You’d be surprised to know that the program used to create now infamous Stranger Things poster has nothing to do with Hollywood. The poster was created on the best app for creatives, which just happens to be the brainchild of a dedicated team of Aussies.
Procreate is widely used by artists, designers and illustrators around the world, but the app is run from a small hub is Tasmania. Procreate won an Apple Design Award in 2013 and is used by digital illustrators and artists around the world to create beautiful sketches, inspiring paintings, and stunning illustrations from anywhere.
James Cuda is Savage Interactive’s CEO and co-founder, as well as Chief Designer. Since starting the company in his spare bedroom in 2010, James and his wife Alanna have guided the company to international success. Techly spoke to Procreate’s Software Engineer, Claire d’Este, about the future of Procreate and the most exciting projects she’s seen.
For the uninitiated, Claire describes Procreate as an app for artists “both amateurs and professionals. Some people have asked me whether it’s an app for kids to play around with, but it actually delves quite deeply into professional features. We’re trying to bring it up to a level where Procreate can be used as the main creative tool for illustrators and artists.”
Procreate began in 2010 and, since then, a loyal base of creatives has been established. When making choices about how to improve the app, the Tasmanian team consults their users as well as in-house experts. “We have a very big community of Procreate users,” Claire explains “who communicate via forums and threads. There’s a whole board full of ideas and suggestions which people can rate up or down. A lot of the time, we’ll go back to that and see what people are talking about the most. There’s always that Henry Ford quote – “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – so we’re also not afraid to say no and do something completely different to what’s expected.”
What should be made clear is that Procreate is not Photoshop. They are programs with different purposes. “A lot of the time, people are so used to Photoshop that they expect Procreate to have the same features. We would like to do things differently, especially when you have an amazing stylus, you can work very immediately [on the iPad]. The gestures we can use, as well as the options to tilt or add pressure, are a different way of working. Procreate focuses on painting rather than photo editing. We don’t want to go down that road of copying. There are so many new options available to us on the iPad.”
When we chat about the iPad updates which were announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Claire points out that the 10.5 inch iPad, which has a bigger screen for people to play with, but keeps the size people are used to, is “an interesting compromise” which Procreate users will probably love. “For us, the most interesting thing is the move towards using the iPad as a work tool rather than just a consumer device. Any software or apps making it easier to work creatively and professionally is going to help our artists”.
The poster for the smash-hit Netflix original Stranger Things was created using Procreate. Claire is a screenwriter as well as a software engineer, “so whenever there’s a major movie poster that’s painted using our app, that always gets me excited. The Logan poster was painted using our app, and so was the Stranger Things poster. I get a little kick out of those. People can work fast enough now that it’s become a viable app for professionals”.
It seems that an engineer’s work is never done, because Claire mentions her involvement in developing a Strokes moving algorithm. An entire community of calligraphy lovers have taken advantage of the free flowing motions which Claire worked on. It’s exciting to think about what other developments will spur another creative community to make brilliant art.