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Adobe Illustrator CS4 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques by David Karlins

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#52 Organizing Projects into Layers

The Layers panel is used to create new layers, to move objects between layers, or to apply attributes (like transparency) to a layer. To view the Layers panel, choose Window > Layers or press the F7 function key. Icons on the bottom of the Layers panel tell you how many layers you have in your document and allow you to:

Make/Release Clipping Mask: Used when one layer acts as a clipping mask to reveal only part of an underlying layer.

Create New Sublayer: Defines a layer within the selected layer.

Create New Layer: Creates a layer at the same level as the selected layer. So, for instance, if you click this icon with a sublayer selected, you create a new sublayer (not a sublayer of the sublayer). ...

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