Alpha Lock in Procreate

In digital drawing masks are very powerful tools that give you so much flexibility. Masks also can save you hours and help you create artwork with more precision. Procreate has three types of masks, one of which is Alpha Lock. And in this tutorial, I will go over the Alpha Lock mask and how to use it.

What is Alpha Lock

Alpha Lock is a mask that allows you to draw inside of an existing shape without going outside of the borders. And any further drawing will only affect the existing object on that layer and leave transparent areas untouched.

Alpha Lock is ideal for adding texture, any sort of details, and shading to an object of your artwork without painting outside the lines.

How to use Alpha Lock

The Alpha Lock in Procreate can be accessed through the Layers menu. Open the Layer panel and tap the layer you wish to apply Alpha Lock to, then tap Alpha Lock. Or you can use a shortcut and simply swipe right with two fingers on the layer to activate Alpha Lock.

Now Alpha Lock is activated, and you would be able to tell that because the layer thumbnail will have a checkered background.

With Alpha Lock applied, you can only make transformations that will be applied to the contents of the layer and not its surrounding areas. In my case, I would be able to draw only on the “Stripes” layer.

How to turn off Alpha Lock

Of course, once you are done with editing with Alpha Lock you can turn it off. Simply tap on that layer and uncheck Alpha Lock. The layer will go back to normal and you would notice that the checkered background would go away as well.

Now you would be able to continue drawing on that layer without being constrained.


Overall, Alpha Lock is a great tool especially if you have a limited number of layers. However, because you draw directly on a layer, it does change your original image. And if you need to change something there’s no other way except for the Undo tool.

So, if you would use Alpha Lock, I would suggest making a copy of your original layer, in case you decide to go back to the original state.






One response to “Alpha Lock in Procreate”

  1. Alberto pavan Avatar
    Alberto pavan

    Wanted to mask a part of a drawing using alpha lock, however I could not because the alpha lock locked a different area from the one I wanted to mask and I haven’t been able to find out how to instruct Procreate to mask the part I intended to work on. I do love Procreate, but I know I am using a minimal part of the potential of the app because instructions never help me in the practical applications of the use of tools

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