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Lesson 2. Ballet Special Bumper > Duplicating and renaming layers

Duplicating and renaming layers

In this section, you will create separate solids for the letters in the word ballet. The letters need to be individual layers because you will be animating each letter separately. To create each letter, you start with one solid layer, and then duplicate the layer, edit the text, and rename the layer. The grid and the Align & Distribute palette will help you to align the layers.

  1. Set the current-time marker to 2:00.

    Since you will be concentrating on the ballet letter layers, it will be helpful to hide and lock the other layers in the Time Layout window temporarily.

  2. To hide and lock the other layers in the Time Layout window, click the Shy switch and Lock switch (shown in the illustration below) for the At The, Afternoon, Sunday, and Sugar.mov layers. Then click the Hide Shy Layers button or choose Hide Shy Layers from the Time Layout window menu.

    Figure . A. Lock switches B. Shy switches C. Click to hide shy layers D. Time Layout window menu

    All the shy layers disappear from the Time Layout window but remain visible in the Composition window.

  3. Choose Layer > New Solid, type B for the name, set the size to 60 × 60 pixels, leave the default color as gray, and then click OK.


    Figure .


  4. Choose Effect > Text > Basic Text, type b (lowercase) in the text entry box, select the Center Alignment button, choose a font such as Adobe Garamond or a similar font, set the style to italic, and then click OK.

  5. In the Effect Controls window use the eyedropper to sample the color from any of the other pieces of text, and then set the font size to 60 points. Close the Effect Controls window.

  6. In the Time Layout window, set the Quality to Best.

    To help you initially position and align the letter layers, you'll display a grid in the Composition window. The default proportional grid is the well suited to this purpose because it is fairly coarse.

  7. Display the proportional grid: Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the safe-zones icon, or press Alt+apostrophe (Windows) or Option+apostrophe (Mac OS).

Note

Note: You can also display a standard grid by choosing Show Grid from the View menu or by holding down Ctrl/Command and clicking the safe-zones icon, or by using Ctrl+apostrophe (Windows) or Command+apostrophe (Mac OS). It is possible to adjust the spacing of the grids by choosing File > Preferences > Grids & Guides.


  1. Position the letter b above the zlowest horizontal line and to the right of the leftmost vertical line.

    Figure . Safe-zones icon

Duplicating the layer

  1. With the B layer selected in the Time Layout window, choose Edit > Duplicate. A duplicate layer appears on top of the first layer in both the Composition and Time Layout windows.

Note

Note: When changing the name of a layer on a Mac OS system, always use the Return key, not the Enter key on the numeric keypad. Pressing Enter on a Mac OS system opens a layer window for the selected layer.


  1. To rename the B layer, click the duplicated layer in the Time Layout window to activate the window, and then press Enter or Return. Type A for the name, and press Enter or Return again to apply the new name.

    To rename any layer or footage item, you must always first press Enter or Return. You can also change the source name of a solid by choosing Layer > Solid Settings and typing a new name in the Solid Settings dialog box. Changing the name in this dialog box, however, changes only the source name, and not the layer name.

  2. To edit the text, click the triangle for the A layer to expand the outline, click the triangle next to Effects to display Basic Text, and then click Options next to the Basic Text effect. The Type dialog box appears.

  3. Replace the b in the text entry box with a lowercase a, and then click OK.

  4. In the Composition window drag the new A layer to the right of the second vertical grid line, positioning it as shown in the illustration below. (After you click the layer, hold down the Shift key as you drag to constrain direction to horizontal movement.)


    Figure .


  5. Click the triangle next to the A layer to collapse its outline.

  6. With the A layer selected, choose Edit > Duplicate, or press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS), and then select the new layer in the Time Layout window. Press Enter or Return, type L for the name, and press Enter or Return again to apply the new name.

    When you duplicate a layer with a modified name in the Time Layout window, an asterisk appears next to the name of the duplicated layer.

  7. Click the triangles for the L layer to expand the outline, and then click the Options button next to the Basic Text effect. Replace the ain the text entry box with a lowercase l, and then click OK.

  8. With the new L layer still selected, drag it to the right of the third vertical grid line in the Composition window, constraining movement using the Shift key as before. Collapse the layer outline in the Time layout window.

  9. With the L layer selected, choose Edit > Duplicate, and then position the layer. (You can delete the asterisk in the name if you'd like.)

  10. With the second L layer selected, repeat steps 7 through 9 to create an E and a T layer.


    Figure .


Distributing layers

Although in some cases you may want to position layers manually as you just did with the letter layers, there is an easier way to accurately distribute layers. Here, you'll use the Align & Distribute Plug-in palette to evenly space the letter layers between the b and the t.

  1. Choose Window > Plug-in Palettes > Align & Distribute to open the Align & Distribute palette.

  2. Select all of the letter layers in the Time Layout window by choosing Edit > Select All or by pressing Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command+A (Mac OS).

  3. Choose the Distribute option that is second from the right ( ) in the Align & Distribute palette. This option distributes the selected layers evenly between the two most extreme layers (furthest left and furthest right) based upon the layers' center points.


    Figure .


  4. To align the baselines of the letters, choose the right icon in the top row ( ) in the Align & Distribute palette.

  5. Close the Align & Distribute Plug-in Palette.

Viewing layers

You can view layers two ways in the Time Layout window: by layer name or by source name.

  1. Click the Layer Name heading above the stack of layers in the Time Layout window.

    The heading changes to Source Name and the Source Names appear. In this case, all the solid layers reflect that the original solid is named B.


    Figure .


  2. Click the Source Name heading above the stack of layers in the Time Layout window to view the layer names.

If the Source Name and Layer Name are the same, the original source file's name appears inside brackets under the Layer name heading.

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