Group Layer


About Group Layer

The Group Layer is a special layer that can hold other layers. It is generated via the Group command accessed via the context menu in the Layers Panel or through the in the Canvas Menu Caret.

As well as grouping a set of layers, it can also apply transformations to the contained layers like translation, scaling, and even modify their time offset.

A Group Layer can also be created through the New Layer Menu, using New Layer -> Other -> Group Layer.

Parameters of Group Layer

The parameters of the Group Layer are:

Name Value Type
Type_real_icon.png Z Depth 0.000000 real
Type_real_icon.png Amount 1.000000 real
type_integer_icon.png Blend Method Composite integer
Type_vector_icon.png Origin 0.000000u,0.000000u vector
Transformation 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.00°, 60, 60 transformation
Type_canvas_icon_0.63.06.png Canvas   canvas
Type_real_icon.png Speed 1.000000 real
Type_real_icon.png Zoom 0.000000 real
Type_time_icon.png Time Offset Of time
Type_bool_icon.png Lock Selection p_checkbox_off.png bool (Static)
Type_vector_icon.png Focus Point 0.000000u,0.000000u vector
Type_real_icon.png Outline Grow 0.000000 real
Type_bool_icon.png Z Range p_checkbox_off.png bool
Type_real_icon.png Z Range Position 0.000000 real
Type_real_icon.png Z Range Depth 1.000000 real
Type_real_icon.png Z Range Blur 0.000000 real

Transformation Parameter

The Transformation parameter is a composite parameter, it holds an Offset, a rotation Angle, a Skew Angle and a Scale value for the group. The Transformation parameter is already converted to composite when the Group Layer is created and so directly exposes the Offset, Rotation, Skew and Scale subparameters.

See also Group_Transformation_Widget

Canvas Parameter


This is “Group” by default if the Group Layer was created by grouping other layers, or No Image Selected if it was created from the New Layer Menu. This parameter lets you select another canvas.

The Canvas parameter presents a drop-down menu of the exported canvases, plus an extra entry called “Other…”. Selecting “Other…” presents the user with a text entry box asking for the name of the canvas to use. The name typed should have the following format (where [ ] indicates an optional part, ( ) is for grouping, and * means “0 or more times”):


In its simplest form, this is just an id, ie. the exported name of one of the child canvases of the current canvas.

Other possibilities are:

  • if a ‘#’ is present, the part before the ‘#’ is interpreted as the filename of an external .sif file to use.
  • if the ‘#’ is the first character of the string (ie. the filename is blank) then the ‘#’ is ignored, and the current canvas is used instead
  • if a ‘:’ appears before the first id, it means to start at the root canvas of the current canvas
  • each subsequent :id steps down into the specified child


  • /usr/share/doc/synfig/examples/business_card.sifz#:IndividualCard – gives the absolute path to a .sifz file, and says to use the canvas that was exported from its root canvas as “IndividualCard”
  • ../../examples/business_card.sifz#:IndividualCard – the same, but with a relative path to the .sifz file
  • #:sy:head:eyes:left – look in the current composition, and starting from the root, navigate down through the canvas tree. Find a child canvas of the root canvas called ‘sy’, look in ‘sy’ for a child canvas called ‘head’, and so on.
  • :sy:head:eyes:left – exactly as above. an empty filename is the same as not using the ‘#’ at all
  • eyes:left – without a ‘:’ before the first id, this starts at the current canvas (presumably the Group in question is in the “head” subcanvas of the “sy” subcanvas of the root)

Outline Grow Parameter

This parameter allows to control thickness of all outline layers inside. Assigning positive value to this parameter makes all child outlines rendered thicker, while negative value makes them look thinner. This feature is very helpful for tuning outlines in complex artwork and it also allows to achieve some nice effects like constant outline width at any zoom level.

Note: The Outline Grow parameter can not be applied to exported and imported (external) Groups layers.


Z Range parameters

Z Depth Range Enabled

When checked, only layers inside range are visible and the visible layers are signaled with bolded font in the Layers_Panel

Z Depth Range Position

Starting Z Depth position where layers are visible

Z Depth Range Depth

Depth where layers are visible in Z Depth range

Z Depth Range Transition

Z Depth area where layers inside are partially visible.

Example of Z Range use :


Alters the velocity group’s child animated layers (not the Group Layer itself)

Set it to zero, it would stop the animation. A value of one makes the animation run at normal speed and a value of two makes it run double speed. Minus one reverses the animation.