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Creating template layers

From: Animated Character Design with Illustrator

Video: Creating template layers

Depending on the situation and the look that I want to achieve for my artwork, I use various methods for creating my characters. Sometimes I draw directly into Illustrator without using anything as a guide. Other times I draw my characters in Photoshop, and then import them into Illustrator to convert them to vector files, because I like to use the brushes and some of the effects in Photoshop on my drawings. But the most common technique I use is to do a rough sketch on paper, scan it in or photograph it if I'm not near a scanner, and use this as a guide in Illustrator to create my drawing. Now in here I have the template layers file open, which is in the tracing artwork manually folder.

Creating template layers

Depending on the situation and the look that I want to achieve for my artwork, I use various methods for creating my characters. Sometimes I draw directly into Illustrator without using anything as a guide. Other times I draw my characters in Photoshop, and then import them into Illustrator to convert them to vector files, because I like to use the brushes and some of the effects in Photoshop on my drawings. But the most common technique I use is to do a rough sketch on paper, scan it in or photograph it if I'm not near a scanner, and use this as a guide in Illustrator to create my drawing. Now in here I have the template layers file open, which is in the tracing artwork manually folder.

And in here I've already placed a file where you can see it's directly taken from my sketch, because I just photographed this and then captured the image in quickest way I could do it. I think I just took the photo with my iPhone, so it's a nice, quick way of getting an image into the computer. So, it's a rough drawing that I did in my sketchbook, and now I'm going to use Illustrator's drawing tools to create a cleaner and easier to edit version using vector art. Now the first thing to do is double-click the layer that the drawing is on, and choose to make that a template layer, and there's a few reasons for doing that. A template layer is a non-printing guide layer, and it won't export when you save the file.

So if I open up this file in After Facts, and this has been made a template layer, it won't come through as a layer. So it's kind of like an invisible layer. So when you choose to make a later template layer, Illustrator will automatically lock it. Now if I click on template you'll notice that lock also becomes activated. It also dims the image to 50 percent. Now you can overwrite the dim setting if want a little bit more depth to the image. So that you can trace over a bit more reliably then you can change that value yourself.

And then when I click Okay, I'm just going to give it a name, for now lets just call it template. And click Okay, and I now have a locked layer that I can start to create my artwork on. And then I just create subsequent layers to draw the artwork on. So, that's how to create a template layer for tracing manually the drawings that you've done and imported from Photoshop or from your sketchbook.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator

29 video lessons · 3338 viewers

Angie Taylor
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