My Experience on Using Layers in ibisPaint

ibisPaint is one of Android smartphones and tablets’ most popular drawing applications. Many of my artists’ friends use ibisPaint when drawing on their smartphones.

Layers are essential in IbisPaint, making drawing and painting digital art in ibisPaint easier.

In this article, I will explain how to use layers in ibisPaint

Note that I am writing this article with the ibisPaint x (Free version) on my iPad Pro. But this guide applies to the Windows, MacOS, Android OS, and iOS versions of ibis Paint (Premium) and ibisPaint X (Free).

What are Layers in ibisPaint?

Layers are common in all drawing applications, and ibisPaint is no exception. Like in Photoshop, Procreate, Clip Studio Paint, and other software, layers are important for digital art creation.

Layers in ibisPaint can separate different aspects of your artwork, such as sketching, line drawing, coloring, and creating the background. This separation is useful, ensuring that each part of your artwork remains distinct and clear.

Why You Should Use Layers

You should always draw various elements like hair, skin, and clothes on separate layers in ibisPaint

This approach allows for more control and precision, making it easier to manage complex drawings and adjust them without affecting other parts of your artwork.

But don’t use layers too much since they consume your system RAM and cause lags when you’re drawing in ibisPaint. Ensure you understand the system requirements for ibisPaint.

Where is the Layer Window in ibisPaint?

Layer window

The Layer window, also known as the layer tool, organizes your layers in ibisPaint. You can find the Layer window at the bottom or side of the app, indicated by a triple square icon.

To open it, click on the triple square icon.

You will see a list of currently available layers in the Layer window. Additionally, this window provides various shortcut tools to modify the layers.

When creating a new document in ibisPaint, you will initially have two layers: the background layer and the empty layer with transparent background designated for drawing. 

Creating a New Layer ibisPaint

Add a layer

To create a new layer in ibisPaint, click the plus icon on the window’s left part. The newly created layer will have a transparent background and will be placed above the current layer.

ibisPaint allows you to add a new layer from an image. Click the camera icon to use images from your gallery (if you use Android, iPhone, and iPad), Explorer (Windows OS), or Finder (MacOS).

You can also add canvas to a layer. This means everything in Canvas (or your document) will be combined into a new layer.

To do so, click the double square icon and select Add Layer from the Canvas button.

Selecting a Layer

To select a layer, simply open the layer window and tap a layer. It will switch the currently used layer. 

Tapping it two times will automatically close the window.

Rearrange the order of the layers

Rearrange the order of the layers

You can reorder layers by first selecting the layer and then dragging the triple line icon up and down on the right side of the layer row.

Deleting a Layer 

Delete a layer

To delete a layer, first tap the layer to select it. Then click the trash icon at the right of the layer window. This will delete the layer permanently. 

If you accidentally delete it, you can undo the delete by clicking the undo tool.

Create a Layer Folder

Layer folder

You can group multiple layers with a layer folder. To create a folder, open the layer window, tap the double square icon and tap the Add folder button

After creating the folder, a folder icon will appear at the left of the layer row. Move other layers below the folder layer to group them. 

Merge Layers

Merge Layer Down

You can merge two layers into a single layer. To merge layers, tap the layer window, first select the top layer by tapping it, then tap the Merge Layer Down. It will merge the top layer to the bottom layer.

What You Can Do to Layers in ibisPaint

There are various ways to work with layers in ibisPaint. Here is a list of actions you can perform on layers in the app

Rename a Layer

Rename Layer

To rename a layer, open the layer window in ibisPaint. Tap the triple dot icon and choose the “Rename layer” option.

A layer name window will appear. Type the layer’s name and click OK to save the change.

Duplicating a Layer

Duplicate layer

To duplicate a layer, tap the double square icon, then select the Duplicate layer option. This will create a copy of the selected layer.

Change Layer Background

To change the layer background in ibisPaint, adjust the background setting in the layer window. There are four background options available:

On the layer window, you can find four background options available:

Background option for layer
  1. Blank White: Selecting this option will set your background to white. Not that the background color will be #ffff (White), not transparent.
  2. Transparent white background: This makes the background transparent white, which is important for a PNG image.
  3. Transparent black background: Same as above, but black.
  4. Custom Background: You can choose from various custom backgrounds. The only available option for free users is the Canvas background, which gives a gray, canvas-like appearance.

Adjusting Layer Opacity

You can adjust the opacity of a layer of ibisPaint. I usually reduced the opacity to make it easier to create line art in one stroke.

To do this, open the layer window and tap a layer. Move the opacity slider at the bottom of the window from 100% to the desired value. For example, I set it to 46%. 

An opacity of 30-50% for the sketch layer is enough, based on my experience.

Make Layer not Visible

To temporarily hide a layer in ibisPaint, thereby making any brush strokes, masks, effects, shapes, and text on it invisible, follow these steps:

First, open the layer window and tap the layer you wish to hide. Then tap on the eye icon next to the layer. This will make the eye icon white, indicating that the layer is temporarily invisible.

To unhide, tap the eye icon once again.

This feature helps check the precision of your lineart and sketches by isolating them from other layers. 

Flip the Layer

Flip Layer

You can flip a layer from a horizontal and vertical point of view to the canvas.

On the layer window at the right, tap the flip icon. Choose between the horizontal flip layer and the vertical flip layer option.

Not to be confused with flip canvas, which is located on the left side of the layer window.

Save a Layer as a PNG

Save layer as PNG

You can save one layer as a PNG file in ibisPaint. To do so, first tap the layer you want to save as an image file, tap the triple dot icon and tap the Save Layer as Transparent PNG menu.

Tapping it will show the Image saved notification. You can find the saved image on the gallery (iOS, iPad OS, Android OS) or in the Image Folder (Windows and MacOS)

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Kenny HD
Hi, I’m Kenny. I’m a digital artist who began learning art at the age of 21. I enjoy drawing cartoons and fan art.

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