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Importing an Illustrator file

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Importing an Illustrator file

In this chapter, we are going to have another sweet project. We are going to take an Illustrator file, as a matter of fact, this one right here, and we are actually going to import this. And actually, I have broken up this Illustrator file into a series of layers. And we are going to animate the different components. Now if you are not very familiar with Adobe Illustrator, no big deal. I'll be explaining Adobe Illustrator, what it does and why you want to use this as an After Effects user later on this training series. But for now, it's good to know that this is the image that we are going to be importing. It's a flat, dead image. Illustrator is not like an animation tool.

Importing an Illustrator file

In this chapter, we are going to have another sweet project. We are going to take an Illustrator file, as a matter of fact, this one right here, and we are actually going to import this. And actually, I have broken up this Illustrator file into a series of layers. And we are going to animate the different components. Now if you are not very familiar with Adobe Illustrator, no big deal. I'll be explaining Adobe Illustrator, what it does and why you want to use this as an After Effects user later on this training series. But for now, it's good to know that this is the image that we are going to be importing. It's a flat, dead image. Illustrator is not like an animation tool.

It's just basically a flat art. And what I wanted to show you here in this movie is how to import Adobe Illustrator files. When we import layered files from Photoshop or Illustrator, we do so in kind of a different way than we import regular files. Let me show what I mean here. Let's do this together. In the Project panel, I am going to double-click here somewhere, anywhere in this gray area here to open up the Import File dialog box. Next, I want to go to the Graphics folder inside the Media folder of the Exercise Files, and I am going to choose the Explore California Logo layered.ai file.

Now if this were a movie file or a still image or an audio file, we would just Open, and that's it. But when we have a layered Illustrator file or a layered Photoshop file, we have additional options and choices. Now we can import this as Footage or as a Composition. Now a Composition is actually what we are going to eventually import this as, but for now let me just briefly explain what this is. If you import as a Composition, then all of the layers from the original file will be brought into After Effects, stored nicely in little folder.

And also, After Effects will create a composition for you that has all of the layers of the Illustrator or Photoshop document as layers in the After Effects composition it creates for you. And again, we are going to see that in just a moment. If you choose Footage and click Open, this will allow you to Merge layers. What this will do is it'll take all of these layers and smush them together into one file, or in other words, like one layer. So, if you don't want to actually break up pieces of this and animate different components of this file, then you could merge the layers, and it could be just one file.

So, let's say you had a background file or something like that that you made in Photoshop with some cool texture or pattern, and you just wanted to merge all those layers, then you could just choose Merge layers as long it's set to Footage here. You can also choose an individual layer. Going back to Illustrator, this sun image here, the sun graphic, is on as on layer. So, what we could do is go back to After Effects and from this dropdown choose Sun. If we only want to bring in the sun from the Illustrator file, then that's what we would choose.

This is really good. Let's say you do a lot of work for a client, and it may be they have given files in the past that their logo is in, and you might not want to import the entire document. You just want to import their logo layer. This is a good way to do that. So, these are the choices. You can either Merge the layers or Choose a specific layer if you are going as Footage, but we actually want to import this as a Composition. And we have two choices: Layer Size or Document Size. This will make more sense later on. But basically, this refers to where the anchor point is, which, again, will probably not too much sense until we get later on in this chapter.

So, for now I am going to choose Layer Size and click OK. Here is what has happened here. Here we have all of the layers from the Illustrator file. If I resize the Project panel by clicking on this vertical divider bar and moving to the right, we can expand this little bit and see the names this layers. So, it gives us the name of the layer and then a slash and then the name of the document that this layer is found in. It puts them in order, and it names them for us, all nicely stored in this folder.

And you could see even here the Sun layer. And as I click on it, as with most objects in the Project panel, you get a thumbnail here the top that gives you an idea of what's on that exact layer. If this were a movie file or image, we would also have a preview here. And as mentioned, it did create a composition for us. So, if we want to open this composition up, all we have to do is just double-click it, and we'll see that all of the layers from the Illustrator file have come here into After Effects, and we can take off the visibility, let's say, for example, the Biker Body layer.

We can take off the visibility of this layer. We can see that's a separate component that we can then animate and play with. So, that is what we were going to do in this chapter. We are going to take the various components of this Illustrator file and animate them here in After Effects. It's actually very common use for After Effects, to take a layered Photoshop or Illustrator file and then play with it here. So, now when we've got the Illustrator file import out of the way, let's talk about the basics of animation.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67184 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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