Work with Layers in Illustrator®
Going in and working with your shapes, things can get really busy on the page here. So one thing I want to show you is the Layers panel. If I go into the Window menu, we have our Layers panel. Call that up. And our Layers panel allows us to go in, I'm just going to pull this off here so we can see this a little bit better. Everything that we draw goes on its individual layer, and what happens is you get a very complicated file very quickly. And not complicated where it's, you know, really cool effects and such, there just can be a lot going on in your file, and being able to go and actually select something can make it a lot more difficult. So in your Layers panel, everything that I draw goes on its own specific layer. The reason why I mention this is because, when we draw these you'll notice that every time we select this, they've got this little blue line or blue bounding box going around it, and that blue is an association with the actual layer itself. Now, we would use layers when ...
we're doing type and containers, and we may want to put the type on a separate layer, so that we can isolate it, or shut it off, and I can do that by going into my Layers panel here, and creating a new layer, and I can actually name these layers by double-clicking on the layer. I'm just hitting Return. These are going to be my graphics right here. And whenever I do anything, I can select that layer, and anything that I do on any other layer here, when I select that, whatever layer I'm on, you'll notice that the bounding box will be reflected by the color of that layer. If you've ever wondered why everything's blue, that's the default layer. Why is this handy? Because when you have a very large file, you may want to segregate things out on layers, and you'll want to know when you select something, which layer it's on. So those bounding boxes actually have a reason. To be able to go through and do that. Now, whatever layer you select is the layer that you're working on. If you're doing something on a layer, and it's not on the right layer, you can always take your object, and with it selected here, go over to your Layers panel, grab that little crouton right there, gotta have it selected, you grab that little crouton, you drag that to the layer you want it to be on, you're right there. Simply transfers it to another layer. The benefit of this, is when you get a very complicated file. You can turn those layers off, but next to the eyeball, there is a lock, which allows you to keep everything in place, so you don't inadvertently move something. Now, this can get really complicated really quickly. If I have a file like this, you can see that there's all this content on all these layers here, and there's tons and tons and tons of objects with groups. When you get into a more complicated file, the Layers panel allows you to go in and target those groups, or those specific objects, rather than trying to pick through with your selection tool and get what you want. So I can very easily go in and I could go to the section that I want, and I've got this all grouped together, and in the Layers panel I can open it up, and I can hunt down each and every object and be able to select that object independently in trying to figure it all out. The Layers panel, it can get a little bit overwhelming, but when we're working with it, it's great because I can open this up, I can find every single thing that I've done in there. I'm able to lock each and every individual item, I am able to turn off the visibility of each and every item, so that I can isolate or lock, or hide, those items, without moving them. Everything that you draw ends up on its own sub-layer inside that layer. Every single thing. So, managing your file here using layers, it's great. You don't have to, but it's something that we just like to show people, just so you know.