It's quite possible that you want to work with Illustrator files in After Effects in order to create assets that you'll incorporate into a project in Premiere Pro. This is very easy to do. In fact, this is especially easy to do, since the release of After Effects CS 6, because you can now convert an Illustrator file into a Shape Layer very, very easily.
I've got a version of this runner symbol from Adobe Illustrator all set up and this did have a glow around it, but I've taken the glow off because After Effects doesn't do a fantastic job of converting glows and semi-opaque areas of Illustrator files into Shape Layers.
I can perhaps show you an example of what I mean. I'm gonna toggle over to After Effects and I'm going to import that Illustrator file. So I'm just gonna double-click in the Project panel and let's take this Runner_logo_no_glow, and let's just open that up. And I'm gonna drag this on to the Composition button, the new Composition button to create a nice new comp that matches the dimensions.
If I set this to Fit, you can see, there it is in the middle of the screen. Now that I've got my Illustrator file imported, I can always go back to it by selecting it, and then I can go to the Edit menu and I can choose Edit Original, that's Ctrl + A or Command + A. And that's gonna fire up Illustrator and give me access to the file again.
If I make a change here, I'll make something really, really obvious, maybe I'll just draw a line across this with the paint brush. There we go. So I've got a line, I'm gonna save it, Ctrl or Command + Sand toggle back to After Effects. You can see that line has appeared updated in the project. So just bear in mind that there's a chain, this connection here because if you put this After Effects project into Premiere Pro as a dynamically linked composition, then it won't be the original Illustrator file that you'll be working with, it'll be the After Effects project. And from inside of the After Effects project you'll want to go back, Edit Original, maybe I'll just undo to remove that, Save, and toggle back again, and it disappears.
If you don't use the Edit Original command, if I just go back into Illustrator and make a change again, here we go, and toggle back, you will find that it doesn't update. You see it hasn't taken that brush stroke, and that's because After Effects wasn't primed to reload the footage. If I right-click on the footage, just select it in the bin here and choose Reload, you'll see that...Oops! Of course, nothing has happened because if I go back to Illustrator just up next to the file name, you can see I've got this little star next to the file name, it's runner_logo_no_glow.ai*, the asterisk which tells me that I haven't saved the changes. This is not dynamic link, so I'm gonna save, Ctrl or Command + S, toggle back, right-click, Reload, and there's the change.
As long as I'm working with the original Illustrator file in this way, I can go back to Illustrator and make changes to it. And there's quite a lot I can do here. If I set this to 100% view. I could perhaps get the Puppet Tool and add some little puppet pins, and you've perhaps seen tutorials of this before. It's very straightforward, jump to the beginning of my comp and then maybe hold the Ctrl key down and start adding some running. I'm not sure how good this is gonna look, but let's have a look.
Well, it's something and then maybe we can get this one, and again, I'm holding down Ctrl or Command. This is gonna look like somebody who doesn't know how to run. And let's just deselect and you can see... There you go. I've got some unbelievably terrible running. So you can animate Illustrator files in this way. And you can still go back in and Edit Original, maybe I'll get rid of that stroke again, save, Ctrl or Command + S to Save, toggle back and you can see the animation still applies.
But if I want to get more advanced control over this shape, I'm gonna need to convert into a Shape Layer, which used to be really difficult to do and got really easy in After Effects CS 6. I'm going to right-click on this AI layer and I'm gonna choose Create Shapes from Vector Layer. And now you can see the original layer is turned off and I've now got a Shape Layer that represents this, which if I just expand out, you can see, has a group and has a path and have all of this access, all of this control for the shape itself and for that path.
I can also add things like Twists, and Wiggles, and Repeaters, and Pucker & Bloat, and so on. If I put a Twist on here, for example, I can have a nice animated twisting that occurs. And all these are advanced features in After Effects that you can't apply directly to the original Illustrator file as a layer. That's perhaps a little bit too much twist, and just to ease that off a little bit.
Coincidentally, I mentioned that if you do have things like partial transparency, it doesn't necessarily translate very well. If I double-click to import and bring in the original version of this, and let's just turn that into a comp as well, you can see this version has a glow, just go back to my Selection Tool. I'm gonna right-click on this and I'm gonna again choose Create Shapes from Vector Layer. Right away, you can see the problem, and the glow actually extends a very long way from the edge of the shape, and After Effects hasn't been able to correctly translate that into a glow that it recognizes.
You'd be better off bringing in the artwork without the glow and then applying while using the Filter Effects available inside of After Effects. Once you've got assets like an Illustrator file inside an After Effects project of this kind, you can just use the project like any other asset inside of Premiere Pro. And of course, if you send files from Premiere Pro to work on in After Effects, there's no reason why you can't bring Illustrator files in and add additional content in order to create your finished composition.
Well, that's an overview of how you can bring Illustrator files into After Effects for use as part of your post production workflow. Master the Cloud.
Learn how to import Illustrator files into After Effects.
- Open your vector layer in After Effects.
- Right-click the file and choose Create Shapes From Vector File.
- Click the new vector file to add effects.
Contributors: video2brain, Maxim Jago