Importing Files from Illustrator to After Effects

Free Video Tutorial and Guide

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you three ways to migrate your artwork from Adobe Illustrator into Adobe After Effects.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you three ways to migrate your artwork from Adobe Illustrator into Adobe After Effects.

We'll compare capabilities and results and using Adobe XD and battle axes. Popular overlord extension to finish up, we'll take a brief look at the direct import from Illustrator into After Effects.

Video Transcription

Hello, this is Eugene Peterson from Noble Desktop. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you three ways to migrate your artwork from Adobe Illustrator into Adobe After Effects we’ll compare capabilities and results and using Adobe XD and battle axes. Popular overlord extension to finish up, we'll take a brief look at the direct import from Illustrator into After Effects.

For more on the direct import check out using Adobe Illustrator files in After Effects on the Noble Desktop YouTube channel, you are row in the description below to test XD and overlord will use a simple file comprised of text and shapes and to test illustrator will use a file that is a veritable file. Import obstacle course and then we'll summarize the results in a table at the end of the video.

Adobe Experience Design or XD, is a vector based user experience design tool enabling website, wire framing and creating click through prototypes. It supports previewing the resulting work directly on mobile devices. So it may be a surprise that XD can import illustrator files and then actually export them into after effects for the XD demo. We'll start in Illustrator and I'll go over a few qualities of the file.

One I'd like to point out is this is one large text object. You might see this type of style frame for companies that work in highly regulated environments such as finance or pharma. Also, these slides tend to be edited during production, so it would be beneficial to have one large text object rather than have it broken down by line.

And then just for the test, we'll include a rectangle and ellipse and a polygon triangle. Three parametric objects. Okay, so let's go to XD. Well, click on the new file button and we'll go to file import keyboard shortcut shift control I on the Mac shift command I and we'll find the file we were just looking at. Okay. Notice the positioning of the three parametric objects.

It's seemed to have moved a little bit. Okay. Will select everything. So select all or keyboard shortcut control eight and then we'll go to file export after effects, keyboard shortcut control, alt f or command option F. This will actually start after effects. Okay, here we are in after effects. And yeah, the three parametric objects are still positioned off compared to the illustrator file.

But we do have one live text object that can be edited in a video as needed. And also this is live. Okay. And then let's just take the three parametric objects. I'll move them over using my right arrow key and notice that these are also live objects. They can be edited, right? So let's just pick some quick coloring here.

Yes. And let let's make this a little bigger. So there you go. These are live objects in after effects. One thing to comment that if there's any kerning on this text, it'll break up the text object. It won't be this one neat paragraph style text. Also note that this is a one way export from XD into after effects.

There's no going back to Illustrator with this workflow and also there is no going back to XD in this workflow. So this is a one time export XD does a really great job of importing the area. Text This one object overlord can do this as well and to do this directly from illustrator, use copy and paste and paste directly into after effects.

Battle AX dramatically describes the Overlord plugin as a mystical portal between Illustrator and after effects back on Earth. What this useful plugin facilitates is the on the fly two way transfer of shapes, text and more between these two mainstays. Let's start in illustrator window extensions and Overlord. To bring up the overlord panel, we have to do the same thing in after effects.

So window extensions overlord. Okay, the both panels need to be open for this to work. What we're going to demonstrate is the seamless round trip editing using a push pull method between these two programs what Battle X calls the Stargate. And this is only possible in Overlord. I'll make a new composition and go back to Illustrator so we'll select everything using the keyboard shortcut control a or command A on the Mac and then we'll use this handy panel to export to After Effects.

Notice this split shapes into layers that can be useful and we're going to push the selection to after effects. Okay, so here we are in after effects. I mean, a moment ago we saw that bright green screen and here we are with the entire layout and notice that it retained the naming convention and that these are live objects in after effects.

The text is live. Let's take a look at okay, the rectangle and notice this is live as well. So let's change the color and let's change the stroke color as well to blue and let's make it so you can see this is live editing. Okay, the same thing goes for the gradient. Now we can also export this back to Illustrator.

So how we do that is selecting the object push selection to a I Doby illustrator and here we are in Illustrator with the updated artwork. So this only happens in overlord. Very, very useful. Another thing we can do in overlord is export swatches to after effects. So we open the swatches panel and we can select swatches and click on Push Selected Swatches.

So that's going to create a guide layer in this little crosshatch type icon. So this is a guide layer that you can now we can now use the Eyedropper Tool to change the color. Okay. And of course, as a guide layer, it won't render in always turn it off. So yeah, a very unique collection of capabilities, very useful plugin for our direct import from Illustrator into After Effects.

We'll use this file that has quite a few interesting objects, so I'd like to call your attention to this layer mode, which has the effect of blending this blend with the background, the blend of these two dotted lines, also blending into the background. Also, there's a mesh object as well as a tightly curtained text, a spiral object that has some opacity applied to it, and then a few parametric objects similar to what we used before.

Okay, so we're going to import this into after effects. So use file, import file or the keyboard shortcut control or command I and here's our file as mentioned in the Noble Desktop video referenced earlier good ideas to use composition retain layer sizes so we'll import that and here it is perfect. Notice the layer modes are maintained and the mesh looks great.

The opacity, the kerning, all of it imported correctly. Also a good idea when working with Illustrator Files is to continuously rest arise by clicking this field here and getting that little icon. So notice these objects are not shapes, they they are illustrator layers and as such they're not editable. So we click the text here. This is a linked object to an illustrator file.

It's not editable as we saw before. The text is not live, so any edits must occur in Illustrator or you can copy and paste from Illustrator into after effects in the same manner. The layer mode, the mesh, the opacity, all other kinds of edits must happen in Illustrator. If we select the spiral and right click create create shapes from Vector Layer Notice, we get a shape that we can edit in after effects and also notice the icon changed here.

The original illustrator layer is still there, but it's hidden and we have a bonafide shape later which we can add opacity to. And there we are. Some other objects aren't as flexible. If, for example, if we wanted to edit the mesh that doesn't have a corresponding feature in after effects. So we would have to go back to Illustrator.

Let's select the mesh tool and select our mesh, and then let's change this to some other color. How about green? Okay, so we'll save that. Go back to after effects and notice it updates. So it links dynamically between the two programs, but it's a one way link. It only works from edits in Illustrator importing into after effects. I can edit something here like The Spiral and send it back to Illustrator.

Okay, so only one way. Here are the results. Tabulating the strengths and limitations of each option. In this video we highlighted what each app does best and it's clear that no app does it all. Let's review and elaborate on these features. So 100% accurate import you will remember XD and Overlord had simple test files. Only Illustrator can handle complexity like mesh objects and layer modes accurately editable text illustrated layers are not editable in after effects editable shapes.

We demoed Illustrator's ability to convert illustrator links to shapes with the right click in after effects push link to after effects XD is a one way trip push pulling to after effects only overlord can perform and color swatches. We saw that battle ax overlord handles that we didn't talk about is CC libraries which adobe illustrator and Adobe After Effects both have access to.

So you can save your swatches from Illustrator to the CC Library, Creative Cloud Library and view those in after effects. That's all for this tutorial. I hope you've enjoyed learning three ways to migrate your artwork from Adobe Illustrator into Adobe After Effects. This has been Eugene Peterson for Noble Desktop.

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