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Another way to get shapes into After Effects is to cut and paste them from Illustrator. Now, if you've imported your character from Illustrator, all you're going to get is the rasterizing; you're not going to get the actual shapes themselves. For example, I have this file here where the character was imported from After Effects. So if I zoom into the character's hair and select it, you can see that while the hair is rasterizing, it understands the curves are there, but I can't get to the shapes themselves.
Well, I can actually fix this by going into Illustrator, and actually cutting and pasting the shape itself. So I am going to go into Illustrator here, and we're going to select the character's hair, and then I'm just going to do an Edit > Copy, and go back into After Effects. Now, before I paste, I need to create a Shape layer to paste it into. So, for example, if I wanted to paste, I actually couldn't, because there's no place to paste a shape. So I need to do Layer > New > Shape layer, and then there is one more thing I need to do.
I need to draw a dummy shape that I'm going to replace. If I pasted what I brought over from Illustrator right now, it would paste it as a mask, not a shape. So I'm just going to go ahead and select my Pen tool and draw a placeholder. So I'm just going to draw a big rectangle right here over the center of the screen. And now once I have that, I can go into Contents in my Shape layer, go into Shape 1, and select Path 1. Now once I do that, now I can do a paste, and when I do that, it pastes that over it, and it replaces it, and now I have my shape.
So I just select my Shape layer, and let's go ahead and just bring it up towards the head here, and zoom in. And now that I have it, I can go ahead and start modifying it. So all I have to do is select Path 1, and I can actually reshape this, and I have total control over my shape. So this is just one more way to get shapes into After Effects, and that's bringing them in from Illustrator.
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