© 1999 by Tom Anzai. All Rights Reserved.
Note: The article below is an early release of Tom Anzai's joint CorelWORLD '99 presentation with Pete McCormick on October 4, 1999 entitled Mastering Objects and Layers in DRAW and PAINT. The seminar is presented in two stages with Tom discussing using layers in DRAW and Pete demonstrating floating objects in PAINT.
The layering feature of CorelDRAW gives you added flexibility for organizing and editing the objects in your drawings. In its simplest form, and without knowing it, you can place all your objects on the default layer called Layer 1. Try it. Draw a rectangle on the page then look at the Status Bar. It displays "Rectangle on Layer 1". Now, in a more complex drawing, you can divide a drawing into multiple layers, each containing a portion of the drawing's contents. DRAW's layering feature allows you to have multiple layers, each with its own image content. Each layer can be configured to make them visible or invisible, locked, and whether or not they will be printed. You can also use the Master Layer option that allows you to repeat all objects on a designated layer to every page of the drawing. All layer options are saved with the document.
A classic example of using layers occurs when drawing an architectural plan for a building. You could organize the building's various components (floor plan, furniture, plants, etc.) by placing them on separate layers. You could then use the Object Manager docker to view, print, or edit specific layers or combinations of layers. Together, layers act as a hierarchy that helps determine the vertical arrangement of a drawing's components. In this arrangement (the stacking order), objects on the top layer always overlay objects on the layer below.
Figure 1 (shown above) is an example of an architectural drawing comprising over 1000 objects organized in 15 custom layers. (Drawing compliments of Daron Denton of George F. Tibsherany Inc. of Scottsdale, Arizona.)
Now if you're still not sure about the merits of using layers, let's use an email conversation I had with Daron Denton of George F. Tibsherany Inc. who drew the intricate building in Figure 1 to explain further:
Tom: "Daron, I had a look at your incredible DRAW drawing of the building. Wow. I can't believe you did that in DRAW. Now, you and I both know why you used layers, but if you were to explain the concept to users who don't know anything about layers, why do you use layers?"
Daron: "EDITING: The use of layers is the only real productive means to select many related objects in a complex file. This is especially helpful when making color changes when the items to be changed are behind other objects. (but then, who has ever worked on a graphic and had someone request a change - usually at the hardest possible stage of completion? <VBG>). The use of the Object Manager docker is the ideal tool for these global changes."
"PRINTING: The use of layers can be a great production increase in printing. If you have, for example, many files that have the same graphics, with different text layout, separate the text by layers. This will allow you to correct the background of all layouts by fixing only one. There are many other productive uses for layers in printing. Without the use of layers, you are left with no means of controlling the visibility of your objects. You will have to print everything in the file, or nothing at all."
"VIEWING: In a file that would contain three of these elevations, a simple Window refresh can take too long, even with a P3 550. Layers that contain complex objects such as lenses, image fills, etc. can be turned off while editing other objects."
Even if you don't intend to create drawings as intricate as Daron's, this presentation will show you that you can benefit from using layers for even simple drawings. Try the step-by-step exercises explained in this presentation and you'll see that working with layers is not at all complicated.
Please note: The exercises are designed to be simplistic and progressive in nature. You will be required to start at the first exercise then progressively learn by working with a few layer concepts at a time by completing successive exercises.
The Object Manager docker allows you to access the layer-related controls and options such as:
To activate Object Manager docker:
Do one of the following:
You will see the following layers listed in the Object Manager docker shown at right:
Master Page Guides: Layer containing the guidelines. Using the docker, you can turn them off temporarily and you can print them for proofing purposes.
Master Page Desktop: Layer containing any object that is placed off the printable page. All pages will display these objects, therefore, its advantage is for copying purposes without having to use the clipboard (Cut & Paste and Copy & Paste). If the objects are dragged onto the printable page, they're placed on the nearest layer that is unlocked and visible.
Layer 1: Default drawing layer. All objects that you draw will be placed initially on this layer.
Master Page Grid: Layer containing the drawing grid. Using the docker you can turn them off temporarily, and you can print them for proofing purposes.
To edit the layer options such as making the layer visible, printable, or editable you must activate the buttons in the Object Manager docker. If the button appears pressed, that feature is on; otherwise it is off.
Figure 3 (at right) "Visible", "Printable", "Editable" layer icons as displayed in the Object Manager docker.
To edit a layer:
The Object Manager docker appears.
To activate a layer:
It's important to make sure one of the layers is set as the active layer. The active layer name is displayed in a red color in the Object Manager docker. To select another layer to be the active layer, click on it. It will display in red.
Figure 4 (fig04.tif) The importance of the active layer is that it's displayed in red, in this case Layer 1.
The Object Manager docker appears.
Setting up a master layer provides a way to allow objects on this layer to display on all pages of your document. This feature is effective for creating business presentations or drawings that require repetitive objects on multiple pages. For example, you may want a custom background with your business logo to appear on all pages.
You can add as many Master layers as you wish. You can hide the Master layer from selected pages by using the Apply layer changes to the current page only.
To create a new layer:
To create a master layer:
In the Object Manager docker, do one of the following:
To hide the master layer on selected pages:
If you want to hide certain objects that you have placed on the master layer for the current page:
This exercise will show you how to create a Master layer to automatically place objects on all pages. Figure 5 (above) shows the finished look of this exercise.
At times, you may need to move or copy objects to another available layer listed in the Object Manager docker. The objects you move or copy will take on the attributes defined in the new layer.
Another feature is to lock a layer to prevent any objects on that layer from being altered or even selected. If you need to alter any objects on a locked layer, you must first unlock the layer, then make the changes. When finished, lock the layer again.
To move or copy objects between layers:
A black arrow appears.
To lock layers:
In the Object Manager docker, click on the desired layer's Editable button to turn off and on.
Figure 6 (shown at right): In DRAW 9, click the Layer Manager View button in order to activate the Move To and Copy To commands in the flyout menu.
To change the order of objects on the same layer, you use the Order commands in the Arrange menu such as To Front, To Back, and so on. However, the order of the layers still determines the absolute arrangement of all objects in your drawing. The order in which the layers are listed in the Object Manager is the order that appears in the drawing. To change their order in the drawing, you must change their order listed in the docker.
To reorder layers:
In the Object Manager, do one of the following:
Hold on! The rectangle does a vanishing act and seems to be hiding behind the yellow background. What's going on?! Well, the answer is displayed in the docker. Notice that Layer 1 is listed below the Master Repeat layer.
Figure 7 (at right): Drag Layer 1 above Master Repeat to reorder the layers.
Figure 8 (shown above): Draw a total of six smaller rectangles inside the larger rectangle.
Figure 9 (shown above): Place small, red circles to represent office furniture within each blue rectangle.
In a complex architectural drawing you could continue to add a layer for plants, a layer for electrical components, and so on. In our case, we'll keep it simple and quickly show you the benefits of using layers.
To assess whether you understand the concept of layers, try the following Self-Check Questionnaire. These types of review questions are at the end of each section in our Anzai! Inc. step-by-step training manuals (www.anzai.com) in order to make sure you understand the section's concepts. Good luck!
Figure 10: What are these icons in the docker?
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Last Updated July 19, 1999.
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