drawing Drawing Tutorial

JavaDraw: Guide To Using Layers

An indepth look at using layers in JavaDraw/ChibiPaint.

Tutorial category: drawing  
Tutorial type:
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Tools used: JavaDraw/ChibiPaint




Step 1


Layers are like transparent sheets of acetate stacked on top of each other. They are extremely useful, as you can draw and edit objects on one layer without affecting objects on another layer. Where there is nothing on a layer, you can see through it to the layers below.

When you open a new document, you start off with 1 layer entitled "Layer 1". Remember that you can use as many or as few layers as you wish.


Step 2


To add a new layer click the + symbol at the bottom of the Layer window as shown. A new layer will be created above the layer you had selected. The selected layer is shaded grey.

To delete a layer which is not required, select the layer you wish to delete and click the - symbol at the bottom of the Layer window.

You can re-arrange your layers by clicking and dragging them up and down the list.

The background for your picture Should always be at the bottom of the list, because it is behind everything else in the picture. I usually create a new layer for each element in the picture.



Step 3


It can be confusing when using many layers, so it is good practice to name them as you go along. To do this, double click on the layer's title and type in a new name (as shown).

(It can be difficult to double-click using a pen - if you are having trouble, use a mouse for this).


Step 4


To hide/unhide a layer, click the circle next to the relevant layer (as shown).


Step 5


To create a duplicate of an existing layer, select the layer you wish to copy, go to the menu at the top of the screen and select Layer, Duplicate. This creates an exact copy of the selected layer (as shown).

If you feel like you have too many layers you can merge them together. Go to the menu at the top of the screen and select Layer, Merge Down. This will merge the selected layer with the one below.

If you select Merge All Layers, it will flatten all the layers leaving you with just 1. Think wisely before doing this though!



Step 6


Use the Opacity slider (as shown) to select the desired transparency for the selected layer. This allows the image on the layers below to show through.


Step 7


If this is checked, nothing that you do to a transparent part of the layer will have any effect.

Very useful for changing the colour of an object or shading/adding highlights to an object.


Step 8


If checked, this affects the following tools: Watercolor, Smudge and Blender. When it's activated the colors from all layers are used in the operation of the tool. For example you can use it on a layer to blend with what's below it. When layers can get in the way of what you want to do or when working with semitransparent layers or blending modes other than normal this can be a problem and it's best to leave it unchecked.


Step 9


There are various blending modes which can be applied to your layers. They can be selected from the drop down menu (as shown).

The available blending modes are: Multiply, Add, Screen, Lighten, Darken, Subtract, Dodge, Burn, Overlay, Hard Light, Soft Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light.

Experiment with these to create different effects.


Step 10


I think that just about covers all the layer functions on JavaDraw/ChibiPaint.

If you do not wish to use the layers, you can click the little x at the top right of the layer window to hide it. If you want to view it again, go to the menu at the top and select View, Pallettes, Show Layers.

I hope you have found it helpful - drop me a message to let me know if you have! :D

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