market popularity. It comes down to which app is the best fit for your current needs. Take the time to examine your upcoming campaigns, the position of your business, and your short and long term goals. Do you have designers on staff who would prefer access to one app over the other? What is your creative budget, and how can you get the most out of it? Yes, Adobe Fresco will probably cost more in the long run. However, if its tools and versatility are better suited to your needs, that choice is a no-brainer. 

Driving Design Success

Design is a crucial aspect of successful marketing, and utilizing either (or both!) of these illustrator apps could expand the capabilities of your team. From creating graphics and visuals to logos and business cards, the unique touch of illustrated content goes a long way.

Still not sure how visual design could fit into your next website update or marketing campaign? Contact Snap today! Our team of experienced digital marketers is eager to help you find the best way to up your design game.