One of the more subtle features in Wixie is the difference between the background, paint, and object layers. For example, in the image below, the map is on the background layer, the dotted selection showing Italy is on the paint layer, and the photo of the student is on the objects layer.
The viewer can’t see any difference, but these layers let the designer do different things with the visuals in the project. So what is the difference, and why choose to put items on a specific layer?
Advantages of the background layer
The background layer exists behind everything in Wixie. A background can be changed to a completely new image, but the image itself cannot be edited. This makes it easy for students to add text, stickers, and even painted artwork above it without “damaging” the image.
To add an image to the background layer of a page, use the Page Picture button on the tools panel.
At the Backgrounds dialog, find an image you want to use, select it, and click the Add button.
Advantages of the object layer
Text, images, and video you have added to a page reside on the object layer. This makes them easy to move with the Arrow tool and moving the objects around does not affect what is underneath. To add objects to this layer, use the buttons on the toolbar.
Use the Arrow tool to move, resize, and delete objects in this layer.
Note: Use the Arrange options under the Edit menu if you have lots of objects that overlap and you need to choose which shows on top. If you don’t want the objects to be edited or deleted, you can lock or protect the object using the Properties option under the Edit menu.
Advantages of the paint layer
The paint layer is designed for artwork created with the Wixie paint tools. All visuals created with the paint tools are on a single layer, so anything you paint replaces the painted artwork underneath it.
If students draw something and then want to move it, they will need to use the Selection tool to select and drag it to a new location. All painted artwork within the selection will move.
Changing layers to achieve your goals
If you want to achieve something you can’t on the current layer, changing the layer can help.
Move to background
If you are designing templates with content you do not want accidentally edited or deleted, moving the content to the background layer may be useful. Begin by designing the parts of the template you do not want changed. Go to the Edit menu and choose Send to Background to make that part of the template untouchable.
Note: Make sure any visuals students need to fill with the paint bucket are on the paint layer. Otherwise, when they click the paint bucket, it will fill the entire page (paint layer) and cover the background.
Glue to paint layer
You can't use the paint tools on stickers you have added using the Image button, because they are on the object layer. But you can move an object to the paint layer. Begin by selecting it using the Arrow tool. Click the Glue to paint layer button on the editing panel and then make changes with the paint tools.
Convert to a sticker
If you have created artwork that you want to move and use on different pages it can be helpful to convert it to a sticker. This process moves it from the paint layer to the object layer.
Begin by drawing a box around the object with the paint selection tool. To select just the image and not details around it, make sure the image you are selecting has white all around it.
Once the object is selected, click the Convert to Sticker button on the editing panel.
Identifying the layer of a visual
If a visual in Wixie isn’t working the way students expect, it is often because it has been added to a different layer than expected.
- If you can move a visual element with the Arrow tool, it is on the object layer.
- If you can edit a visual element with the Eraser tool it is on the paint layer.
- If you cannot edit the visual element with either the Arrow tool or the Eraser tool, it is on the background layer.
Using the layers strategically
The layers in Wixie help you work differently with the visuals in a project or curriculum activity, so choose, or even combine, the layers for the goals you have. For example, the Arcimboldo Self-Portrait template in Wixie links directly to the stickers library so students can easy drag stickers of food to create their portrait.
Templates like Scratch Art, Klimt's Tree of Life, Dig for treasure, It Looked Like Spilt Milk, and Carve a Jack-o-Lantern hide the background behind a paint layer so students can simply use the Eraser tool to create and "uncover" art.
Add the visuals to the layer that makes the most sense for your goals. If you change your mind, simply change the layer of the object that works the best.