Tutorial Video - Prepping Illustrator Files for After Effects

Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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I noticed a couple of posts here recently about using Illustrator files in AE.

If you're new to using AI files in After Effects you may want to check out our tutorial video here:

https://youtu.be/rw9D9JRXpic

 

My company Noble Desktop offers in–person (NYC) and live online training and our Youtube channel has video tutorials on a variety of the software we teach. We also also cover topics like getting started in video editing and motion graphics and are currently working on a series on design concepts for Motion design.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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That's a pretty good tutorial. I would like to add a couple of Illustrator workflow techniques that you should follow to assure the maximum quality in your After Effects comp. These may be a bit obsessive/compulsive, but the suggestions will avoid a lot of common problems I see on the forums.

 

First, make sure any artboard you create in Illustrator has an even number of pixels for horizontal and vertical dimensions. Next, check the View menu and make sure that Snap To Pixel is turned on. This is critical if you are going to use any thin horizontal and vertical lines in your design. If they do not line up perfectly with the pixel grid in After Effects, they will have soft edges because of the anti-aliasing. Black 1point stroked lines easily turn 50% gray if they do not align perfectly to the pixel grid. Even numbers are always best for any shape and any stroke width. A point equals a pixel. I always set my document settings to Pixels or Points, so the displayed data makes sense for video production.

 

Make sure all of your artwork fits inside the boundaries of the artboard. If you are not using a video format template, make sure there is only one Artboard in your AI file. 

 

Set the view magnification (bottom left corner of Illustrator) to at least 200% and turn on Pixel Preview in the View menu as a final check of your artwork. If you do not turn on Pixel Preview and check a magnified view, you can have problems. Carefully check for issues with Aliased lines.

 

I also position and size all layers in their Hero positions. This sometimes makes for a strange-looking AI file, but when you import the AI file as a composition retaining layer size, all layers will be in their proper at rest position, perfectly lined up with the pixel grid, and ready to animate. All you have to do is move down the timeline and set transform keyframes where the layers are supposed to end up, then work backward or forward from there to animate them into the proper position. This can be a huge time saver.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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Make sure all of your artwork fits inside the boundaries of the artboard. If you are not using a video format template, make sure there is only one Artboard in your AI file. 
I asume you mean inside the boundaries of the outer artboard

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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Yes. If there is only one Artboard and a shape extends outside the boundaries, After Effects will cut off the shape at the edge of the artboard.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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I know.

Thats why I always make my AI files for AE with two overlapping artboards.

I don't think we mentioned that in the tutorial though. I have to do an add–on video for that.

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