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Imported Illustrator shapes with gradients turning gray after creating shapes from vector layer in After Effects

New Here ,
Dec 06, 2014 Dec 06, 2014

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Hello,

I imported an Illustrator file with different shapes with gradients into After Effects. When I create shapes from the vector layers the shapes are turning gray and the gradients are lost.

I already found some thing which helped others to solve this problem but I already checked them but it still doesn't work:

  • All used colors are process colors
  • The document color profile is RGB
  • every shape is on its own layer
  • I created the .ai with the Video and Film template
  • I created a PDF compatible file

I would be very happy if anybody could help me. Recreating the gradient in After Effects is not a solution for me. 🙂

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Beginner , Oct 17, 2018 Oct 17, 2018

Hey all,

I ran into the same problem regarding the gradients from Illustrator to AE and at times it might be necessary to import Illustrator files and convert them to shape layers. For example if you want to render an SVG animation.

I haven't tried this yet, but a friend just referred me to the Overlord After Effect add-on by BattleAxe https://www.battleaxe.co/overlord

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Battle Axe in any way, nor do I know the creators. I'm just sharing this because it might be

...

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Dec 06, 2014 Dec 06, 2014

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The command to create shapes from vector graphics does not preserve gradients or many other aspects of an Illustrator document.

The bits of advice that you mention are related to importing Illustrator documents; they have nothing to do with this conversion to shape layers.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 06, 2014 Dec 06, 2014

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Recreating the gradient in AE is the only solution unless you can use the original illustrator asset. There are only a few things that you can do with a shape layer that you can't do with an illustrator layer. If you absolutely must have your gradients AI assets converted to shape layers you'll have to use the Shape Layer gradient tools to do so. You can almost do the same things, the workflow is just slightly different.

A detailed explanation of what you are trying to achieve would help a bunch. I've never found a design problem that I could not resolve in AE but I have no idea what you are trying to accomplish.

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New Here ,
Jul 09, 2017 Jul 09, 2017

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So If I have to animate few characters made in illustrator with gradients, I have to remake all gradient in after effects?

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Community Expert ,
Jul 09, 2017 Jul 09, 2017

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No... The only reason to turn an Illustrator layer into a shape layer is to use shape layer animators available under the add button in the shape layers or if you have to actually animate the path that make the shape. You don't need to convert to shapes unless you are using these animators or trying to extrude the layer or you are animating the path.

Just converting a vector file to a shape does not gain you anything other than these features. If you are doing it because you think it is the right thing to do or that you will gain something in the way of quality you are just wasting your time. You also loose a lot of features that can be very helpful when designing characters. Fancy gradients and custom strokes are two of the biggest losses.

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New Here ,
Mar 21, 2018 Mar 21, 2018

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Just want to point out that it can be necessary to create shapes from layers when you're working with animations for apps and code.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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How come almost 10 years later this issue has not been resolved? These two adobe products that can't handle the same file type, that you literally invented... how discouraging.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 17, 2018 Oct 17, 2018

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Hey all,

I ran into the same problem regarding the gradients from Illustrator to AE and at times it might be necessary to import Illustrator files and convert them to shape layers. For example if you want to render an SVG animation.

I haven't tried this yet, but a friend just referred me to the Overlord After Effect add-on by BattleAxe https://www.battleaxe.co/overlord

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Battle Axe in any way, nor do I know the creators. I'm just sharing this because it might be helpful to someone.)

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Explorer ,
Nov 11, 2019 Nov 11, 2019

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logged in just to thank you.

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New Here ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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Logged in to thank you as well. Wonderful. some gradients that were rotated didn't work, but i followed instructions and re-drew the line and it worked.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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I use the overlord plugin all the time it is very helpful. It suports linear and radial gradients as well as text layer editability.

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Explorer ,
Feb 08, 2019 Feb 08, 2019

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I'm having this same issue. I swear I've gotten gradient strokes to import into AE before, but I've tried everything, and not getting them to import in 2019. I do have the Overlord extension, and it seems import them fine if you have that, unfortunately I'm making a tutorial so that won't work in this case.

The one other solution I can offer, is if you're just doing something like you want to use Trim Paths in AE, you can import the layer, convert it to shapes, apply trim paths to the greyed out shapes, and use that layer as an alpha matte to your original layer with the gradients. (be sure to continuously rasterize the AE layer.

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New Here ,
Sep 28, 2020 Sep 28, 2020

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Thank you so much!!!!! This helped me so much. You are a true hero!! That's all I really wanted to use was trim paths. Plus it may work with the other features as well. Not sure as I don't need to do anything else. 

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New Here ,
Sep 30, 2021 Sep 30, 2021

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Hi. Can you calrify how i do this please?

 

Shoudl the greyed shaped be above the gradient layer? This doesnt seem to be working for me.

 

Any help would be great! Thanks

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New Here ,
Nov 05, 2020 Nov 05, 2020

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Hey! I was facing the same issue for quite some time and thought I'd need to recreate the gradient again but there is a way! I fixed it by applying a gradient overlay over the vector shape, found under layer styles > Gradient Overlay. If you want to apply the gradient as a fill, apply the gradient overlay on the shape layer itself and if you want it as a stroke, copy and paste the gradient overlay effect onto the shape path. You can carry on copy pasting the effect on any path/shape similarly. I hope it helps! 

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New Here ,
Jan 10, 2022 Jan 10, 2022

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just use overload plugin

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Community Expert ,
Jan 10, 2022 Jan 10, 2022

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The name is Overlord, but yes, it's a great solution to this longtime workflow issue.
https://www.battleaxe.co/overlord

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Explorer ,
Dec 01, 2020 Dec 01, 2020

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I had some spot colors, once I switched them to process colors all my gradients came in just fine, maybe that will help!

 

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New Here ,
Aug 27, 2022 Aug 27, 2022

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I also run into the same kinda problem.. and I actually solved it surprisingly, I first download a character online and re-created the whole thing again, but I was still maintaining the gradients from the character which was used for the shadow link to the character https://www.instagram.com/p/Chs0-GXszF8/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link I imported it to After Effect when I was done with the Layering, but the shadows weren't showing as it shows on illustrator, which was the gradients. I did all the necessary changes, changing the color mode to RGB same as the illustrator, and still didn't work. My research brought me here and as l was reading the replies it hit my mind to try something out by changing the blending mode, I did it and it worked. I literally got the shadows showing exactly as it was in illustrator, by changing the blending mode to 

"multiply"

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Community Expert ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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If you have a very complex Illustrator layer that needs to be converted to a shape layer, you can bring the file into Adobe XD and immediately export it as an After Effects project. If the AI file has only one or two layers that need to be converted, the most efficient approach is to remove those other layers first.

 

Here's the workflow. 

  1. Clean up your AI file
  2. Launch Adobe XD and choose New File
  3. From the file menu, choose Import and select your cleaned-up AI file
  4. Before doing anything else, choose File/Export/After Effects
  5. After Effects will open if it is not open already, and a new comp will be created with every element of the AI file as a vector layer that you can animate

 

That's it. To make this workflow efficient, you need to make sure that any layers that do not need to be converted to shape layers so you can use shape layer animators or extrude them or animate the paths have been removed. You can easily end up with a couple hundred layers and dozens of nested comps if you import complex files.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 16, 2023 Nov 16, 2023

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A completely free and efficient fix for importing shapes with gradients is:
Open vector file in Figma -> Use free AEUX plugin -> Send to  After Effects.

You might need to readjust some gradients in Figma, but it's way better than managing all of them in AE. 
My trick is to use solid colors in Illustrator and recreate the shades in Figma, with a screenshot reference.
You don't need the battleaxe overlord paid plugin.

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New Here ,
Apr 11, 2024 Apr 11, 2024

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A genius solution , Thank you so much 

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Enthusiast ,
13 hours ago 13 hours ago

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LATEST

I discovered an interesting bug the other day (April 2024) when importing an AI file with gradients into AE. The answer was to save the AI file as an old version - I used Illustrator Version 8, and that seemed to work! Here's the bug report I filed with the details of the problem - and solution:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/after-effects-bugs/glitches-holes-appearing-on-imported-illustrator-f...

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