Confused about layers?

Can I not copy something from a different layer and paste it to one above without creating a new layer- with the same name? It’s absolutely infuriating.

Is this a bug?

There are multiple ways to do something similar to what you described so it’s hard to tell the exact steps you followed without further information (like a video). Everyone has their own little work habits and sometimes it takes a little time to get used to the UI. Copy pasting stuff between different layers is pretty common so it might not be a bug.

The key here though is to pay attention to what’s highlighted in the timeline and to understand the distinction between layers, frames and cels.

a) Selecting a layer, by clicking on its name for example, will show it with a yellow rectangle. This will automatically select all the cels on that layer, but you have effectively selected the layer. When you copy and paste it, what you are copying are not just its cels (or “frames”), but rather the whole lot, which will copy the layer (its name, opacity, blend mode, etc) along with the cels. This will most likely duplicate the layer when you paste it.

b) Selecting a frame (for example, clicking on the number 5 to select frame #5) will let you copy all the cels for all the layers on frame 5. This will highlight that number 5 with a yellow rectangle. So when you copy paste it, it will copy everything. It’s the same as going to frame 5, clicking on the first cel on the topmost layer and dragging all the way down to the latest one.

c) Selecting a cel, means selecting the intersection between frame and layer. You can select multiple cels through different means (shift click, click + drag), and you can also select multiple cels in different layers and different frames. What’s currently selected will be highlighted with the usual yellow border.

Based on the behavior you described it looks like you tried to copy the whole layer. What you should try is selecting all the cels on that layer, then go to a layer above it, select a cel where you want to start your paste, then paste it. This process is described here.

If you find yourself accidentally duplicating layers, and you don’t mind replacing the stuff below it, you can do a Merge Down.

You might want to read the documentation or watch some beginner tutorial for further info

Animation: Common operations

Wow. Thank you for the thorough explanation. I’m actually working on a single frame with more than a couple of layers (a vignette for a cutscene).

It’s a candy dish that I’ve sliced in two horizontally–put each half in their own layer and put a blank layer between them to make drawing the candy in the dish easier.

But I drew the candy separately and individually thinking I could create an endless amount of layers inside the two main halves and place them so they look more dimensional and merge down as needed.

Harder to keep track of than I thought. lol.

I’ll take a look at everything you provided. Thanks a lot.

Ah, I see how that could be annoying since it will always paste the layer as the topmost in the layer stack indeed. This will happen even if you group them together in a group which could be slightly misleading since most layer based graphic editors don’t usually do that.

You could right click on the candy layer and duplicate it and it will just add it above the one you’re copying from, so the top layer (with the top half of the dish) will remain where it should. Or add a keyboard shortcut to duplicate layer so it’s a little handier and you can do as many as you want without a bunch of clicking.

I originally assumed you were copying more than one frame, so that info I posted won’t be that helpful.

Oh, but it is helpful - I’m still kinda new to this program so anything helps.