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Using Illustrator to create assets for After Effects

New Here ,
Aug 05, 2020 Aug 05, 2020

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So I am new to Illustrator, but I wanted to use it to make assets to use in order to learn After Effects. 

I made a drawing in sections in order to import them to AE. I grouped the items that needed to be grouped and let free the items that I would want to animate. I saved the file as a transparent background. When I imported it into AE, the back ground was transparent, but the items were fixed and could not be moved or adjusted independently. How do I separate the items in either AI or AE so that I can animate the independent parts?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Aug 05, 2020 Aug 05, 2020

Guidelines for creating Illustrator artwork for video production:

1. If you do not use one of the templates for Video that contain two overlapping artboards all artwork must reside completely inside the main artboard

2. Only one artboard is supported when importing AI files as a compositions

3, Artboards should conform to standard video frame sizes and artboards should always be an even number of pixels high and wide

4. Snap to Pixel should always be turned on in the View menu and Pixel Previews

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LEGEND ,
Aug 05, 2020 Aug 05, 2020

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AE doesn't care for groups, only layrs. You hjave to educate yourself about these basic concepts. Doing so would in fact be crucial to understand the AI side of things as well, as layers, sub-layers, groups and sub-groups have specific meanings and handling properties there as well. Read the AI online help on the matter.

 

Mylenium

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Community Expert ,
Aug 05, 2020 Aug 05, 2020

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Guidelines for creating Illustrator artwork for video production:

1. If you do not use one of the templates for Video that contain two overlapping artboards all artwork must reside completely inside the main artboard

2. Only one artboard is supported when importing AI files as a compositions

3, Artboards should conform to standard video frame sizes and artboards should always be an even number of pixels high and wide

4. Snap to Pixel should always be turned on in the View menu and Pixel Previews should always be checked to verify that horizontal and vertical edges are lined up with the Pixel Grid. 

5. 1 point (1 pixel) strokes are unadvisable for video. If you must use a stroke that is only one pixel you must make sure that it is precisely aligned on the pixel grid and you must verify the position in After Effects or the lines will change color and thickness

6. All elements that you want to animate must be on separate first-tier illustrator layers.

7. No Raster effects like drop shadow should be used in Illustrator

8. Blend modes between layers will not migrate to After Effects - you will have to manually set the appropriate blend mode in the After Effects timeline

9. Blend modes between elements on the same layer will show up in After Effects

10. Groups and nested layers will show up as a single layer and cannot be separated in After Effects 

11. If you intend to convert Illustrator files to Shape layers, and there are only two reasons to ever do that, you must not use any custom brushes or gradient fills if you want to end up with anything more than gray shapes and a mess

12. It is usually to position vector artwork in its hero or resting position in Illustrator so that is properly lined up with the pixel grid and everything is right where it should be

13. Always double check your artwork with Pixel Preview turned on and magnify at least 400% if you have fine detail and thin lines

14. If thin lines are going to be moving in the AE comp, make sure that they are 2 to 3 points thick to avoid flickering and color changes when they move

15. Make sure that you leave a little room for colors to compress, 100% saturation and 100% Brightness right next to black, especially if it is black text against a white background, are going to be very difficult to compress for distribution. The same goes for 100% any color against 100% any other color. Cut the brightness or Saturation down a little bit to give the colors a chance to compress 

16. Make sure that the document color space is set to RGB and make sure that PDF compatible file is checked when you save your work

 

I hope some of this helps. We have to help folks all the time with AI to AE problems and most of them can be avoided by properly preparing the artwork in the first place.

 

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New Here ,
Feb 08, 2023 Feb 08, 2023

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Can you tell me what the two reasons are to convert Illustrator files to Shape layers? Why is not converting them generally better? What about when using the puppet tool and needing to continuously rasterize? That doesn't seem to work.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 08, 2023 Feb 08, 2023

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The only reason to ever convert an Illustrator layer (vector layer) to a shape layer is to extrude the layer using the C4D or new 3D rendering engine, use shape layer animators, or animate the actual path. There is no advantage, but there are disadvantages like Brush Strokes, Gradients, Clipping, Rastor effects, and a bunch of other design features in Illustrator that are not supported when you convert to shape layers. Any layer you plan on converting should be specifically designed for the conversion. No Brushes applied, no gradients, no shape blends, very few or, better yet, only one path per layer you are going to convert, and pixel preview and snap to pixel turned on when you are designing. 

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New Here ,
Feb 09, 2023 Feb 09, 2023

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Thanks so much Rick. This is super helpful. So would you suggest converting to shape layers when using the puppet tool? Or just leave it and don't worry about using continuously rasterize if you're not scaling it up? (It seems like sometimes continuously rasterize works with puppet pins, and sometimes it doesn't.)

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Community Expert ,
Feb 09, 2023 Feb 09, 2023

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No need. The Puppet Tool rasterizes vector layers and creates a mesh on the frame where you apply the first pin. The layer cannot have any transform animations, or the mesh will break. You have to animate position, scale, and rotation after you select all of the layers with Puppet Pin animations, pre-compose, then put your animated puppet in the scene.

 

I hope this helps. 

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