Layers

In this section you will see what layers are and how to use this simple yet effective animation technique. Using layers is essential in any complex animation but they can be useful in some simple animations too.

What are layers?

The simplest way to understand layers is to imagine them as a stack of transparencies. Each layer (transparency) represents an animation for itself but all the layers together make one “big” animation. Main point to remember here is that layers on the top of the stack cover layers at the bottom. This means that some of the bottom layers’ contents may not be visible if covered by top layers’ contents.

Operations on layers

Upon creation, there is one layer in Vectorian Giotto’s document. Default name for this layer is Layer 1. There are several possible operations on layers: insert, remove, make layer visible/invisible, lock/unlock, rename, send to back, move to front. All those operations can be undo-ed (recalled).

Insert

The easiest way to insert new layer is from context-sensitive menu. Right-click on the timeline and select Insert Layer option from menu. A new layer is inserted with its default name. In this example, its name will be Layer 2. This new layer is located on top of stack, i.e. everything drawn in it will appear on top of everything else drawn in bottom layers. Another way to insert layer is by invoking Modify/Layers command from menu bar. Choose Insert New from Layers dialog.
layers

Remove

You can remove layer from context-sensitive menu. First select layer you want to remove by left-clicking layer name below timeline. Notice that selected layer is now marked blue which shows that all future commands will refer to this layer! Right-click and select Remove Layer option from menu. Selected layer and all objects it contains are removed from document.
layers

Make layer visible/invisible

If layer is visible, all objects it contains are visible. Invisible layer means that objects it contains are invisible. Changing visibility is very easy – just left-click small black dot next to layer name (an eye symbol is shown as “column header”). Dot changes to red X sign. This means that from now on layer is invisible. If you want to make layer visible again, left-click red X. It reverts to black dot and layer is visible again. By default, all inserted layers are visible.

Lock/unlock layer

If layer is locked, none of objects it contains can be changed in any way (deleted, moved.). Locking layer is very easy – just left-click second black dot right of layer name (a lock is shown as “column header”). Dot changes to lock symbol. This means that from now on layer is locked. If you want to unlock layer, left-click lock. It reverts to black dot and layer is unlocked again. By default, all inserted layers are unlocked.

Rename

You can change layer’s name by invoking Modify/Layers command from menu bar. Select layer you want to rename and type the name you want in Layer name edit field. After that click Rename.
layers

Send to back

You can move layer down the stack, effectively making contents of that layer appear below contents of other layers on top of it. You can send layer back by invoking Modify/Layers command from menu bar. Select layer you want to send back and click Send to back.

Move To Front

This command is the opposite of Send to Back it moves layer up the stack. You can move layer to front by invoking Modify/Layers command from menu bar. Select layer you want to move and click Move to front.