The new Procreate 5.2 update is finally here, and it has a lot to offer. One of the main features of this Procreate update is 3D lighting and environment settings. It helps you define the environment in which your 3D models are virtually placed, but you can also choose to display 3D objects in augmented reality using Procreate . The app includes a handful of default environments, and each of them interacts with the object differently. You can get worse but similar effects to Unreal Engine. So let’s learn how to change the 3D lighting and environment settings in Procreate.

3D lighting and environment in Procreate (2021)

While covering functionality, we will focus on all the built-in options available in the Procreate app. But before you continue, make sure you know how to import a 3D model into Procreate. You can switch to specific features using the table below. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.

How do the lighting and environment settings work in Procreate?

Lighting and 3D environment are visualization techniques you can use to create a realistic rendering of 3D objects. The function of these parameters is to create a light-based virtual environment which can not only recreate sunlight, but also other artificial lighting conditions. They interact with 3D objects and their textures by reflecting and absorbing light.

Usually these environments in Procreate work with a combination of light sources to create a natural interaction with your 3D object. Filmmakers and artists use these techniques to add visually realistic global lighting properties to 3D objects and to set an overall mood of the world around them.

How to Open 3D Lighting and Environment Settings in Procreate

To get started, grab your Apple Pencil or its alternative and open the Procreate app on your iPad. Then follow the steps below:

1. First, from Procreate’s home screen, choose the 3D model you want to work on. For this tutorial, we’ll be using a 3D helmet, which is one of Procreate’s sample models.

2. Once the 3D model is loaded, press the Actions icon. It’s the round button with a wrench symbol next to the ‘Gallery’ option in the top left corner of the screen.

Key button in Procreate

3. In the Actions menu, tap the 3D option. It’s marked with a hollow cube icon and located to the right of the Share button. Under the 3D settings, tap the second-to-last option that reads ” Edit Lighting and Environment“.

Change button lighting and environment in Procreate

How to Use 3D Lighting in Procreate on iPad

Press the “Edit Lighting and Environment” button to access the Lighting Studio at Procreate. This is where the magic happens if you are looking to render your 3D model under realistic lighting conditions.

Feel free to use your fingers by tapping, holding and dragging the 3D model in the empty area to change the perspective until you find an angle that suits your needs. You can even look at objects from below, and if it is hollow, even from the inside. Pinching with two fingers on the object helps you zoom in and out. But now let’s go through all the light-based options, starting with adding light sources.

Procreate 5.2 Lighting Studio

Add and place lights in Procreate

As soon as you enter the lighting studio in Procreate, you will notice two light cubes present by default. These are the light sources around your 3D object. Similar to real life, your object will absorb and reflect light from this source, depending on the texture. Even if they aren’t there already for some reason, it’s easy to add more light sources.

1. To begin, press the ” Add light» button in the upper right corner to add more light cubes. It sits between the ‘Cancel’ and ‘Environment’ options. You can place a maximum of four light cubes at a time in Procreate.

Add a light button in the light studio

2. As soon as you press the “Add Light” button, it place a new light cube in the lighting studio. These cubes are movable by dragging and dropping them anywhere in this space. You must place and hold your finger on a light cube to drag and move it. To make things easier, you can adjust the perspective by tapping, holding, and dragging your finger in the empty area.

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Change lighting settings in Procreate Lighting Studio

Once you’ve placed the glow cubes, it’s time to tweak the settings to change how the object looks in 3D space. Fortunately, Procreate gives you just enough options to edit the lights without making it too complex. You can tap a light cube to change its properties.

Lighting Settings in the Procreate App on iPad

The Light Settings pop-up window allows you to change the following properties in Procreate:

  • Tint: This is the color that the light source emits. In a rainbow format, you can easily select the color of the light.
  • Saturation: This option describes how much light from this source should be colored. It works by altering the presence of white light mixed with the chosen tint or color. You can use it, in a way, to increase the brightness of a color.
  • Intensity: The last option determines the brightness or power of the light source. Pulling the slider to zero will turn the light off, while moving the slider to the right will make the light source as bright as possible.

How to Change Environment in Procreate on iPad

With our custom light sources in place, it’s time to change the environment (or fundamental) lighting. At the moment, Procreate only offers a set of default environments that you can choose from. This is how it works.

1. In the lighting studio, press the ” Environment » button in the upper right corner of the screen. Here you can show or hide the environment with a tap. Hiding the environment will remove all lights and reflection-based effects applied to your 3D model.

Environment button in Lighting Studio

2. In the Environment drop-down menu, Procreate gives you many options. As the names suggest, the the environments are based around some real-life locations. Tap on their names to select and apply them. When selected, virtual environments recreate the lighting conditions of those locations. You can even change the environment exposure settings to your preference. This will change the intensity of the environmental lights.

3D environment options in Procreate

3. Now you can click the ” Done ” in the upper right corner to save changes and exit these settings.

Done button in Lighting Studio

6. Press the “Done” button to return to the drawing board, but the lighting and environmental effects will still be visible.

3D model after lighting and environment changes

Default environments in Procreate 5.2

Here is a list of all the default environments you can use in the Procreate 5.2 update to add lighting effects to your 3D models. All are designed to recreate realistic light environments.

  • Studio
  • Savage
  • Room
  • City
  • Night life
  • Port side
  • Industrial
  • Sunrise
  • Beach
  • Mountain
  • Day

We can expect Procreate to add more environments in the future, as well as deep light editing features. However, there has been no official announcement about the same in November 2021.

Start using 3D lighting and environment in Procreate

With this, you are ready to professionally showcase your 3D objects with similar lighting effects in Procreate app. If you can’t find these options in your Procreate app, go to the App Store and update the app on your iPad. As the Procreate 5.2 update is now widely available, you can start using 3D lighting and environment settings in Procreate as explained above. The functionality will remain the same on all iPad models, including the new M1 iPad Pro. We’ll be sure to update you with more important features in the Procreate 5.2 update as they roll out. In the meantime, if you feel stuck while using Procreate, drop your questions in the comments below. Our team will help you solve it at the earliest. If you have the new Procreate 5.2 update, what is your favorite new feature? Let us know in the comments below.