Animating Adobe Illustrator files in Adobe After Effects is a daily activity for many motion graphic artists. Setting up your Adobe Illustrator files correctly allows for a cost-savings efficient workflow between Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects.
Have you ever needed to take an artists design created using Adobe Illustrator and animate it? A few months back I was taking a five page info-graphic document and creating an animated graphic that would play on a 15 foot wall at a large convention. I had a very tight deadline and the process was taking way too long. That’s when I stumbled upon a workflow between Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects that allowed me to do a basic animation of all five pages in one day. This time-saving workflow was the only reason the project was finished on-time.
Setting up your Adobe Illustrator files for animation using Adobe After Effects works for single icon animations such as a logo as well as being incredibly helpful for larger animations such as info-graphics. Since using this workflow we’ve noticed a dramatic increase in time savings; it’s an easy process to learn and the benefits of learning it cannot be understated. The setup process begins inside of Adobe Illustrator and is very simple and straight forward.
Inside of Adobe Illustrator begin by mentally deconstructing the artwork you are going to animate, in this case we are using the new Studio School logo for an upcoming Saga Studios produced filmmaking web series. I know that I will want to animate the text, film reel, and the lines surrounding the film reel separate from each-other, so I’ve placed them all into their own parent layers. The reason each element has it’s own parent layer in Adobe Illustrator is that when bringing the AI files into Adobe After Effects the layers will become their own separate vector objects.
There are two changes I want to make to this Adobe Illustrator file before importing into Adobe After Effects. I want to make, “Studio” and “School”, as-well-as the two lines below the words their own layers so they can all be animated separately. Once I’ve done that I’ll save the file and it’s ready to be imported into Adobe After Effects.
Inside of Adobe After Effects animating Adobe Illustrator files becomes very simple. Having setup the Adobe Illustrator file correctly ahead of time all we need to do is import the AI file as a new comp and we can begin the process of animating.
Inside of Adobe After Effects click, “File – Import – Files…”, once the dialogue box opens select your AI file. After selecting the Adobe Illustrator file you previously setup make sure to open the, “Import As“, drop-down that says footage, and choose, “Composition – Retain Layer Sizes“, this will create the proper bounding box around each element. After clicking import you’ll notice there is now a composition inside of Adobe After Effects titled the same as your Adobe Illustrator file. Each layer imports from Adobe Illustrator as vector art named the same as the parent layers created earlier. Be sure to turn on, “Continuously Rasterize“, for each layer so that you retain full quality if you scale up the image.
Now you’re ready to animate, it’s that simple. Animating Adobe Illustrator files inside of Adobe After Effects simply requires a small about of forethought on the part of the animator in order to save precious time, work more effectively and efficiently. If there are any other Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects tips-and-tricks you’d like to know about please let us know in the comment section, or if there is anything I missed here please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.