Getting Started > Adding and Managing Layers

How to Add and Manage Layers

Each panel in your storyboard can be composed of one or several drawing layers. Those layers are composed together to make the drawing in each panel.

Layer Types

Storyboard Pro supports four types of layers: Vector drawing layers, bitmap drawing layers, 3D layers and groups.

  • Vector Layers: Vector drawings are made of points and curves that compose the contours of the shapes of the artwork, along with the colour or textures these shapes are filled with. Hence, the artwork in vector layers can be scaled up and zoomed in without losing quality, unless they contain a texture.
  • When drawing on a vector layer, each drawing stroke and pencil line is a separate object which can be manipulated individually. You can select single drawing strokes, then move them around and transform them, even if drawing strokes were applied over them. Additionally, because drawing strokes are made of points and curves, it is possible to edit their shape, making it easy to make corrections and changes to your artwork.

  • Bitmap Layers: Bitmap drawings are composed of a grid of pixels, which are small points that each have a single solid colour. Bitmap drawing tools allow you to lay on brush strokes onto a single flat canvas, and to tweak your artwork by the pixel if needed.
  • When you draw on a bitmap layer, each stroke is composited into the canvas, so it remains a single drawing that can only be painted or erased upon, but which does not allow you to tweak individual parts of it.

    Bitmap artwork can only be scaled up or zoomed in on as much as their pixel density allows without losing picture quality. By default, bitmap artwork has a pixel density of 100%, which is only enough to display the artwork without zooming in on it or scaling it up, otherwise Storyboard Pro must generate new pixels within the artwork, which is liable to make it look blurry or pixelated.

    Hence, you might want to set the required pixel density for your bitmap artwork, based on whether you'll need to zoom on it or scale it up, before you start drawing on a bitmap layer—see Setting the Resolution of Bitmap Layers.

  • 3D Layers: When you import a 3D model into your library, adding it to a panel will store the model into a 3D layer. You can then manipulate and animate the 3D model, just like you can with a drawing layer.
  • Group: A group can contain several layers of any type. Just like you can transform and animate a layer, you can also transform and animate a group. Transformations and animations applied to a group will affect every layer inside the group simultaneously—see Grouping Layers.

The go-to way of selecting and managing layers in a panel is to use the Layer panel, which is, by default, in the right section of the Stage and Camera views.

However, it is also possible to add the Layers view to your workspace, which works the same way. You can then hide the Layer panel by clicking on its Collapse button in its top-left corner, leaving more space to work in the Stage and Camera views.

NOTE: The Layers view also has extra functionalities. You can decide whether the layer is included in certain types of export, and you can configure the layer to follow the camera movements or, for 3D scenes, to make it follow the camera's angle—see Enabling and Disabling Layers for Exportand Aligning 2D Layers with a 3D Camera

You can also manage layers using the Thumbnails view. If the size of the Thumbnails view is big enough, each panel in it will have a vertical list of layers on its right edge, which allows you to scroll through and select layers. Left of the Thumbnails view, under the Tools toolbar, is a Layer toolbar, which allows you to add and remove layers to the selected panel.

Adding Layers

By default, a panel contains a background (BG) and a drawing layer (A), but you can add as many layers as you need to each panel in your project.

NOTE: When adding a layer, you must decide if you need to add a vector layer or a bitmap layer. In most use cases, vector layers are preferable. For more information on layer types and how to choose the right type of layer to add, see About Layer Types.

Deleting Layers

You can delete layers that you do not need to avoid cluttering the layer list.

Grouping Layers

You can group your layers together to make them easier to manager, or if you want to transform and animate several layers together.

Showing and Hiding Layers

When working with many layers, you can temporarily hide certain layers to avoid cluttering the stage.

You can also hide a group. When a group is hidden, all of the layers it contains appear hidden, but their individual visibility state is preserved. Therefore, if you hide only some layers inside a group, hide the group itself, then unhide the group, the layers that were individually hidden will remain hidden and the ones that were visible will be visible again.

Locking and Unlocking Layers

You can lock a selected layer to protect any objects on it from being changed. Once locked, you can unlock the layer to make changes to any objects on it.