Layers stack on top of each other and are displayed as individual rows on the Timeline. The objects located on one layer do not interact physically with objects on another layer.

Layers are transparent, so you can see through one layer to the ones below. An object on an upper layer will hide an object on a lower layer if they are positioned one over the other.

Layers are used extensively in some forms of animation.

Layer Overview

Working with Layers


To create a new layer:

    First select the layer you want the new one to appear above,
  • Click the Insert Layer button Insert Layer on the Timeline
  • OR right click and choose Insert Layer
  • OR choose Layer from the Insert menu

Always name your layers as you create them because as the number of layers in your movie grows, your ability to remember which layer that ball or particular piece of text is on diminishes.

    To name your new layer:
  • Double click on it and type in the new name. Name your layer
  • OR right click on the layer and choose Properties.
  • OR choose Layer from the Modify menu.

There will be times you decide that you no longer need/want a certain layer...

    To delete a layer:
  • Click on the Layer name to activate it.
  • Click on the Delete Layer button Delete Layer on the Timeline
  • OR right click on the layer and choose Delete
Properties: Right click on a layer and choose Properties to bring up it's Properties dialog box
Layer Properties Dialog Box
  • You can rename a layer.
  • Lock your layer to prevent accidental editing on objects on that layer. When a layer is locked objects on that layer can not even be selected. The Lock feature is also available on the layer itself by clicking on the dot to the right of the layer name and under the Lock button. Lock your layer You know when your layer is locked because a lock appears to the right of the layer name.
  • Show (or hide if the Show box is unchecked) your layer. The Show feature is also available on the layer itself by clicking on the dot under the Show button. Show or hide your layer When a layer is hidden a red X appears to the right of the layer name. This feature is especially helpful to determine what is going on in the Timeline.
  • The active layer is designated by a pencil type icon to the right of the layer name. Notice that when a layer is locked, the pencil has a red slash through it to remind you that you can't edit any of it's objects until you unlock it. The active/current layer is also identified by black highlighting.

To rearrange layers simply click on one and drag it up or down in the Timeline. Remember that no matter what the name or number on a layer, it's place in the hierarchy is what determines whether it's objects are above or below objects on other layers. You will want to make sure that something you want in the background doesn't hide objects that should be on top of it, so be sure that a layer like that is near the bottom of the stacking order.

Click and drag the layer
Now it's where it should be
 Layer Views

As drawings/movies become more complex, making selections becomes more difficult and the screen redraw time slows down as it requires more processing. You can lighten the load on your system by using the View Mode of a layer. Access the Layer Properties dialog box and put a check in the "View layer as outlines" box. You can assign each layer it's own color for outlines by clicking on the color chip. This is similar to the View/Outlines but only affects a layer at a time rather than the entire movie. You can also change to layer view directly from the layer. Choose the layer you want to affect and then click on the colored square below the open square at the top of the Timeline.
click the dot below this square

Normal View
Normal View
Outline View
Outline View

For complex movies, layers can be arranged in folders for better organization.