📂 HOW TO: LAYERS - characters and overlays

It seems the old HOW to LAYERS was closed so I decided to make a new one

Layers are essential if you have more characters or overlays (or both) in the scene and you need some to be more front or more back. Like in this scene below.

The principle of layers is simple -

what is more front (closer to the screen - like the red-haired lady) must be on a higher layer number than what is more back.

so in this scene:
The blue-haired lady is on layer 1
The boy in the car is on layer 2
The Car overlay is on layer 3
The red-haired lady is on layer 4

If you still struggle to imagine it right - try this: think about the layers like separate sheets of paper - each character or overlay it cut out from one of the papers and if you want to make this “paper” scene you will first put on the background the character which is in the back (layer 1) and then you will add another layer or paper which will partly cover them (layer 2).

WHAT NUMBER OF LAYERS YOU CAN USE?

  1. negative numbers (you can go minimally to -10 000)
  2. zero
  3. positive numbers (you can go minimally to 10 000)

CAN YOU SKIPP SOME LAYER NUMBERS?

Yes you can - for example, you can use just layers numbers: -5, 0, 5, 10, 15
The principle is still the same the higher number the more “front” it will be on screen.

HOW TO SET CHARACTERS TO LAYES?

@CHAR moves to layer 1

With spot-directing you can also add it after the spotting this way:
@CHAR spot 1.073 75 11 in zone 1 at layer 1

HOW TO SET OVERLAYS TO LAYES?

@overlay CAR moves to layer 1
or
@overlay CAR to layer 1

In case you create an overlay in the line with a background you can also ad a layer there:

BACKGROUND with CAR at layer 1
BACKGROUND with CAR to 1 30 60 in zone 2 at layer 1

if you use UI command:

@ui CAR moves to layer 1
or
@ui CAR to layer 1

HOW TO SET OVERLAYS WHICH ARE INCLUDED IN SOME EPISODE ORIGINAL BACKGROUNDS TO LAYES?

The episode has some backgrounds which have an overlay already included - usually they have OL in the name. like:

INT. ITALIAN RESTAURANT OL - NIGHT

if you want to set the overlay included in such background to a specific layer you have to write it like this:

BACKGROUND_NAME with BACKGROUND_NAME at layer 1

INT. ITALIAN RESTAURANT OL - NIGHT with INT. ITALIAN RESTAURANT OL - NIGHT at layer 1

IMPORTANT

if you do not set layers to your overlays and characters, the script will set them on a default layer - usually 0, 1, 2, or 3 - problem is that while on your phone the character will be set to layer 3 in another phone he might appear on a different layer so even if it looks right in your preview it might be all mixed up on readers phone, therefore, it’s wise to set the layers always.

Basic directing for walking and exiting resets layers. even if you set them. :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: So in case, you set character on layer -always use spot directing for walking!

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