Say I have an image of a rose which I want to trace: enter image description here

I construct a few curvature shapes with it's stroke weight set to 5 like so: enter image description here

Say I'd now like to see which stroke is placed over another, is there any way for me to do so?

Say my bottom layered stroke crosses a top layered stroke, it then might draw two little lines across the stroke like so:

enter image description here

Is there any way to set up such functionality? Or mimic it? It would help work like this a ton.

The program could get the order of overlap right by looking at the layer orders, which you would of course have to manually order yourself. But having a feature that enables me to see which shape is on top of which when they're overlapping would be great.


Yes, here is one way to do it:

Select your paths and apply a second stroke. You can do this clicking the Add New Stroke button at the bottom of the Appearance panel. This second stroke will appear above your first, so set it to a thinner width and change the colour so that it can be seen.

Two workflow tips:

  1. Uncheck "New Art Has Basic Appearance" from the Appearance panel's fly-out menu so that after you set the appearance, each new path drawn retains the same appearance.
  2. Set this appearance as a "graphic style" so that it can be applied to any paths at any time.


adding second stroke in appearance panel

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  • This is a perfect workaround! – KamielDev Oct 19 '19 at 11:45

As far as I'm aware, there's no ability or feature to visually indicate the stacking order of similar objects.

That being posted, you could add some appearance option to a layer itself. For example, you could add a stroke to the layer so that anything on that layer would show that stroke....

enter image description here

You could also do this for objects or groups which are on the same layer.

Problems with this methodology may arise though...

  • It's more work to add a stroke to each layer
  • You have to remember to remove the stroke at some point
  • It's more work removing all the strokes
  • Appearance options set at the Layer level don't always clear correctly
    (given the version of AI you may be using).

In most instances, I find a good Layer structure and then selecting something an glancing at the Layer panel to be enough to show the stacking order in most cases. I'd rather have to look more than once, than add/remove some appearance option repeatedly.

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