Why Use Layers In Illustrator?
Once you’ve become somewhat familiar with Adobe Illustrator, you should organize your content into layers, which group together related elements such as graphics, objects, and vectors. They allow you to quickly edit, move, or ignore your content all at the same time in the form of a organizational hierarchy. The Layers panel – when you fully understand its functionality – is a graphic designers best friend. Layering is considerably more practical than grouping, because your layers do not move as combined objects with limited ability for individual modification. Layers are crucial when it comes to planning your design approach, as they maximize time effectiveness for yourself and/or your company.
- Find the layers for your file in the Layers panel (Window > Layers).
- Content layered at the top appear in front of content layered at the bottom of the panel.
- Locking your layers (by clicking on the lock icon) allow you to move, edit, hide and work with your other content without affecting the overall composition.
- To hide a layer, click the eye icon in the Layers panel, and click again to make the layer visible.
Re-Order Your Content
- By default, when creating new shapes in Illustrator they become stacked in chronological order.
- The selection tool allows you to select artwork and change its order in the stack by dragging and dropping.
- The objects in your design are colour coded to correspond to their appropriate layer.
- This can be important when you want one element to be more prominent, especially when dealing with different opacity levels.
Modifying Your Layers
- Each Illustrator document starts with a single layer named Layer 1.
- To rename a layer, double-click the layer name in the Layers panel.
- Try naming your layers to correspond with the elements they consist of for easy location.
- To create a new layer, click the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Tips & Tricks
- To locate content, click on the desired graphics in the document and then click Locate Object at the bottom of the Layers panel.
- To do the opposite and select an individual path/object, click on the circle icon in the corresponding path sub layer.
- Finally, to add a new object to a group, you can use a layers shortcut instead of ungrouping. Drag the object to it’s appropriate depth in the layers palette, and it will automatically included in your grouped object.