Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video Converting imported vector graphics from Illustrator to shape layers, part of After Effects CS6 New Features Overview.
In previous versions of After Effects, converting vector graphics from an Illustrator file to After Effects Shape layers is a very tedious process. Requiring much manual copying and pasting of paths. In After Effects CS6, this process is automatic. Let's see how it's done. Start in the importing project and go to File > Import File and choose AquaLogo.ai from the Footage folder.
Click OK. Let's create a new composition based on this item by dragging it down to the New Composition icon. And I'll decrease the Magnification a bit so that we can see the entire thing on this relatively small display. And I'll run Preview, even though this is a still, just that you can see that it is in fact static. What we want to do is use some of the Auto Animating Wiggles from Shape layers to animate these logos. Right-click or Control-click on Mac OS, and choose Create Shapes from Vector Layer.
This'll take a few seconds depending on the complexity of the Illustrator file. And there we go, we now have an Aqua Logo outlines Shape layer. The Visibility Switch for it, the Eyeball Switch, is active and After Effects has turned off the Visibility Switch for the Illustrator layer. It assumes that we don't want to use this anymore. But it's still present in case we do. I'll go ahead and delete it from the composition by selecting it and hitting Delete. There. Now, let's do something relatively simple, and perhaps a little bit garish, by causing all of the paths in the Shape layer to wiggle. Select Contents, then choose from the Add menu, Wiggle Transform. After Effects adds the Wiggle Transform Group at the bottom of all of the groups containing the paths.
Notice that there are quite a lot of them. This would have been a lot of tedious copying and pasting of paths if we have 194 of them in here. I'll scroll down a little bit. Expand the Wiggle Transform Group, and actually leave those values at their defaults. And it's here in transform where we tell After Effects which of the transformation properties to wiggle or randomize. Let's wiggle the position just a little bit.
By five in the y, and five in the x, and let's also have it wiggle the scale by 5%. So now, the maximum deviation for the wiggle will be five pixels in any direction and the maximum wiggle in the scale. Maximum variation in scale will be 5%. And let's go ahead and run previews. Click the Ram Preview button, and there every path in the entire Shape layer is being wiggled independently, moving in both position and scale.
I'll press the Accent key with my mouse pointer over the Composition panel to maximize it. Increase the Magnification to 100%, and let's start the Ram Preview again. This time, I'll press the 0 on the numeric keypad to start review. Well, that's a little extreme, but you can definitely see the result. I'll press the Accent key again to return the panel to it's regular size. Note that not all features in Illustrator are supported for conversion into After Effects.
For example, gradients may come over as 50% grey, and partial transparency defined in Illustrator is not converted over to After Effects. So, you may end up with completely opaque regions where you expected partial transparency because of the Illustrator opacity settings. As mentioned before, the conversion can be a little bit slow sometimes. So, if you have an Illustrator file with thousands of paths, After Effects may take a while to convert those. As you can see, it's now much easier to convert vector graphics from Illustrator files into Shape players and After Effects.
- 3D animation
- User interface changes and removed features