Grouping layers

Depending on how you do it, grouping your layers is a great way to temporarily merge layers together — or add them to a Panel Layer, where you can work on them in an independent space. (I explain how Panel Layers work in Chapter 7.)

A benefit of grouping layers, especially if you're working on an older machine, is that it can save on your system resources. When you're working on a file with lots of layers, it can increase in file size and use more RAM on your system. Grouping the layers is a good way to alleviate pressure on your machine, so to speak.

Follow these steps to group your layers together:

1. Ctrl+click (36+cllck on the Mac) the layers you wish to group.

2. Group the selected layers by using one of the following methods:

* Choose Layers' Group Layers.

The Group Layers dialog box appears. Here, you can set the group properties, as shown in Figure 6-8.

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3. Enter the name of the layer group in the Layer Name text box.

4. Select the group's resolution from the Preview Resolution dropdown list.

5. Select whether you want Black and White (2bit), Grayscale (16bit), or Color (32bif) preview expression from the Expression Mode dropdown list.

This setting affects how the group will look, resolution and expression-wise, on the page. All of the individual layers that have been grouped retain all of their original information, including their respective resolutions and expression modes.

6. Select whether you want to merge into a Group Layer or a Panel Layer.

Group layers are good if you plan to have this group as just a read-only reference — or if this is a temporary repository for your layers and you intend to ungroup them later.

7. If you're merging into a Panel Layer, either select the Add option button and type the size into the Margin as Panel Area text box or select the Set Entire Page as Panel Area option button.

Figure 6-8: The Group

Layers dialog box.

When you're done, the selected layers appear as one group or panel with the name you entered.

Unlike layers within a folder, you can't draw on a group layer. If the group is a panel layer, you can access the layers to draw on by double-clicking the panel layer on the Layers palette, by right-clicking (Control+click on the Mac) and choosing Open Panel Layer from the menu, or by selecting Layers-Open Panel Layer from the Main Menu.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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