A Guide to Procreate’s Symmetry Tools
You may have seen certain pieces of digital artwork which are exactly symmetrical, and wonder how this effect was achieved so accurately. Procreate actually has some handy features which allow you to create symmetrical and perfectly mirrored works of art, in various different ways.
Procreate’s symmetry tools are ideal for working on patterns, snowflakes, geometric designs, and even things like eyes, noses, and body parts. We’ve all experienced how difficult it can be to try and get a perfectly symmetrical element or design before!
The symmetry tools in Procreate are really useful and any level of digital artist can use them, but if you’re just starting out with the app, it may be an idea to check out some of Creative Fabrica’s handy user guides to Procreate’s basic features:
So, let’s get started! Create a new canvas in Procreate by tapping the + in the top right-hand corner, and then select whichever size you want.
Now let’s explore the symmetry tools. Tap on the settings tool, which is the first option that looks like a spanner, on the top left-hand menu.
Under actions, ensure canvas is selected. Then toggle the switch next to drawing guide, to on.
Now, you’ll see the option underneath this, edit drawing guide, allows us to click on it.
If you tap on this option, you’ll get to Procreate’s drawing guides screen.
Let’s look further into the symmetry guides. To do this, tap symmetry at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll then see that a line has appeared vertically, along the centre of your canvas. This is the default view and anything you draw in one half will be mirrored at the other side of the line.
To test this out, click done in the top right-hand corner.
In the below screenshot, I quickly drew one half of the heart and it was automatically reflected on the other side to create perfect symmetry.
If you want to adjust the guide, go back into the settings tool, and then canvas, and edit drawing guide.
You can adjust the position of the gridline by dragging the blue dot (in the centre) to a new location on the canvas. You can also use the green dot to rotate the line.
If you want to reset the grid, simply tap on either the blue or green dot, and an option to reset will appear.
The drawing guideline won’t appear on your final artwork, but if you need to amend the colour of your line (for example to possibly make it stand out more against your canvas), use the colour slider along the top of the screen.
In the photos below, you can see that the vertical line has changed from its original grey colour.
You can also adjust the opacity of the drawing guideline by using the opacity slider in the bottom left corner.
Another handy option is the thickness slider, you may want to make your guideline more or less visible, so adjust the slider under thickness up or down to meet your requirements.
If you’re wanting to create a symmetrical effect but not horizontally, tap on the options button which is to the bottom right side of the menu (ensure you are within the drawing guide page).
The vertical symmetry guide is Procreate’s default, so you should see this as the first option in the pop-up menu, highlighted blue.
You should then see options below this to change the direction or position of the drawing guide.
Tap on horizontal to create a line across the middle of your canvas.
Again, click done to test this out.
Now, anything you draw in either the top or bottom half of the canvas will reflect into the opposite one.
You can, of course, move the drawing guide by using the blue and green dots, as we did with the vertical guideline.
The next mode which we’ll look at is quadrant symmetry. This setting will divide your canvas up into four sections.
Using this mode, anything we draw in one section will be reflected across the other three.
As you can see in the below screenshot, each quadrant of the canvas is reflected both vertically and horizontally, so each section is mirroring its neighbour.
The next setting is radial symmetry. Again, tap into your options menu within the drawing guide, and then select radial. You’ll see that the canvas is now split into eight segments, like a pizza or a cake!
And you’ve probably guessed what’s next – anything you draw in one of these segments will be mirrored across the other seven. This tool is really great for drawing designs such as snowflakes, mandalas, flowers, or geometric patterns.
Underneath your symmetry options, you may have noticed a switch to turn on for rotational symmetry.
Procreate’s default setting is to use mirror symmetry, which we have seen in action with the above examples.
The difference between rotational and mirror symmetry within Procreate is that if you switch on rotational symmetry, anything you draw will be both rotated and reflected. This means that what you have created will be mirrored in horizontal and vertical directions, simultaneously.
So, to turn this on, open the options menu within Procreate’s drawing guide, and switch rotational symmetry to on.
As you can see in the example below, the brushstroke has been reflected and flipped around.
You probably won’t want to use the rotational symmetry tool as often as the mirrored one, unless you have a specific project or design to work on, however, it’s good to know what it can be used for.
Procreate’s drawing guides and symmetry options are really great once you get the hang of how to use them. There are so many potential designs you can create using these tools. Hopefully, this article was a good starter for your explorations in symmetrical design!