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More or less layers?

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Eclipse, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Eclipse

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    And no, I'm not talking about ogres or onions or parfait, before anyone asks.

    So, for anyone who does digital art, you will know that your work is not just a single picture, but a multitude of layers stacked on top of one another with varying effect, which combine together to make the final result.

    I'm including all types of digital art in this discussion, so for those digital artists out there, when you're making your works, do you tend to err on the side of more layers, or do you try to adopt an approach that uses less? Why do you use that over the other? Would you ever consider switching that for a bit to see how it goes? Or have you done that before?

    Share your stories as well. Perhaps you ran into something where a layer created something you felt was necessary, or perhaps you did something on accident and it ended up better than you thought.

    ::::

    I'll start.

    As far as the 'accident' thing, that's happened more times than I care to count; I like to adopt a trial-and-error process with my signatures and layers, seeing what works and what doesn't. Every so often I get a "wow, that looks really good, I didn't expect that, I should roll with that and see how it goes".

    Regarding the amount of layers, I try to use less if I can help it. Adding more layers tends to make the final work more complicated, and as I've learned, more layers (or more complicated interactions) doesn't necessarily mean 'better'. With the particular style I use, most signatures I make nowadays tend to use 16 layers, though I've made some truly beautiful things with only half as many sometimes.

    Obviously it does vary on a case-by-case basis, though I don't want to inundate pictures with a variety of layers or effects, for risk of diminishing the quality of the render or of the overall picture.
     
  2. awney

    awney i'm lame

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    I use 2-3 layers since my art is pretty simple and lacks shading/backgrounds
     
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  3. Vigilance

    Vigilance Chosen One

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    I clicked on this thread in hopes of seeing that picture you dropped in Discord yesterday.

    I use a lot of layers. I tend to use a layer for each step I need to take and some more. I find it's a relatively easy way to stay organized and something doesn't look good, I can fiddle around with it on that layer only. At the end, I make a 'New Layer from Visible' (on GIMP) and then make the final touch up and I'll save my work.
     
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  4. Negative Zero

    Negative Zero The most positive negative number you know!

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    I tend to use a lot of layers, at least as far as my rather simple approach to visual art is concerned.

    Last weekend I made myself a new userbar that I think I'm going to start using here soon. It's very simple: colored bar, non-moving sprite on the left, text on the right. That could be three layers easy and still be organized. Not including the 14 layers (mostly as guides and easy customization otions) that came with the template, I have another 8 layers just of my own. Different sprites, color backgrounds, texts all saved even though I'll probably never utilize those layers. Now, if I were to do more customization in it, like blurs and other effects? I would easily have double or triple the number of layers. Instead of just applying a new effect, I make a copy layer and apply effects to that. If I want different effects, I make a new layer of each one. If I want more effects upon those? I repeat the process. It can get unruly with long-term projects that I update every few months (like my old non auro sed ferro signature), but I tend to label my layers well, so I usually have a grip on it.
     
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  5. luxuryluxray

    luxuryluxray make a wish!

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    Haha...I'm guilty of using a lot of layers. I think the most I've used for one drawing is around 60 :sweat: If I can, I'll definitely go with as few layers as possible, but I tend to just create a new layer for everything because it makes it so much easier if I want to edit certain bits.

    What I usually end up with is around 30 layers. For example the Jirachi in my sig was 32 when I was finished. A lot of those aren't visible in the final piece, but I leave them there anyway.
     
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  6. Wolfey

    Wolfey Red Gem Wink

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    I tend to use as many as the subject at hand requires. For my colored sketches, I only need two. For flat colors, three.

    It tends to jump quite a bit when I do full pieces with shading/lighting/glows/backgrounds/ect. My most recent art was around 17 layers, 6 dedicated only to lighting and glow effects! It would probably be less but Clip Studio has so many layer effects and such ;w;
     
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  7. Eclipse

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    Oh, I didn't know you wanted to see that.
    Very well, I shall oblige:

    [​IMG]

    (As a note, 29 is definitely way above normal for me - it's nearly twice my usual average.)
     
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  8. Owly

    Owly This Is Owlyween

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    I clicked on this expecting to see something about coats because I just assumed it was in the Lounge. Oh well.

    I'm a novice digital artist but I find myself leaning towards less layers. One for lineart, and one for each color I use; for example, for a Dratini I drew (that you can look at on Discord if you really want to, though I dislike it), it was six layers, though I ended up not using one. I mostly use layers because it helps even out how I color; all of my colors are always below the lineart layer, for example, because it saves me a lot of time evening out lines. I've only begun toying with other layer settings (by "begin toying," I mean I used opacity to make the color look better).
     
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  9. dangokura

    dangokura what is happening ;w;

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    i use quite a lot of layers?? usually about 30 - 40 if it’s something i’m serious about, but i use, uh, two if it’s just for laughs :P
    and maaan the layer accidents sucked when i was new to digital art!!! everything turned black when i tried to use the layers and i couldn’t understand ahahah !!!
    my cousin uses, like, 140 layers or something for her art. it’s,,, truly amazing.
     
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  10. Gwoomy

    Gwoomy french goo

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    I use many layers. It’s easier to edit when each part is on its own layer. Plus I keep the fails and sketches, in case I wanna go back to them later, and even if I don’t, I keep them invisible at the end. I like the idea that I’m not deleting something that could be useful later; you never know!

    Talking about that, a long time ago, when I wasn’t drawing digitally (no tablet) and wasn’t aware of the effects you could add with layers, I just merged all the layers at the end. (I didn’t save it in "layer format" – .psg e.g. – but it amounts to the same thing.)
    I remember that because one time after this period, I needed to edit something... And couldn’t because of that.
     
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  11. Sheep

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    I usually end up with an 'inbetween' number of layers; I'd guess around 15-25 on average per image, which is not that bad. I'd start off with the sketch layer, which for me are usually not that messy, then clean it up a bit to turn it into an outline...since outlining is very tedious and time consuming for me. I'd rather spend that time coloring! Then come the remaining layers for each different color and shade/highlight. I notice that I don't name my layers until I have at least 10 of them, since by then it becomes a bit annoying to disable visibility to see which layer is which lol.

    Way back when as a kid I used to use the "multiply" layer setting over my base color layers to shade pictures. Ahh good times.
     
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  12. Nova Ozuka

    Nova Ozuka Black Belt

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    When I make my sprite comic pages, I have a layer for each character on the page, another for their text bubbles, and one more for their actual text. I also use a layer for the frame, a layer for the background, and another for the terrain. And then I add layers for certain effects, like a night-time filter. Because of this, I usually use at least 5-9 layers. My layer count varies greatly when I make anything else, like tracing something I drew by hand.
     
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  13. Fizzysoda

    Fizzysoda Valor Lake Cryptid

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    I tend to use a lot of layers since it leaves more room to fix mistakes. However, it can be a problem if I forget to label and group them because then I will have like 20 unnamed layers that I have to check one by one.
    -side eyes c4d/fractal layers-
     
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  14. SkittleBox

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    It really depends on what I'm doing: for colored sketches, I only use two or three layers because all I need is the lineart and color (optional glowy stars in the eyes), but some of my pieces have been upwards of twenty layers. Most of my layers have some layer effect going on so I can't really merge them. Usually, my full pieces are around ten to fifteen layers?

    For graphic edits, it's always less than ten. Get background, slap render on, put overlay on, other stuff. I don't go crazy since graphic editing isn't my niche <.<
     
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  15. Morgaine

    Morgaine Goddess of Shinies

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    I prefer to use less layers if I can, but sometimes you need to have more to make sure that everything fits exactly as you want it.
     
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  16. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    Generally the layers I use tend to be for a background color, the base color of the thing I'm drawing, the shading, the highlights, line art, and textures. Then maybe another 1-3 layers for references, but those don't really count. If I'm doing a fully detailed background, there tend to be more than that and while I'm working, before collapsing all of the layers, I tend to use a lot if I'm shading something complex, like hands. Then if there are any other effects, like luminosity, that usually requires its own layer too. So I'd say between 5 and 15 total depending on the complexity of what I'm drawing, but up to/over 300 total throughout the entire drawing process, again depending on the complexity.

    I need to get into the habit of grouping layers x_x
     
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  17. Mandriel

    Mandriel Valor Knight

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    I usually use 3-4 layers when I draw on the computer, so not too many. I almost always accidentally start drawing/colouring on the wrong one, which is always a pain >.<
     
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  18. Wolf Expert

    Wolf Expert Master of Breaking Things

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    That's the worst. I do that all the time and sometimes have to redo a large section of the layer I'm working on.
     
  19. Mandriel

    Mandriel Valor Knight

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    You never catch on until it's too late...
     
  20. Eclipse

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    I've had that happen before a few times! It's extremely bothersome, and because of that, I got in the habit of always starting a new layer when I drew anything new, even if it was totally redundant and could go on a previous layer anyway.
    I've also never combined any layers together either, but that would be neither here nor there...
     
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