Tutorials

How to Merge Layers in Procreate: When to use Group vs Merge

Layers are one of the most useful tools when it comes to digital art. It has made many things possible and has made it much easier for artists and designers to create work.

If you’re a beginner in the digital illustration world, you might be wondering what a layer is. Well, to explain it simply, let’s think of tracing paper.

Let’s say we’re drawing a flower. On the first sheet, you draw the outline of the flower. You put a second sheet on top of it and color the flower. You’ll notice that when you put them on top of each other, the flower has an outline and a color.

But if you’d like to change the color, you only have to make changes on that specific sheet. Whatever you do on that sheet does not affect the sheet with the outline drawn on it.

This is what makes layers helpful, you can put different elements of your drawing on top of each other, rearrange them however you like, and modify the layers without affecting the other parts.

But what makes layers and tracing paper different from each other? With layers, you can merge two or more and move or edit them together.

Now the question is, do you know how to merge or combine layers in Procreate? What’s the difference between the two?

Let’s find out!

Group vs Merge

You may be wondering, is there even a difference between merge and group? How about group and combine?

Basically, merging is when you combine two or more layers into one single layer, while grouping is when you put two or more layers together in a group.

When you merge your layers, you’ll be interacting with it as one layer. Meaning if you merge an outline and a color layer, all the changes you’ll make on the merged layer will appear on both the outline and the color.

Meanwhile, when we group layers you’ll still be able to edit each layer separately without affecting the other layers in the group. This one is useful for organizing your layers or when moving them.

How to Combine Layers in Procreate

There are two ways we can try to group layers.

Combine Down

This way can only be done one layer at a time.

Swipe left on a layer and tap on ‘Combine down’. This will group it with the layer below it.

Tap on 'Combine down' to group two adjacent layers.

When a layer is above a group and you tap on ‘Combine down’, the layer will be combined with that group.

Select and Group

To use this option, simply swipe right on the layers you want to group together. When selecting two or more layers, new buttons will appear at the top of the Layers Menu.

Select the layers you want to group together and tap on the 'Group' button that wouyuld appear on the upper right corner.

Tap on ‘Group’ to combine all the selected layers into a single group.

This is how a group of layers look like

Ungroup

To ungroup layers, simply select the layer or layers you want to remove from the group and drag it outside of the group. You can also rearrange your layers and groups this way.

How to Merge Layers in Procreate

There are 3 ways to merge layers in Procreate.

Merge Down

Like Combine Down, this option can also be done with just one layer at a time.

Tap on 'Merge down' to turn two adjacent layers into one.

Just tap on the layer and choose ‘Merge down’. The current layer will now fuse with the layer that’s directly below it.

Pinch

To merge layers, you can also use gestures.

You can pinch the layers to merge them together.

Just arrange the layers in a way that the layers you want to merge are beside each other. Once you make sure of this, pinch on the first and last layers to squeeze the groups together.

Flatten

Tap on 'Flatten'  to merge the layers in a group

This one can be done by grouping the layers first. Once you’re sure that you’re not planning to modify any of the layers in your group, just tap on the group name and choose ‘Flatten’ to merge them.

This is how it looks like when you merge the layers in Procreate.

Now that you know the difference between grouping and merging layers, you're now ready to apply these and do more advanced techniques to your work!

It's easy and simple to do, even for beginners, and helps a lot with your work in many different ways.

Try using the group and merge tools on your next work and let us know your thoughts!

What Procreate techniques do you want us to share next?

Author:
Patricia Salanguit
BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL -
LIMITED SLOT OFFERS LIVE

Procreate classes

Courses and brushes by Freya Kotchakorn helped mored than 10.000 students excel in Procreate drawings.