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Keep Ai-names of sublayers when Creating Shapes from Vector Layer

Enthusiast ,
Mar 14, 2023 Mar 14, 2023

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I love Create Shapes from Vector Layer.

But, to keep things organized, it would be nice when Ae keeps the names I give paths / sublayers in Adobe Illustrator.

 

Currently paths are renamed Path 1, Path 2, Path 3. Not very descriptive.

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Import and export , UI and UX

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3 Comments
Community Expert ,
Mar 14, 2023 Mar 14, 2023

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The only reasons to convert a vector layer to a shape layer are:

  • You need to extrude the shape using a different 3D rendering engine
  • You need to animate an actual vector path
  • You need to use a vector path as a motion path
  • You need to use Shape Layer animators
  • You need to animate individual fill or stroke colors on multiple shapes on a single layer
  • You need to create nulls from paths
  • and maybe a couple more that I missed.

You don't get better performance. Most of the time, it is worse. Gradients, Brushes, Blends, and a bunch of other AI tools are not supported directly, 

 

More than 90% of the. Vector Layers that I convert to shape layers are a single path with a simple stroke or fill. 

 

If you really must convert a bunch of shapes on the same layer, then I suggest that you simplify as much as you can.  It's not that retaining more than the layer name would not be a good idea; it's just that converting a layer with a couple of dozen paths on it is not usually an efficient workflow.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 16, 2023 Mar 16, 2023

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Thanks for your overthinking (without noticable arguments ;-).

I still want it.

Why shouldn't you? The information is available - why throw it away?

Do you like your carefully named layers to be called Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3 etc?

So why not respect given names, and keep the numbered paths when the default name is not changed (as in your case)?

 

(If you like to know why I came up with this question: I have this repeating project where I animate travel routes, which I draw on a map in Adobe Illustrator. I like to draw a separate path for each travel day or trip, and combine those in 1 layer, so I can make use of Trim Paths in Ae to animatie the whole route, while keeping the separate paths (which I give a distinctive color each), in the original layer as a reference.

And more: when animating vector art, it is nice to have descriptive names for paths on the same layer.) 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 16, 2023 Mar 16, 2023

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I have done hundreds of that type of project. Here's my workflow; my AI file has layers for the reveals that are all named something like "Route 66 Track Matte" for revealing the "Route 66 - Highlight" layer in the AI file. The "Route 66 Track Matte" would be a simple path with a stroke. It would be the layer that I convert to a Shape layer so I could reveal the highlighted copy of Route 66, use the path as a motion path for a "Car" layer(I have an easy trick for that), or reveal other parts of the layer.  Each Track Matte layer only contains only simple stroked paths. The strokes are all the same color, and they are centered over the parts I need to reveal or animate.

 

I have a dozen other techniques that simplify the workflow, allow me to reveal paths with brushes applied, and even morph layers using AI blends. When the Ability to convert Vector layers was introduced, it changed projects from days to hours. As long as you are smart with the prep, there is no reason to convert complex layers with multiple paths to shape layers for almost every design I have ever seen.

 

The trick for using a vector layer converted to a shape layer path as a motion path is to copy the path, I usually just set a single keyframe and cut it, then paste it to the position property of the layer you want to move. The motion path will be offset because the Anchor Point for Vector Layers converted to shape layers is based on the layer size and the anchor point for a shape layer is always 0, 0. The fix is to add a null to the default comp center, parent the moving path that is in the wrong position to the null, then move the null to the top left corner of the comp (0, 0). The motion path will now perfectly align with the converted shape layer path as long as you have not fiddled with the transforms of the original vector layer.

 

Simplifying the workflow in any animation app almost always involves more layers instead of more things on one layer.

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