How to Keep Illustrator Layers in Photoshop

Photoshop and Illustrator are two of the most prominent editing tools in the online world. However, moving between the two can prove confusing in some instances. If you work in Illustrator, you may have layers to your project. Is it possible to keep those layers when moving a project from Illustrator to Photoshop?

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping Illustrator layers in Photoshop, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about the steps necessary to keep your Illustrator layers intact, even as you shift to another application. It won’t take too long to master the process.

Find Release to Layers Function

First, open your project in Illustrator. Ensure you have the project in front of you and everything is in place before moving forward. You should know how many layers you need and what goes on each layer for your proj

Once you have the file open in Illustrator, you need to:

  1. Access layers: Open the layers function in Illustrator. You need to open layers to ensure everything is in place before the export process.
  2. Put items in individual layers if needed: If you don’t have the layers separated, it’s critical to do so before moving forward. If you do, you can move forward in the process without doing anything.
  3. Select release to layers: Place each item in a layer by copying and pasting each item in a designated spot.

You should have everything in each layer.

It’s critical to ensure every item is on its layer before moving forward to the next step. If you don’t separate everything, you will find it impossible to separate when in Photoshop. Once you have the layers, it’s time to begin the transfer process from one platform to the next.

Export the File

Once you’ve released the layers, it’s time to export the file for the first time. This step is critical. It’s the moment when the Illustrator file shifts to Photoshop. You will see all your layers shift back in place, or you will need to go back and complete the process again.

Here’s what you need to do to export the file:

  1. Export: Locate the export button and press it.
  2. Select: Choose PSD as the proper format for your exported file. Ensure you don’t pick another version, or the layers won’t transfer to Photoshop. 
  3. Double-check: Take note of the exported file and repeat the process if necessary. If you don’t see the file after pressing export, hit the button again.

It will be in the right format and location after this point.

Once you press the export button, double-check to ensure the file is in the right place and the correct format for the next step. If it’s not in a PSD file, you won’t be able to complete the next step and open the file in Photoshop. If it is in PSD form, you can move forward.

Open in Photoshop

Next, it’s time to open Photoshop and open the exported file. You can examine Photoshop to determine if it got the job done or if there are missing Illustrator layers. When Photoshop opens, look in the right-bottom corner of the program. You will either see multiple layers or one single block of layers.

If you see a block, something went wrong, and the layers didn’t save. Head back to Illustrator to fix the trouble and continue to export until the file goes through. Take time with your steps to ensure you complete the process correctly.

Make Changes As Needed

With the layers in Photoshop, you can make all the changes you need to the project on a different platform. If you have all your layers, you can easily edit and change items that would be impossible to fix if the piece was stuck in one unit. The transfer of layers from Illustrator allows for more freedom in Photoshop.

If layers are not separated and transferred over to Photoshop, all shifts must occur in Illustrator before moving the project into Photoshop. Once in Photoshop, the changes could only be on the singular image. Exporting layers makes a world of a difference in the creative process.

Once you’ve made all the changes you need in Photoshop, it’s time to move on to the last step. Save your project and get ready to export.

Export and Repeat if Necessary

Once you have your final project in Photoshop, you can export the file. Check the export to determine everything is there, and then utilize the work to fit your needs. The export process means the end of Illustrator layers – it can all come together after the final Photoshop edits occur in the system.

When you have the process down, you can repeat it if necessary. It may take multiple exports to gather together all the images you need for your final endeavor.

What if you can’t get the hang of keeping your Illustrator layers in Photoshop? We have one solution in mind to ensure you master the process without too much time behind the computer. Practice, as with any new skill, makes perfect.

Continue to Practice

As with any new technique, it may take time to get used to moving files from Illustrator to Photoshop. It’s easy to hit an incorrect button and make a change you didn’t want for your work. However, it’s critical to remember that practice makes perfect when mastering your skills in the Adobe Suite.

If you don’t master it the first time, try again until it makes more sense. Eventually, you will be a master at shifting from Illustrator to Photoshop while keeping all layers intact. 

There are other ways to work with Illustrator and Photoshop while keeping your layers separate. The more you work with the provided tools, the more secrets you will uncover.