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Importing Illustrator files

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Importing Illustrator files

Now in this movie we're going to cover how to get your layered Illustrator documents into After Effects. So if you navigate in your Exercise Files folder to the Footage folder, in the Illustrator Folder, go ahead and double-click on kineteco_01. This document I've already prepared for import into After Effects. But I want to show you exactly what I've done. First thing, whenever you have live, editable type inside of Illustrator, if you want to bring that in and edit it as shapes, what you should do is select the type layer and then go up under Type > Create Outlines.

Importing Illustrator files

Now in this movie we're going to cover how to get your layered Illustrator documents into After Effects. So if you navigate in your Exercise Files folder to the Footage folder, in the Illustrator Folder, go ahead and double-click on kineteco_01. This document I've already prepared for import into After Effects. But I want to show you exactly what I've done. First thing, whenever you have live, editable type inside of Illustrator, if you want to bring that in and edit it as shapes, what you should do is select the type layer and then go up under Type > Create Outlines.

Now I've taken things to the next step by taking each individual letter and putting it on it's own layer. This way I can animate each one of these layers. After Effects will recognize the top of the layer hierarchy. So to illustrate my point, let's select the top O layer and just create a new layer. Now I'm going to click on the O layer and Shift+Click on the E layer so all three layers are selected. Now we can drag them and drop them up into layer 20 until you see this hand.

When you let go, you can see that the layers have been dropped in. Let's rename layer 20 ECO with capital letters. Now these letters will be imported as one layer inside of After Effects. I've brought each one of this shapes into one layer and named it Blue, and as you can see it's one shape. Before I save a file to go into After Effects from Illustrator, I like to go up under File and say Save As and save a copy or a different name. Because of the process of putting this on separate layers, I'd still like to be able to get the other version of the file.

So I'm going to name this kineteco_01_AE.ai. That way I know it's ready to import into After Effects. Now there's another reason I'm saving this as a different name and that's because I have multiple project Files in your exercise files that are referencing this kineteco_01 Illustrator file. So just understand that if you're editing with this, you do want to save it as a different name. Okay, now let's click Save and we can leave Create PDF Compatible Files selected and just click OK.

Now if we jump into After Effects you can just double-click in the Project panel to open up the Import Document. Now if you're not already there, just navigate through your exercise files in the Footage folder under Illustrator and there's our kineteco_01_AE.ai file. Now when we import this, if we imported this footage it will be flat. So this time, I want to choose Composition. Make sure this button is not selected, just in case layers have numbers, sometimes this can foul things up.

All right, when we click Open, notice the document is imported as a comp. We can double-click the document and will open our Comp Window and our layer timeline. And as you can see, if we open the folder in the Project panel, each one of the layers has been brought in as it's own Illustrator file that we could drag to other comps. Okay, now let's close that. Now let's look at the layers. As you can see, ECO has been brought in all as one layer. Now another great thing about After Effects CS6, you can convert your Illustrator Shape layers into actual Shape layers inside of After Effects.

So let's select our Blue layer 12. And turn the visibility Off and back On. Okay, Blue layer 12. If you go up to the Layer menu you can go down to Create Shapes from Vector Layer. Once you do that, notice now the Blue layer has been turned off. And if you scroll up to the top of the timeline, sure enough I have a Shape layer. Now I can open up the options for the Shape layer and you can see each individual piece has been brought in as it's own group.

And yes, I can add animators to this layer and animate it like a Shape layer. So as you can see, layer hierarchy is extraordinarily important when it comes to importing your Illustrator documents into After Effects. Also, if you want to bring them in as separate layers, make sure to import them as a composition.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 56884 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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