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Using layers

From: Drawing Vector Graphics

Video: Using layers

Using layers is a good creative habit that every designer should practice. Taking the time to organize your art into distinct, easy-to-discern layers will make it far easier to manage and share your files with others. This is a design I did a few years back for a speaking engagement at an advertising college. They asked me to do anything I wanted. So of course I did an evil clown. This shows you the Refined Sketch I placed in here and I have a default layering system for all my files that I create my artwork in and I have a Refined Sketch layer, that's where I place my scanned sketch and I lock that layer.

Using layers

Using layers is a good creative habit that every designer should practice. Taking the time to organize your art into distinct, easy-to-discern layers will make it far easier to manage and share your files with others. This is a design I did a few years back for a speaking engagement at an advertising college. They asked me to do anything I wanted. So of course I did an evil clown. This shows you the Refined Sketch I placed in here and I have a default layering system for all my files that I create my artwork in and I have a Refined Sketch layer, that's where I place my scanned sketch and I lock that layer.

On top of that is my Build layer. This is where I do all my initial building in my vector shapes using the magenta-colored path to create whatever I need to create. In this case the first part that I started when creating this art was his nose and that was just a simple shape build using the Ellipse Tool and just manipulating some of the anchor points in order to get the exact shape of the nose I needed and I went forth and built all the other shapes, but as I build I am doing all my initial building on my Build layer.

But that said, you don't want to focus and keep all of your artwork on one single layer for the duration of your project to create the final art. It's just going to make managing those shapes a lot harder. So along the way, as I build stuff, if I want it out of my way, I create a new layer that I name as Temp. And I just keep that on there just as a holding spot until I am ready to organize my layers and organize the hierarchy of my vector shapes.

So if we go to my Base Vector shapes, this shows everything since this is a symmetric design. I only have to create half of the art with exception of his nose. Since that was a circle, I just left that as a solid shape, but pretty much everything else, except his hair is symmetrical. I can now select this, clone and flip it, and we will be going over that in another movie and I will show you some other examples that you will see symmetry used to pull off the artwork.

But as I build once I get to key critical stages of building my artwork, in this case once I have this done, I would select it, group it, then I would make a clone. Meaning I would clone that group and once again we are using our F3 key that I showed you in the other movie in this course and just to show you I have cloned this art. Once I have that art cloned I move it to a layer in my layers palette called X.

Think of my X layer, I am just going to turn off my Refined Sketch layer for a moment. This is where I store all my vector paths as I am building it. If I experiment with something, I might try it, but I decide I am not sure if I want to use it. Instead of throwing it away, I move it to my layer X. So acts almost like vector insurance. So if I ever change my mind I can go back to it. You can see in this specific art, at one point in my Refined Sketch, I had drool drawn out, but I decided he was freaky enough, he didn't need drool.

So in my final art I didn't have drool. So that's what I use the vector insurance layer for. You don't want to build on one single layer. So as you build you will want to move content and start organizing your hierarchy of shape. So in this case let's say the first aspect of this artwork I want to isolate and move to its own layer is going to be first we need to Ungroup it. We are going to select his hat and we are going to move that to a new layer. So you just make sure you are on the layer that has the vector art you want to move.

Then you can go to the bottom of the layers pallet and click to create new layers button. That will create a new layer above it and you just select the icon to the far right, meaning that the selected art you have is what's selected and you drag it up and drop and that's how you move it to the new layer. Now you can see the highlighting color on this new layer. It's just like really light color teal. You can notice on all my other layers I have a blue selected, because I have just found that this medium blue works best for highlighting so I also change my layer highlighting to that and always it's a good habit to get into to name your layers as you build.

So we will just call this one Hat and we will click OK. So as you build you will start moving stuff to its own layer and obviously the hierarchy has to work so on your final design it looks the way it should. But like I said, you want to avoid building all your artwork on one layer. You want to move stuff to their own layer. This is the final art for this design and it looks cool, but it's all on one layer. So it's really hard to get access to certain aspects of this design.

Such as the base color on this clowns hair. I would have to move one effect shape, another effect shape in order to get to the base shape. You can see how that can become a problem for editing certain things and making any small revisions. It's just a lot harder to get access to your art. So I am going to show you the same artwork. We are going to switch to another file here and this file is included in the exercise files with this course.

So you can deconstruct this to really understand how I layered everything here to pull it off. But if you look at the layers now, this artwork it's an extreme example of layering. You probably will never have to get this complex with yours, but it does show you that I can isolate any aspect of this artwork such as his nose, turn off the base color of his nose, the shading on his nose. I can turn off the eyes. The eye detailing. So you can see to the extreme I've layered it over here and you will be able to deconstruct this file and really come to a better understanding of how to set up your layer hierarchy to let layers help you to organize your files so they are easier to manage.

You know layers are good things. So don't be one of those designers that never bothers to use layers and builds everything on one single layer. I'm sure you've had to use a file where somebody's done that. So just stop it. You run the risk of annoying those who have to deal with your sloppy files so make layering a good creative habit.

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This video is part of

Image for Drawing Vector Graphics
Drawing Vector Graphics

41 video lessons · 52711 viewers

Von Glitschka
Author

 
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 26s
    2. Exercise files
      1m 5s
  2. 18m 36s
    1. What is illustrative design?
      54s
    2. A systematic creative process
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring analog tools
      2m 39s
    4. Exploring digital tools
      13m 37s
  3. 18m 31s
    1. Creative preparation
      1m 13s
    2. The creative brief
      2m 25s
    3. Creative thinking methods
      1m 2s
    4. Word associations
      1m 55s
    5. Mind mapping
      1m 55s
    6. Before. During. After.
      1m 26s
    7. I think, therefore I design
      2m 46s
    8. Selecting the appropriate style
      2m 57s
    9. Using reference material
      2m 52s
  4. 8m 50s
    1. Solid creative foundation
      53s
    2. Anyone can draw
      2m 17s
    3. Thumbnail sketching
      2m 34s
    4. Refining your drawn ideas
      3m 6s
  5. 44m 40s
    1. Workflow enhancements
      57s
    2. Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions
      2m 25s
    3. Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions: Demo
      13m 15s
    4. Using custom scripts
      6m 44s
    5. Graphic styles and custom color palettes
      8m 19s
    6. Using layers
      7m 15s
    7. Toggling Smart Guides on and off
      5m 45s
  6. 38m 59s
    1. Building your vector shapes
      1m 0s
    2. A roadmap for vector building
      4m 40s
    3. The clockwork method
      7m 4s
    4. Prime point placement
      3m 40s
    5. The point-by-point method
      8m 22s
    6. The shape-building method
      6m 46s
    7. Symmetry is your friend
      6m 1s
    8. Art directing yourself
      1m 26s
  7. 19m 54s
    1. Presenting your designs
      1m 4s
    2. Presentation formats
      5m 50s
    3. Revealing your designs
      1m 36s
    4. Writing a design rationale
      1m 56s
    5. Responding to client revisions
      3m 46s
    6. Renewable creative energy
      5m 42s
  8. 49s
    1. Next steps
      49s

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