Doodly supports the ability to move individual assets in a scene. You can flip them around, overlap with other assets, and stack them on your scene. The stacked assets in your scenes are what we called layers. These assets are your texts and images which can either be an SVG, JPEG, PNG, or GIF files.

Layering made stacking of assets possible. At the same time, it lets you play them simultaneously. It is a helpful Doodly feature because it makes editing of Doodly videos more flexible. It gives users the opportunity to work on each asset one at a time without affecting other elements in your scene.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a closer look at Doodly’s layers. We will also give you some bonus video effects that you can use for your videos.

The Layers Panel

When you build a scene in Doodly, each item you add becomes its own layer. To control your drawing order, one must know how the layers work. Knowing how it works helps you create interesting layouts. And to further understand the layers, we created a sample video:

The sample scene above consists of multiple layers. The background layer is the mountain and sky, and then we have birds, a tree, clouds and you will also see a little girl. We also have a poem that we got from a public domain, poems.org.

When we created this scene, we added the background first, the birds next, then the tree, the clouds, and so on. In many cases, the way you build your scene is going to be just fine as it is. Whatever you first added is drawn first, the 2nd asset added appears next, and so on.

Note that we didn’t make any adjustments in our sample video so the output is not final yet. Meaning, we didn’t touch any other setting and simply just dropped the assets to show you how the layers come in.

The arrangement of layers can be found in the layers panel. The layers panel is located on the right side of your scene.

As we can see, each asset appears in the same order they were added in the scene and is also the same order we see in our layer panel.

Layers at Random Order

In some cases, the layers don’t make sense.  Meaning, there are assets that should appear first prior to the other assets but their layering is just all over the place. Take a look at this sample video:

If you don’t pay attention to your layers, you get some of your assets drawn at awkward timing just like the video above. As we see in the video, some assets ended up covering another asset. We see the bird covered by the cloud, the video background drawn in the end and all these don’t make sense. Cases like this happen during the editing stage when you’re trying to either move around assets or replace them.

Rearranging Layers

There are several ways to arrange or fix your layers. With our first sample video, we can have the poem come in first before the little girl. Or the birds revealed first, or maybe have the clouds drawn first. As long as the arrangement totally makes sense and they won’t be covering some assets, it’s perfectly fine.

Here’s how you can rearrange the layers in your scene:

1. Drag and Drop

The easiest and most preferred way to rearrange layers is by dragging and dropping assets from the layers panel. All you have to do is simply locate the asset you wish to move from the layers panel. Once located, just drag and drop it to your preferred order.

Note that when you place an asset on top of the other, the asset on top will be drawn first.

2. Bring forward / Send backward

When you click an asset in your scene, you will see some edit tools or menu appear. Within the edit menu, you will see two small rectangular boxes. These boxes are used to adjust the asset’s layer. The first box is called “bring forward” which brings your asset on top. The second box is called “send backward” which is used to send the asset backward or place your asset at the bottom.

Remember that the more you click the forward or backward icon,  the more it moves the asset to either the top layer or bottom layer. In our sample scene below, if you send the poem too far (send backward) it goes behind the sky hiding it from our view. While if you click “bring forward” multiple times, the poem is moved on top of all the assets.

3. Cut and Paste

Another way to arrange your layers is by cutting and pasting them. If you do not want to repeatedly click the “bring forward” icon, you can just simply press CTRL X on your keyboard to cut the asset then paste it by holding down CTRL then press V on your keyboard, for Windows computers. For Mac users, it is Command ⌘ + X to cut and Command ⌘ + V to paste.

Cutting and pasting will immediately bring your asset on top of all the assets in your scene. Doing this makes your asset the last element to be drawn.

Resizing Assets

Selecting a single asset

The layers panel is also used to select an asset you wish to resize or modify. If you have multiple assets in one scene, sometimes it’s hard to select them especially if they are too small and are overlapping with each other. If this is the case, we can use the layers panel to select the specific asset you wish to move. 

Selecting several assets

If you want to resize a set of props, all you have to do is locate them in the layers panel. They will be automatically selected in your scene making them easier to adjust.

Selecting all assets

To resize ALL assets in your scene, all you have to do is select them from the layers panel or press CTRL + A on your keyboard. After that, you can start moving or adjusting your assets.

Setting Opacity

When layering assets, sometimes we need to make some of the layers more prominent than the others to highlight some characters or props. To do that, we need to adjust the opacity level of some of the assets in your scene.

To adjust the opacity, head over to each of the asset’s setting menus.

You can also apply opacity to multiple assets all at the same time by holding down CTRL on your keyboard while you select each asset.

Here’s our sample output:

Lastly, it’s always fun to apply some effects in a presentation. Since we have a poem in our sample video, let’s try to make it move up or apply what we called the stop-motion effect.

Here’s how we can do that:

Stop Motion Effect

1. For the first scene, we need to move the poem at the bottom portion of the canvas, revealing only the first 2 lines of the poem.

2. Keep the extra time at the end to the default setting which is .05 seconds and set the exit animation to “X”.

3. Let’s set the enter animation of the poem to “None”.

4. Duplicate the 1st scene. At this point, you have just created your 2nd scene. In the 2nd scene, you have to move the poem up revealing 4 lines then duplicate it to create the 3rd scene.

5. On your 3rd scene, move the poem up to reveal 6 lines of it. Please note that the number of lines you want to be revealed per scene is all up to you. For our sample video, we’re making it additional 2 lines per scene.

6. Keep duplicating the scenes until your poem finally reaches the top. Reduce your screen size to 50% so you can fully navigate your screen and be able to drag the poem all the way up.

Tip: If you can’t select the poem from the scene, try selecting it from the layers panel. This will automatically highlight the poem in your scene allowing you to move the text up.

Let’s check out the finished video:

Did you notice the little girl’s move in the end? It’s the same process with the slow-motion effect. We repeatedly duplicated the scene and moved the image of the little girl to alternate directions per scene to create the dancing effect.

In Conclusion…

Layers are indeed great for separating the assets, moving them without moving everything. They are fantastic for organizing the pieces that make up the whiteboard animation. They definitely make video editing easy and fun.

We hope this article gave you additional insight on how to navigate Doodly layers better. Until next time. 🙂