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Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible

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Brett Underhill
Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:09:58 pm
Last Edited By Brett Underhill on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:27:55 pm

I'm working on a project in AE CC, using another artist's Illustrator files. The artwork looks fine when I import it into After Effects as a composition, but when I "Create Shapes from Vector Layers" many of the fills become either transparent or grey (I can still see the path).

The AI art contains clipping masks and gradients. Is this the culprit? I've tried separating each path onto a separate layer and I get "an empty of unsupported content" error. I've made sure that the AI file is RGB. The only lead I've found is that it might have something to do with "spot colors" for print but I can't find any info on converting these. I've tried exporting them as eps files, but have similar problems, I suspect it's the gradients and clipping masks used in illustrator. Can Illustrator gradients be retained at all as an After Effects shape path?

Any ideas or other possible causes?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:29:12 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:31:00 pm

Change the fill color on the shapes to something other than gray. Play with the shape layer controls. You will find the right one.

If I'm missing your point, and you want to create something that looks just like the Illustrator layers, then use the Illustrator layers.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Brett Underhill
Re: Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:38:04 pm

I can see the fill color as grey in AE, but I don't have time (nor do I care to) go back into each of the 30-40 paths (and as many separate gradients) per character and recreate each fill. I was hoping the fills would translate from AI to AE.

I guess I won't be able to use the editable vector paths in AE.

Thanks for the help all the same.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:52:38 pm

Since we don't know how you're using this stuff, it's impossible to tell if you should just give up or not. Is there something wrong with just using the Illustrator layers?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Brett Underhill
Re: Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 6:09:29 pm

I am doing some character animation using Illustrator vector art that was provided to me by a client. I was hoping to break up the art in After Effects and have the editable paths available to animate as well (which I typically do with my own paths/shape layers created in AE). However, almost every AI path contains a gradient, which it doesn't seem will carry over when I convert the AI file into Shapes in AE.

It's fine, I will just use the flat Illustrator files and break up the layers accordingly in Illustrator before I bring them into AE. For my own work, I like having the paths available to animate, but I will just have to work around that.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 9:04:36 pm

You could also take the file into Illustrator and make your own layer for each letter. That could be easier. I hardly know Illustrator, but I'm able to do it.

Hard-core Illustrator folks don't seem to grasp the important role of layers in AE.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Brett Underhill
Re: Illustrator Shapes to After Effects Vectors Turning Grey or Invisible
on Jan 8, 2016 at 9:19:29 pm

I used to know illustrator ok, but found it's so much easier and faster to create every vector asset within AE. When I say "character" I don't mean text, I mean characters with mouths, eyes, noses, etc. So there are 30-40 AI Layers for each character, and each layer contains a gradient or a transparency that won't easily translate into AE.

I'm just going to break up each character accordingly in AI and bring that in to AE. Tedious, but easier than re-creating each gradient. Especially since the client thought it would be easier to hand off a massive AI file with 60-70 different character illustrations, each with 30-40 layers a piece, all on one single layer for me to sort through and organize. Usually it's less work for me when someone else creates the assets, but I'm really thinking of hiring an intern today.


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