I am trying to create a simple design of different coloured raindrops stacked on top of each other.

I have created a new layer for each of the raindrops and have reordered the layers accordingly.

However the reordering doesn't make any difference to which raindrop takes precedence, the biggest bottom layer is the only one vsiible when I add smaller raindrops on top.

Using the send forward/back options doesn't work either. The original raindrop (purple) is still fully visible and the new coloured raindrops just blend into it. It's very frustrating. I havent adjusted any visibility so all layers are visible.

Can anyone tell me where I am going wrong?

  • 1
    Why not post a screenshot of the artwork and the layers panel.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 12:24
  • 3
    The "send forward/backward" function only reorders within a single layer (AFAIK) - Please screenshot the artwork AND the Layers panel Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 12:27

3 Answers 3


Illustrator layers do not work like Photoshop layers.

The Illustrator Layers Panel is actually an "object and layers" panel. It not only displays layers, it also displays objects such as paths, groups, compound paths, etc.

The "move to back/front" commands work on objects, not on layers. What this means is that the back/front commands change the stacking order of object on the same layer. These commands do not change the layer an object is on in Illustrator. Objects remain on their existing layer and merely move up/down in the object stack within the same layer.

Photoshop will reorder layers via the "move to back/front" commands. Illustrator does not.

In order to reorder layers in Illustrator, you must click-drag the layer in the Layers Panel to a new position. There are no commands to move layers around in Illustrator.

  • Hi, Im aware send back/forward doesnt work on layers from research online, i just added it as an aside in case id missed something and/or stop anyone suggesting it. The bulk of my qstn is re the reordering of layers. I drag layer i want on top at the top of the layer panel. My point was regardless of how i layer them in the layer panel nothing changes. I created one purple raindrop. Wanted to add a smaller green one on top so the purple one just showed as a border. The green 'disappeared' into/behind the purple. Weirdly though where the green was the purple colour changed slightly!
    – E Cummin
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 19:54
  • @ECummin I don't believe anyone can assist with that unless they have some clue as to the file's construction. There's nothing inherently in Illustrator which prevents a top layer being displayed above a layer below it. You must have masks, blending modes, knockouts, transparency, or some other aspect in use. And really, there's nothing in your question which would indicate you understood layers don't move via move back/forward commands. So, forgive my explaining what seemed to be missing.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 20:48

You are not giving enough detail to allow for a proper answer, which makes this an unclear and useless question as it is and likely to get closed. However, I suspect you are using a blending mode other than 'Normal' for your raindrops.

With all your layers unlocked select everything by hitting Ctrl+A. Look into the 'Window → Transparency' panel and make sure 'Normal' is selected in the 'Blending Mode' dropdown. If it isn't, select it now.


Sounds like you might have

  1. Transparency on your layers or objects (not sure if illustrator has this option for the layer)

  2. Blending modes other than normal on one or more items per layer.

  3. Your most visible object is locked on the top layer.

  4. Could be all of the above, please do include a screengrab or a gif showing your problem, you are likely to get correct answers quicker.

  • woohoo the transparency was set to saturation and changing it to 'normal' did the trick thanks so much!
    – E Cummin
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 20:03
  • Brilliant mate, be sure to mark it as answered so others know what worked for you 😊 Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 20:14

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