You can work with a large number of different layers when working on art in Procreate- sometimes as many as over 100.
Once you have so many layers it can be a major inconvenience trying to keep track of them all.
But there are several tips you can bear in mind when working with many layers, all of which will help you to keep track of your artwork.
The following article will break down how to select and move a group of layers at the same time.
Selecting Multiple Layers
Knowing how to select more than one layer on Procreate can save you loads of time in the long run.
First head to the Layers panel, which you’ll find on the right of the toolbar at the top of the interface, and on each of the layers that you want to select, swipe right.
If you want to do anything with your layers, you’ll be navigating to the Layers tab.
Once you’ve swiped on the individual layers, it will highlight those layers in blue, and the primary layer should be a brighter shade of blue.
If you want to remove one of the layers from the selection, simply swipe right on that layer once more. To change which layer is the primary layer, you’ll need to tap on one of the layers.
This will deselect every layer so you can choose which one you’d rather be the primary layer.
It’s worth noting that you might need to increase the opacity of certain layers so you can make them out.
Only select the layers that you’re going to be working with- if you select too many it might end up making things even more confusing.
Before you start to move the layers you’ve selected, it’s usually best to check that all the right layers have been selected, otherwise you might end up moving layers that you didn’t want to move, and perhaps not realizing your mistake until much later.
Moving Multiple Layers
When you’ve selected every layer you wanted to select, you’ll now be able to move them all at the same time, without needing to move each layer individually.
All you need to do to move your selected layers is hold one finger on one of these layers (it doesn’t matter if it’s the primary layer or not), and each of the layers you’ve selected will form into the same clump.
When your layers form a clump, it’ll look as if they’ve popped out of the Layers tab. With the finger, you’ve been holding on to the layers, move the selected layers to where you want them to go.
Once they’re in the right place, remove your finger from the screen and they will remain there.
Something else you can do once you’ve selected multiple layers is group the layers. On the top right-hand side of the Layers panel, you’ll see an option labeled ‘Group’.
It’s right next to ‘Delete’, so make sure you don’t accidentally delete them- although, if you do, you can always just undo it by double-tapping your canvas.
Hitting Group will form your layers into a group, separate from all the other layers in the project.
You can change the name of this group by double-tapping on the name, hitting ‘Rename’, and then typing in your own, but Procreate will automatically name it ‘New group’ when you create it.
Move Selected Layers To A Different Canvas
You can also move selected layers into a different canvas, or use them to make an entirely new canvas.
To create a new canvas for your layers, tap and hold your selected layers to pick them up, and with your other finger, hit Gallery.
This will drop your layers into the Procreate Gallery, creating a brand new canvas for each of the layers you were holding when you tapped Gallery.
The dimensions for these new canvases will match the dimensions that your original canvas had.
To add selected layers to a canvas you’d previously created, you’ll first need to tap and hold your desired layers, send them to the Gallery with the corresponding button, and then, within the Gallery, tap and hold the layers once more.
While you’re holding your selected layers, tap on the existing canvas you want to send the layers.
This will open the canvas, and once it’s fully loaded, head to Layers, while still holding your selected layers. Drop the layers into the Layers tab and your canvas will now be able to use those layers.
It’s worth noting that when you move selected layers to another canvas in this way, they will act as images, meaning you won’t be able to keep layer-specific data such as Masks, Modes, and Blend.
Locking, Duplicating And Deleting Layers
As well as being able to delete specific layers (or groups of layers), you can also lock layers, as well as duplicate them.
Swiping left on an individual layer or a group of layers will bring up a few different options, each of which you’re likely to use at least somewhat regularly, so it’s good to know how quickly you can access them.
Locking layers will mean you won’t be able to accidentally edit layers that you didn’t intend to edit. This is one of the three options that will come up when you swipe left on a layer or a group of layers.
Tapping on the ‘lock’ icon will make a padlock symbol appear next to the name of the layer (or name of the group).
All you need to do to unlock the layer is swipe left on it and then tap the Unlock option. Once you’ve unlocked a layer or a group of layers, you’ll be able to edit them freely.
Another of the three options that will come up when you swipe left on a layer is the Duplicate option.
Duplicating layers will maintain all of the Masks and Blend Modes you had set on the original layers. This is a good way to test out different techniques without changing your original layers.
If you’re at the maximum amount of layers in your document but you want to make duplicates, you’ll either have to delete some layers (if there’s any that you’d feel comfortable deleting) or merge certain layers to make space for duplicate layers.
The third of the options that will come up when you swipe left is the Delete option. When you delete a layer, it will be completely removed from the document.
You can undo a Delete, so don’t fret if you delete a layer accidentally, but if you don’t have any undos left or you leave the application (or even if you background the application), the layer or group that you deleted will be gone.
So, it’s best to think of the Delete button as permanent, to prevent any disasters.
With the vast number of different layers Procreate allows you to work with on any given piece of artwork, it can be easy to go overboard and suddenly realize you have far too many layers that you can realistically handle.
Knowing how to select multiple layers at once will save you a ton of time, as will knowing how to group these layers, move them, bring them into another existing canvas, move them into a new canvas, lock them, duplicate them, and delete them.
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