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animating an arrow from Illustrator into After Effects

Community Beginner ,
Sep 07, 2023 Sep 07, 2023

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Dear team

I have exploring simple animation of arrows in After Effects using trim paths.

I have created a simple Illustrator artifact that connects a couple of boxes with arrows.

The arrow in Illustrator has been created using a stroke with the end of the stroke being an arrow.

 

However, i am unable to get it to animate the right way in After Effects. The arrow and line/stroke appear disjointed. The effect that i have achieved is as follows:

https://imgur.com/a/DjI8C1e

 

Can you please guide me where i am going wrong.

 

Thank you for your time!

 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 07, 2023 Sep 07, 2023

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My After Effects interface to achieve this is as follows:

29632062lql3_0-1694146705710.png

 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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Here's the workflow:

  1. Select the Contents/Shape 1/Path 1/Path in the timeline and make sure it is highlighted
  2. Open Window/Create Nulls From Paths.jsx and select Trace Paths to generate a null that follows the path
  3. Select the Trace Shape Layer 1: Path 1 [1.1] null and press the U key to reveal the Trace Path/Progress keyframes and turn off Loop in the Effects Control Panel
  4. Add Trim Paths to the Shape Layer/Contents/Shape 1 and reveal the Trim Paths/End property
  5. Reveal the Parent/Link column in the timeline by pressing Shift + F4
  6. Drag the pickwhip in the parent link column from the Trim Paths/End property to the Null/Trace Path/Progress property
  7. Add your AI arrow file to the timeline
  8. Make sure that the Anchor Point is right on the end, not the point, of the arrow and the arrow is pointing to the right and horizontal.
  9. Press the Shift Key and Parent Arrow layer to the Shape layer Null
  10. Adjust the timing of the Progress keyframes to draw on the line and make the arrow follow the path

That's it. That should get you started. 

RickGerard_0-1694157680491.gif

 

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LEGEND ,
Sep 07, 2023 Sep 07, 2023

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Of course you will need to animate the arrowheads position as well. Trim paths doesn't do any of this by itself. Either simply create matching keyframes or create a Null that follows the trim paths and parent the arrowhead to it.

 

Mylenium

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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Thank you, Mylenium for weighing in.

Just for clarity, the arrowhead is not a separate element in Illustrator. It is a part of the stroke, as follows:

29632062lql3_0-1694157594416.png

 

With regard to the following:

Either simply create matching keyframes or create a Null that follows the trim paths and parent the arrowhead to it.

 

Would you please be able to break down or point me to resources that will help me figure the approach that you are recommending.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Explorer ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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Hi 🙂

Unfortutatenly, you will have to separate the arrow shape from the line. AE does not have the option for line endings like arrows. There are several ways to make an animated arrow in AE – I usually do it the way it is done in this tutorial (just replace the plane with an arrow ;)):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZL6pd5CMoU

So to animate an object along a path in After Effects you first have to actually create that path with the pen tool. Now copy the path, go to the 'Position' parameter for your object (in this case it's a little plane graphic) and paste it to the position parameter. After Effects will convert the ...

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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Dear Melanie

 

Thank you for sharing the video. I am wondering how do i group the line and arrowhead together though?

 

Thanks

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Explorer ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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I'm sorry to tell you, but you can't. They have to be on separate layers. Everything else makes it too much complicated. Maybe this one here is more what you are looking for:
https://youtu.be/748l7DIU4bQ?si=zbDP966KzNQjpJnd&t=404

 

Learn how to animate expressive typography in After Effects ►https://domestika.sjv.io/oqnJBY ►https://domestika.sjv.io/y2rooy Get an extra 10% off of courses with the code MANUEL_DOES_MOTION-10 In this After Effects tutorial, I'll show you some crazy trim paths tricks. We'll cover the basics ...

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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Got it. Thank you.

This looks good. But my use case is a bit different.

I have two boxes - box A and box B, with box A points to box B.

I want the arrow along with the line to grow from box A and terminate at box B.

 

Whereas in the video the whole arrow and the line moves along a path.

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Explorer ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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Ah ok, got it. So you probably only have to animate the arrow shape, not the line. This is quite simple. Just two position keyframes. One at the start of the line and one at the end. 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 13, 2023 Sep 13, 2023

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I would like bot the line and the arrowhead to grow from box A and terminate a box B.

I'm sorry but i can't quite fathom how do i go about it. Can you point me to some resource for my use case.

 

Thank you!

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Explorer ,
Sep 15, 2023 Sep 15, 2023

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Hi again 🙂

I'm very sorry that you could not find any help within the previous resources sent. I think it is some very basic stuff you are asking for and all the answers you need to achieve the result you want are already given within the thread with several different options to find the solution.

It is not very difficult, you just have to separate the line from the arrow head, so you have two different layers.

First you animate the path using Trim path, as you already did. Since your line is straight, you don't need any difficult animation setups for the arrow head. Just let it move from position A to position B, using the same position and easing for the keyframes in the timeline. If you want the arrow head to come in first, you could for example use some simple scale. Please find an example for the setup attached.

Maybe it would be very helpful for you to watch a few tutorials on the basics of AE and/or keyframe animation to better understand what's going on.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 02, 2023 Oct 02, 2023

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LATEST

Dear team

 

I was finally able to get this to work using the guidance in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp40MieeFDM

 

Thank you for your time and patience in helping me figure this. 🙂

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LEGEND ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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quote

how do i group the line and arrowhead together though?

 

That's what pre-composing is for. You may want to read the online help on some of these basics. It's never a good idea to expect program B to work like program A, which is basically what you are doing here. You expect AE to work like AI and thus run into all these issues because they are actually quite different.

 

Mylenium

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