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About the Author

Shabana Ali

Shabana Ali

Multimedia Artist

Montreal, Canada

Toon Boom Animation

Video Transcript

Merging Layers.

In order to merge layers, you need to select at least two of them. So in this case I'm going to select Celina's hands and Celina's line work. So in order to select multiple layers you just need to click on your first layer, hold down shift and then click on a second layer or multiple layers. Then I'm going to right click on these layers and from the pop up menu I'm going to select Merge Selected Layers, and as you can see now if I toggle the show/hide icon from that both Celina's line work and her hands toggle on and off and you can also see that the layer took on the name of the layer that was higher in the stack.

So this time let's select Celina's highlight and her shadow and you can of course do this again through the Layer menu, so I'm going to go to the top menu and select Layer > Merge Selected Layers. However, this time a warning box appears and that's because the first two layers that we merged were both vector layers, they both have this gray bar on the side. However, in this case Celina's highlight has a blue bar which means that is a bitmap layer. So now we're trying to merge layers of different types. So this warning box tells us that some of the elements might be cropped from the vector layer because the bitmap layer has a fixed canvas size. So I'm going to say OK to this and a second warning box appears letting us know that the new layer type is going to be bitmap and not vector. So I'm going to click OK again and now if we toggle this layer on and off, we'll see both the shadow and the highlights disappear together.

So there's a second way to merge layers that also gives you more control. So I'm going to select two more layers and once again this time vector and bitmap, so one being the sensor which is this big white and black dish at the front and the circular glow of light. So I'm going to select both of those and this time from the right click menu I'm going to select Merge Layers, and of course you can also do this from the top Layer > Merge Layers. So the Merge Layers dialog box appears and this gives you a few more options than just merging selected layers. So once again we can select the Merge Layer Name, so instead of having it be Sensor which is what would happen by default, you can give it a new name. So in this case I'm going to name it OL for overlay. So whereas before when we were merging two layers together the default merged layer type was bitmap, this time you can actually choose to make it vector. The difference being that all the elements will remain separate such as lines, fields etc. and the vector elements remain vector, so resolution free when scaled whereas with bitmap all the elements will be flattened into a single element and become pixel based. This of course grays out any of the other options as a bitmap canvas size and bitmap pixel density obviously relate to the bitmap layer.

So I'm actually going to keep it as a bitmap layer so that we can go into some of these. So by default the bitmap canvas size is twice that of the canvas size of the project which would be 1720 x 1080 if you divide those values in half. And this is actually really great when you're drawing on a canvas double the size because that means if you zoom out with your camera, you'll be able to see beyond the camera frame without having to scale up the bitmap background which of course would then look pixilated, so the bitmap pixel density actually works in the opposite way. If you double the resolution factor, then if you need to zoom in twice as much your bitmap drawings won't look pixilated, they'll actually look as sharp as they were when you were at 100% of the camera frame.

The next item we have is the Source Layers. So from this list we can actually choose multiple layers to merge. 3D layers however, will not be included in the list. So instead of selecting them from the list by holding down shift you can always just select them here if you wanted to add an extra layer, you just need to click, you don't even need to hold down shift and if you wanted to deselect them, you just click with your mouse and you don't really need to hold down shift either.

Then we have the option of Deleting the Source Layers or we can leave them there so we can have a merged layer of the sensor and the effects layer, but still have their original layers there if we remove Delete Source Layers. And Removing Invisible Layers deletes layers from your multiple selection that may be hidden. So that's why when you decide not to delete source layers it's not even gonna give you the option of deleting other layers that are hidden, you basically keep all your layers source and hidden. So I'm going to click OK. And once again we get the warning message about cropping so I'm going to click OK. So as you can see a new layer has been created called OL for overlay, if I hide the other two source layers and I toggle the new one, you can see that the sensor dish along the glow is hidden. The reason that it looks stronger than the two source layers is because the effects layer has a 74% opacity whereas the new overlay layer has 100% opacity and that's why it looks stronger than the other glow.