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Turn selected AI sublayers into top-level layers?

Adobe Employee ,
Jun 05, 2008 Jun 05, 2008

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Hi, all!

I wanted to ask if by chance any of the scripting gurus here happen to have written an AI script that will take a number of selected sublayers/sub-sublayers and move them so they become top-level layers?
I am really needing this very badly, given that After Effects can only handle AI layers as separate entities. So I find myself moving tens, even hundreds of nested sublayers to the top level all the time.
Is it possible this script exists already?
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correct answers 1 Correct answer

LEGEND , Aug 15, 2008 Aug 15, 2008
This .zip archive contains an AICS3 file and a draft script.

Install the script.
Launch Illustrator.
Open the AI file.

Note that an expanded Blend is on the Artboard. Each object from the former Blend is on its own Layer. The Layers palette contains 100 or so Layers, all named sequentially and nested 10 levels deep.

Run the script a few times. Each time the script runs, an alert tells you the number of existing top-level Layers. It then moves any sublayers nested inside each of those top-leve...

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Community Expert ,
Apr 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017

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Thanks!

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New Here ,
Dec 07, 2016 Dec 07, 2016

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Thank you for this.  Very helpful. Any suggestions on how to move all (in entire doc and not just within active layer) sublayers (no matter the type) to the top?  I have several layers deep and the script you provided does not work.  Thank you.

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New Here ,
Dec 08, 2016 Dec 08, 2016

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Is there any way to add group items to a rename script? I get an error if there is a group.

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New Here ,
Oct 03, 2014 Oct 03, 2014

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Sorry to bug you, but, where do I find the command to "Release Layers (sequence)." I'm very new to Illustrator so a lot of this is new to me. I'm trying to accomplish the same thing as discussed above - that is, convert sub  layers into top layers for use in After Effects specifically. Thanks for any help!

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Community Expert ,
Oct 03, 2014 Oct 03, 2014

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It's in the flyout menu list in the Layers panel (small triangle, upper right).

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New Here ,
Oct 06, 2014 Oct 06, 2014

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Ah yes, I actually stumbled across it right after I posted. But, thanks very much for the follow up!

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Explorer ,
May 03, 2019 May 03, 2019

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Sampli - this worked for me Thank you so much! Not sure why this has to be so complicated to just drag layers out of a nest, but it worked after I released.

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Community Expert ,
Sep 02, 2014 Sep 02, 2014

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None of the above is working for me and every search brings me back to this same thread.

Simple enough: I have a CC file later opened in CC/2014. It's just a logo with a colored background and a type string, with the type backed up by black shapes and outline shapes so I can pull it into AE and do some simple animation.

Using repeated tries with the "Release to Layers {Sequence)" command, and reverting and starting over each time things didn't end up where I wanted them, I finally have all the layers in one sublevel array... but I CANNOT get them to the top level. Using RtL(S) just encapsulates them one level down, solving nothing.

WHY has it become so hard/impossible to move layers from sublayer levels to the top layer, when going the other way is completely intuitive and most operations create sublayers? More to the point, how can I get my sublayers all to the top level when none of the above processes work?


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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Community Expert ,
Sep 02, 2014 Sep 02, 2014

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can you share a file? or post screen shots showing your layers exactly the way Larry did in post # 12

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Community Expert ,
Sep 03, 2014 Sep 03, 2014

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I could, but let me rephrase it as a simple question:

  • Create a new document with four layers.
  • Put one graphic element on each layer.
  • Drag three layers under one, making them into child layers.

Now... how do you restore those three layers to top-level status? Everything I've tried either fails or (in the case of "Release to Layers") buries them in a deeper subset of new layers.

Is the top level to child layer change not reversible (in CC and CC/2014, at least)?


| Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Pro Guide (Amazon)

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New Here ,
Sep 10, 2014 Sep 10, 2014

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Just drag them out the parent layer (drag them to the bottom part of the Layers Panel - just above the icon set) If that doesn't work try grouping the elements in the order that you want them to be in the layers,  flatten your work into a single layer, then use the Release to Layers command.

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New Here ,
Nov 20, 2014 Nov 20, 2014

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Hi, i am sorry but I not an expert in AI and i still can´t make it... How can I turn all the sub layers in top layers?

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 14.49.12.png

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Community Expert ,
Nov 20, 2014 Nov 20, 2014

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see post # 16, if you don't need the new layers renamed, skip step # 1.2 (running the script)

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New Here ,
Nov 20, 2014 Nov 20, 2014

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Ok. I understand the script part and i was already able tanks to you to make all those layers top level. But i will work in AE later and it would be great to have the same names they had back when it was all sublayer. Its possible? Thank you so much!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 20, 2014 Nov 20, 2014

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can you post a "before" and "after" screenshots of what you have and what you need the script to do?

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New Here ,
Apr 08, 2016 Apr 08, 2016

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Hey Carlos! I ended up not answering to you! I don't remember anymore what exactly I did but I'm almost sure I solved thanks to your help. Cheers man and thank you for helping this community for so long! 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 08, 2016 Apr 08, 2016

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You're welcome hugo

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New Here ,
Mar 05, 2015 Mar 05, 2015

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Hi all, the basic moving of sub layers to top layers was baffling me too,  I got it working by having the top layer open to reveal the compound paths underneath first, THEN realease to layers,  you can see them change from compound paths to layers and then you can move them, or at least this is the only new thing I tried and then it worked for me hope this helps others

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New Here ,
Jul 20, 2015 Jul 20, 2015

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Thanks Carlos - this is brilliant!

After a few goes, I finally figured it out...

-I only needed to select the top layer

-I had to run the name script 1st

thanks again - saved me a ton of time

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Community Expert ,
Jul 20, 2015 Jul 20, 2015

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you're welcome

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New Here ,
Jul 12, 2016 Jul 12, 2016

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Here is a solution to the problem! Hope this is what you were looking for! It helped me out when I was trying to create artwork for a motion graphic.

Illustrator How to turn sublayers into layers - YouTube

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New Here ,
Sep 15, 2016 Sep 15, 2016

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This one is not optimal but worked for me:

My problem was that I had a sublayer which include a big bunch of my objects but not all and I wanted to get them all into one. But AI can merge layers only of the same level. So I did the following (MAC):

1. Click all objects on layer but not sublayer. You can do this by

          a. clicking the name of the top object and then scroll down to the last object and click the name of the object while holding shift

2. From the layers menu, select Collect in new layer 

3. Then click the name of the sublayer you had before, hold shift and click the name of the new sublayer

4. Select Merge Selected from the layers menu

If there are too many objects in 1 and your mac freezes while selecting objects (as in my case), repeat this multiple times (ps. You can merge multiple layers (of the same level) in once)

Hope it helps. Not too sure it solves the initial problem exactly. But it surely gives you some hints.

Best.

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Engaged ,
May 16, 2017 May 16, 2017

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I'm having a much simpler (and, thus, far more infuriating) problem. I can't drag the sublayers out of the top layer. That's all I need. I have one layer with a bunch of sub-layers. If I drag up, no matter how carefully or slowly (sometimes I see a plus-sign next to my pointer) nothing happens. If I drag down to an "open" part of the layers panel, I only get the "no" sign. What am I doing incorrectly or not doing at all? In 17 years of using Illustrator I've never needed to do this until learning After Effects. Yes, I said that just to point out I'm not a total newb.

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Community Expert ,
May 16, 2017 May 16, 2017

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that's strange, dragging down onto the big empty space in the layers panel should move your sublayers down to the bottom of the stack. If you see a plus sign when you dragged up, you went to far.

try adding an empty layer on top of your main layer to see if it's easier to move the sublayers out and place them in between the 2 main layers.

you're not doing anything wrong, it just seems illustrator is not working right.

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Community Expert ,
May 16, 2017 May 16, 2017

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Consider the possibility that all the things are just objects and not sublayers. They cannot be dragged out of the single existing layer.

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