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In this lesson, I'll show you how to use Sketchbook Pro's useful Layer Editor. Layer Editor will help us build drawings, separate and organize the elements of the drawings so they can be isolated for control changes. Let's begin by opening our layerbunny.tif file. So let's go to the main menu bar under File > Open and select layerbunny. Before we start, let's open our Layer Editor. The background layer is your starting point. So, let's go ahead and move our cursor over to the toolbar and here on user interface, and you see this layer icon here where it says Layers? Go ahead and drag down to it and lift up on your cursor and here's your Layer Editor.
What I'd like you do is bring your cursor to the middle of that previewed image, press down. As you drag and go around, you can see all the different tools here. Now obviously, some of them are deactivated because we haven't made any selections yet. So let's go ahead and do the first one, which is directly to our right. It's called Rename Layer. So if you go ahead and keep that selected, pull over to the right, and where it says Rename Layer, I want you to lift up. What that's going to do is it's going to pop up a window that will allow you to basically rename the layer. Now, you can leave the layer named as Background if you'd like.
What I'd like do is I'd like to go ahead and rename it. So let's go ahead and before you get started, click on the small box here, which says Show me what is on this layer and it says the word BACKGROUND. Now you can leave it if you like, but I am going to go ahead and clear that. So go ahead and hit the Clear button and you are then you are going to handwrite a number 1 and you are going to put a circle around it and we are going to call that BUNNY 1. We are going to go ahead and click OK and you've just renamed your layer. Now the second control is the one just above the name of the layer and you can see like a sliding bar with an arrow. Go ahead and click on that.
What that's going to allow you do is it's going to allow you to adjust the opacity of that drawing. Okay, right now, it's set to 100%, which is the most contrast. As we click down and hold and move that bar over to the midsection to 50%, look what's happened to our drawing. It's become a little bit translucent. Now, if we go ahead and click down on the Opacity control again and move it all the way to 0, oops! Let's bring our drawing back. So let's go ahead and click on that again and bring that Opacity control all the way to 100%. Now that's going to be really useful as we start to develop our drawing as we are starting to use layers and I'll show you why.
Another thing that you'd like to do is go ahead and bring your cursor to the middle of that editor and go up and what you are going to do is you are going to add a layer. Go ahead and lift up and what you are going to do now is you are going to now have a second layer. Let's go ahead and rename that layer. Again, select the middle, drag to the right. We are going to click off the Show me what is on this layer. We are going to clear the image, we are going to call this Layer 2, and we are going to call this BIG BUNNIES. Again, you can go ahead and write this on your tablet or input device. Click OK.
Now we have two layers to work with. So let me show you how drawing in layers works. We are going to go back to the first layer. Now, one of the controls I'd like to share with you before we move on is really quickly is that you can turn layers on and off. Now, if you go ahead and put your cursor in the middle and drag to the left opposite the Rename Layer, you see a little eye icon. Just go ahead and drag and lift up. You see what happens? Then make them come back, go ahead and position your pen back in the center and move to the left where it says Show Layer. Hide Layer, Show Layer.
Now you can also lock a layer down. Let's say you are working on a drawing and you don't want to inadvertently select that layer, you can lock that layer and what happens is there's nothing you can do in that layer. Even if I want to draw, nothing worked. There is a great way to preserve a drawing, especially one that you've spent a lot of time on. All right, so let's go ahead and make that drawing active. Now, one of the things to always keep an eye on when you are working with Layer Editor is that it's always highlighted in red. So as long as that highlight is on, that's the layers you are working on. You are never going to be working in two layers.
you are either working on one or the other. So what we are going to do here is we are going to go ahead and go to our interface lagoon, go to Edit, let's go over here and pick Marquee Select, and let's pick this guy right here. We are going to Marquee Select one of the bunnies down below. We are going to copy him. Let's go to our Edit > Copy. Now what we are going to do here is we are going to go ahead and put him on a second layer. So while he is selected and kind of floating out there, let's go ahead and select that second layer and then what we are going to do is we are going to paste him on the second layer.
So go back to Edit and Paste. See he is kind of floating around? Now, it looks like he is kind of obscured or blended with the other bunnies. So to make him probably pop out a little bit more, we'll go back to the first layer, what we are going to do is we are going to the Opacity control and we'll go ahead and slide that bar down to let's say 30%. Now, the bunny on the second layer is more opaque than the ones in the back. So what we are going to do here is we are going to go ahead and lock down that first layer, so that we can't draw on it.
You see how when I tried to draw or do any pen movements, there is a circled cross through it. Okay, that tells you that you can't work in that layer. So let's go ahead and go into second layer while we are still in Marquee Selection mode, and if you don't have it, again, go back to user interface and reselect it. Now that you selected it, let's go ahead and enlarge him by putting our cursor in the middle of the Editing tool. Okay, we are going to scale him up and we are going to go ahead and copy. We are going to paste another one of his buddies right next to him.
And I will put him up here. We'll paste another one over here, and I'll make this one a little bigger. Now, what we'd like to do is we'd like to in this illustration, make these three bunnies stand up proud in front of all these other bunnies. So what we are going to do is we are going to do that by erasing out al of the bunnies that are visible through the second layer. So when I return to the first layer, unlock that, but then what we are going to do is use our Move and Zoom tools and move into position. We are going to go ahead and pick our erasers.
Now, our erasers are going to be found in our Brush tool. So we'll go ahead and select on the Brush too box, select an Eraser. We'll go ahead and resize an eraser so that it fits with what we are doing. Now, at first, you are going to go, "hey, you know, I am getting a little nervous here. I don't want to be erasing through both bunnies," but you won't. Look at how that works. So wherever the bunnies on the first layer are appearing through the big bunnies on the top layer, you can and go ahead and erase those out. See how that Layer Editor is so helpful when you are drawing. It just allows you to have that extra edge to make those corrections, by having to layer and to erase and create masks.
If you need to move, go ahead and grab your Move and Zoom tool. Let's go ahead and take care of that other one now. Now, you can also Lasso Select as well, just kind of keep an eye on where those elements are in the drawing and you can Lasso Select them and move those bunnies up. We've also lost the feet on that one too. So let's go ahead and make sure. It's always a good practice to go ahead and move and zoom out and just kind of pan across your drawing to make sure that everything is done. Okay. Well, let's go ahead and go back to the Opacity control and let's slowly put our cursor on that slider and move that slider up.
Now what does that tell you already? I can see something going on here, but I think that's more of a visual illusion, but other than that, it looks pretty good. I'll slide that all the way over. I am going to go in here here and close my Brush tool so you can get better look and I am going to remove Resize Brush tool. You can see how the bunny has not only grown in size but you can even see that it's grown in line weight as well. So it really makes those bunnies stand up proud. Now there are two other features I'd like to share with you and these are particularly related to layers and it's about collapsing layers and moving layers up and down.
Now, if I click on this Elevator logo here, now what that does is it allows you to actually move layers up and down above a layer or return it back to where it was. You can see the dynamic change in the drawing, because the line starts to impede in the other one. So let's go ahead and move that down and that's really useful if you are doing a drawing that has multiple layers and you are trying to move certain elements around to give it contrast or you want to obscure some details without using the Opacity controls. That's where moving layers are really important.
But there's also another feature which allows you to combine layers and that's Collapsing. Now, you can go with either one. I am going to go with the top one. If you go ahead and move your cursor to the middle of that and you move down to the lower icon where it says Merge With Below, now what that does if you select that and you lift up, it now compresses into one layer. Now sometimes that's good when you are doing comprehensive drawing and you have so many layers that sometimes it's kind of like well, I am not really going to have to go back to that and that drawing is pretty much fixed.
It's okay to compress layers. Otherwise, you can always go back if you change your mind to go to your Undo tool and it will return to two layers. To close, using layers allows you to manage the different elements of a drawing while maintaining your original inspiration.
- Exploring the user interface lagoon
- Customizing brush settings
- Creating a texture brush
- Refining a sketch with blur, smear and sharpen tools
- Creating illustrations with layers
- Using the Symmetry tool to mirror drawings across the X or Y axis
- Using the ruler tool to draw and position precise straight lines
- Using the Ellipse tool to draw and position precise circles, ellipses, and curves.
- Saving projects