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Great Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 4)

posted by: Natalie Ulrich, in Illustrator Tips / Basix/ Comments: 2

Natalie Ulrich shares some very interesting tricks with us. In today’s article we will talk about the Layers panel. I always knew that this is a powerful tool of Adobe Illustrator, but I had no idea about some of the functions and how to work with them. Do you know how to speed up your work with Adobe Illustrator for displaying objects with effects and blend objects while they move or zoom? Learn at the jump!

Outlining of Photo

Very often we need to outline the photo to create a vector artwork. A work with the creation of the outlining can be much easier if you place the picture into special template layer. In the menu of Layers panel choose the Template item. As a result, the transparency will be reduced to 50%. To change the template settings double click on this layer of the panel to open the Layer Options window. Put the necessary value into Dim Images To__ box. Then press the Create New Layer button in the Layers panel and start with the outlining.

The template layer can be hidden or seen with shortcuts Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + W.

Hide Other Layers

Sometimes only one layer needs to stay visible; all the others should be hidden. This can be done by one mouth click- in the Layers panel. Press the eye icon of this layer while holding the Opt/ Alt buttons. All the other layers will be hidden. To restore their visibility, repeat this action.

Outline Mode for One Layer

The view of the outline mode (Cmd / Ctrl + Y) is a good way to see all the outlines of the vector picture. But sometimes it is better to use this mode not for the whole document but only for one layer. To do so, click on the layer on the eye icon while holding the Cmd / Ctrl key.

If you click on the eye icon while holding the Cmd / Ctrl + Opt / Alt keys, all the layers in outline mode will be displayed, with the exception of the selected layer. This trick can be very useful when it takes a while for Adobe Illustrator to move or zoom the difficult objects.

Moving and Coping of the Object from Layer to Layer

To move the selected object into the other layer, find in the right part of the layer of the object a small color box. Drag it into the other layer, the object will move into this layer as a result. If you want to copy the object then you need to hold down the Opt / Alt key while you drag the square.

But this tip wouldn’t work if you move a couple of objects from different layers into one layer. To do so you need to select the objects that you want to move while holding the Shift key on the workplace, then click on the target layer in the Layers panel and go to the Object > Arrange > Send to Current Layer.

Doubling of the Whole Layer

To create the duplicate of the whole layer with all the objects that it contains, drag the layer into the "Create New Layer” button in the Layers panel while holding the Opt / Alt. Note: If you use Adobe Illustrator CS4 – CS5, then it is not necessary to hold down the Opt / Alt keys.

Selection of the Objects

To select all the objects in the layer it is enough to press the small color box or blank space to the right of the ring icon. To select all the objects in couple of layers, it is enough to click on every layer while holding down the Shift key.

Locking of the Objects

To lock all the objects except the one that you need to edit, click on the blank space to the right of the eye icon while holding down the Opt / Alt key. To unlock the objects, repeat  the action.

How to Find Necessary Layer (Sublayer) with Selected Object

Sometimes you need to figure out in what layer or sublayer in the Layer panel the object is situated. Select the object in the workplace and then choose the Locate Object in the fly-out menu of the Layers panel. The sublayers will be opened in such a way that you will see the location of the selected object.

Opening of All the Sublayers and Groups

To see all the sublayers in the Layer panel and to open all the groups, click on the triangle, which opens the list of the main layer, while holding down the Opt/ Alt key. All the sublayers will be opened in such a way that their contents will be seen. To minimize the list of all layers and group objects repeat the same action.

How to Place a New Layer on the Top of Other Layers

If you click on the Create New Layer button in the Layers panel, the new layer will be automatically created on the top of the current layer. If you want your new layer to be on the top of all the layers, then hold down the Cmd / Ctrl key while clicking.

If you want the new layer to be placed under your current layer, hold the Cmd / Ctrl + Opt / Alt while clicking on the Create New Layer.

Target Ring

The ring that is situated to the right of the layer’s name is called the Target Ring. When you click on this ring, you select the whole layer in the Appearance panel. If you change the appearance of the layer then its every object will be in the same style. For example, sometimes you need to change the transparency of one layer when you work. To do so, click on the Target Ring and in the Appearance panel you can edit the transparency for the whole object. The empty Target Ring will become shady.

This transparency can be easily dragged to the whole layer. Just simply drag the shady Target Ring to the empty Target Ring of the other layer. The original layer loses the applied effect and your current layer gets it. If you hold down the Opt/Alt key while you drag, the appearance of the current layer will be copied to the other layer. To delete the appearance select the approximate effect or the opacity in the Appearance panel and press the Delete Selected Item button there.

Saving of the Layers while Pasting

This option is very important when the documents need to be copied and pasted from one document to the other. It is also important in coping and pasting of the objects to one and the same document. This option is turned off on default. So before you start working with layers, it makes sense to set the Paste Remembers Layers option in the Layers panel menu. This option will remain on, even if a new document will be created.

Layer Composition

Photoshop has a very good function - the Layer Comps, which allows saving different combinations of layers in one and the same document. Illustrator doesn’t have such a function, but it can be imitated when you use the custom views. Hide one or a couple layers, now go to the View > New View and type the name in the opened dialog box. Then change the visibility of other layers and again create a new view. Do as many views as you want. To check out different combinations choose the names in the View menu.

Merge of Selected Layers

When the Layers panel is too bulky because of large amount of layers, you can merge a couple of layers into one. To do so, select the necessary layers and choose the Merge Selected command in the Layers menu. All the content of two or more layers will move into one layer. For example, if you select three layers, each of which contains two sublayers, and then use this command, you will get a new layer which contains 6 sublayers as a result. The new layer will have the name of the last selected layer.

New Layer Collect

If you don’t need to merge all layers and you need to reduce their number, then you can use the Collect in New Layers command. A new layer will be created that will contain all the layers and sublayers from selected layers.

You can read the pervious parts here:

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 1)

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 2)

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 3)

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 5)

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 6)

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 7)

Effective Methods of Working in Adobe Illustrator (Part 8)

Natalia is a successful illustrator and photographer who works with micro stock sites. If you want to become financially independent and get a good source of passive income, register on micro stocks at the following links and start making money right now.

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Total comments: 1
0   Spam
1   (2012 Mar 21 02:58)
well exlained article, thanks for shairng

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