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Using Illustrator files in After Effects

From: Video Production with Creative Suite 6

Video: Using Illustrator files in After Effects

It's quite possible you'll want to work with Illustrator files in After Effects in order to create assets that you'll incorporate into a project in Premiere Pro. This is very easy to do. In fact, it's especially easy to do since the release of After Effects CS6 because you can now convert an Illustrator file into a shape layer very, very easily. I've got a version of this runner symbol from Adobe Illustrator all set up. And this did have a glow around it, but I've taken the glow off. Because After Effects doesn't do a fantastic job of converting glows and semi-opaque areas of Illustrator files into shape layers. I can, perhaps show you and example what I mean. I'm going to toggle over to After Effects and I'm going to import that Illustrator file.

Using Illustrator files in After Effects

It's quite possible you'll want to work with Illustrator files in After Effects in order to create assets that you'll incorporate into a project in Premiere Pro. This is very easy to do. In fact, it's especially easy to do since the release of After Effects CS6 because you can now convert an Illustrator file into a shape layer very, very easily. I've got a version of this runner symbol from Adobe Illustrator all set up. And this did have a glow around it, but I've taken the glow off. Because After Effects doesn't do a fantastic job of converting glows and semi-opaque areas of Illustrator files into shape layers. I can, perhaps show you and example what I mean. I'm going to toggle over to After Effects and I'm going to import that Illustrator file.

So, I'm just going to double-click in the Project panel. And let's take this run a logo, no glow. And let's just open that up. And I'm going to drag this onto the Composition button, the new Composition button, to create a nice new comp that matches the dimensions. If I set this to Fit, you can see there it is in the middle of the screen. Now that I've got my Illustrator file imported, I can always go back to it by selecting it, and then I can go to the Edit menu and I can chose edit original. That's Ctrl+E or Cmd+E. And that's going to file up Illustrator and give me access to the file again. If I make a change here, I'll make something really, really fierce. Maybe I'll just draw a line across this with the with the paintbrush, there we go.

So I've got a line, I'm going to save it Ctrl or Cmd+S, and toggle back to After Effects. And you can see that line has appeared updated in the project. So, just bear in mind that there's a chain, this connection here. Because if you put this After Effects project into Premiere Pro as a dynamically linked composition, then it won't be the original Illustrator file that you'll be working with. It'll be the After Effects project. And from inside the After Effects project, you'll want to go back, edit original. Maybe I'll, I'll just Undo to remove that.

Save and toggle back again, and it disappears. If you don't use the Edit Original command, if I just go back into Illustrator and make a change again and go and toggle back, you will find that it doesn't update. You see it hasn't taken that brush stroke, and that's because After Effects wasn't primed to reload the footage. If I right-click on the footage, just select it in the bin here and choose Reload, you'll see that, oops. Of course, nothing's happened because if I go back to Illustrator just up next to the file name, you can see I've got this little star next to the file name. It's run a logo, no glow, .AI, star, the asterisk which tells me I haven't saved the changes.

This is not Dynamic Link so I'm going to save, Ctrl or Cmd+S. Toggle back, right-click, Reload. And there's the change. As long as I'm working with the original Illustrator file in this way, I can go back to Illustrator and make changes to it. And there's quite a lot I can do here. If I set this to 100% view, I could perhaps get the Puppet tool and add some little puppet pins. You've perhaps seen tutorials like this before. It's very straightforward. Jumps the beginning of my comp, and then maybe hold the Ctrl key down and start adding some running.

I'm not sure how good this is going to look, but let's have a look. Well, it's, it's something. And then, maybe we can get this one and get them holding down Ctrl or Cmd. This is going to look like someone who doesn't know how to run. And let's just deselect. And you can see, there you go, I've got some unbelievably terrible running. So you can animate Illustrator files in this way, and you can still go back in and edit original. Maybe I'll get rid of that stroke again. Save control will come on it has to save, toggle back, and you can see the animation still applies. But if I want to get more advanced control over this shape, I'm going to need to convert it to a Shape layer.

Which used to be really difficult to do and got really easy in After Effects CS6. I'm going to right-click on this AI layer, and I'm going to choose Create Shapes from Vector layer. And now you can see the original layer's turned off, and I've now got a Shape layer that represents this. Which, if I just expand out, you can see has a group and there's a path. And I have all of this access, all of its control for the shape itself and for that path.

I can also add things like twists and wiggles and repeaters and puck and bloat. If I put a twist on here for example, I can have a nice animated twisting that occurs. And all of these are advanced features in After Effects that you can't apply directly to the original Illustrator file as a layer. That's perhaps a little bit too much twist. Let's just ease that off a little bit. Coincidentally, I mentioned that if you do have things like partial transparency, it doesn't necessarily translate very well.

If I double-click to import and bring in the original version of this, and let's just turn that into a comp as well. You can see this version has a glow just go back to my Selection tool. I'm going to right-click on this and I'm going to again, choose Create Shapes from Vector layer. Right away, you can see the problem. The glow actually extends a very long way from the edge of the shape. And After Effects hasn't been able to correctly translate that into a glow that it recognizes. You'd be better off bringing in the artwork without the glow, and then applying one using the filter effects available inside of After Effects.

Once you've got assets like an Illustrator file inside an After Effects project of this kind, you can just use the project like any other asset inside of Premiere Pro. And of course, if you send files from Premiere Pro to work on in After Effects, there's no reason why you can't bring the Illustrator files in. And add additional content in order to create your finished composition. Now, that's an overview of how you can bring Illustrator files into After Effects for use as part of your post-production workflow.

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This video is part of

Image for Video Production with Creative Suite 6
Video Production with Creative Suite 6

29 video lessons · 3474 viewers

Maxim Jago
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 25s
  2. 14m 1s
    1. Introduction to multi-application post-production
      4m 46s
    2. Dynamic Link vs. round-tripping
      5m 22s
    3. One-way trips and the Edit Original command
      3m 53s
  3. 10m 53s
    1. Improving speech-to-text analysis
      5m 57s
    2. Using breakdown reports
      4m 56s
  4. 13m 16s
    1. Organizing projects with Prelude
      7m 53s
    2. Sharing rough cuts with Premiere Pro
      5m 23s
  5. 21m 10s
    1. Browsing in Bridge
      8m 35s
    2. Batch renaming with Bridge
      7m 26s
    3. Editing metadata with Bridge
      5m 9s
  6. 19m 22s
    1. Preparing images for video in Illustrator
      8m 32s
    2. Using Illustrator files in After Effects
      6m 27s
    3. Using Illustrator files with the Premiere Pro Title tool
      4m 23s
  7. 24m 38s
    1. Preparing images for video in Photoshop
      7m 52s
    2. Working with Photoshop files in After Effects
      10m 11s
    3. Working with Photoshop files in Premiere Pro
      6m 35s
  8. 27m 52s
    1. Creating audio for video with Audition
      11m 45s
    2. Sending work from Premiere Pro to Audition
      6m 32s
    3. Round-tripping a soundtrack from Premiere Pro to Audition and back again
      9m 35s
  9. 31m 19s
    1. Preparing content for Premiere Pro in After Effects
      7m 54s
    2. Preparing content for After Effects in Premiere Pro
      3m 36s
    3. Sending work from Premiere Pro to After Effects
      11m 14s
    4. Sending work from After Effects to Premiere Pro
      8m 35s
  10. 14m 39s
    1. Outputting pregraded shots for the edit from SpeedGrade
      5m 40s
    2. Sending work from Premiere Pro to SpeedGrade
      8m 59s
  11. 7m 31s
    1. Using Dynamic Link to share sequences between Premiere Pro and Encore
      7m 31s
  12. 10m 13s
    1. Sending work from Premiere Pro to the Media Encoder
      7m 12s
    2. Using the Media Encoder to output from After Effects
      3m 1s

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