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AI Paths to AE Position Property

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Eric Perry
AI Paths to AE Position Property
on Jan 15, 2014 at 7:07:36 pm

Hey guys, been looking for an efficient solution to my problem for over a week now.

Here is my goal: To import an illustrator file with multiple layers and in those layers multiple paths into After Effects. Use the Generate Stroke effect to reveal the lines from that illustrator file. Then use the paths from the illustrator file as a "track" for an image of a hand to follow so that it looks like the hand is drawing the image.

Here is where I'm at:
I can import the AI files just fine. I can mass copy and paste the path properties and paste them on the AI layer that I want to apply the stroke effect to. Only problem is, the masks are all in the right position in relation to each other, but they don't line up with the image. I can select them all and re align them very quickly.
The image below shows the AI file imported into AE, and then directly copied the paths from AI to the AI layer in AE. Masks are in yellow AI outline is in black. The masks are suppose to line up with the Black. I have to manually move the masks to line up.

I have a similar issue with the path to position aspect for the hand image. I've done some research and found that I have to copy each individual path from Illustrator and go to the position property for the image of the hand and paste it there. The problem I'm having is that the paths don't automatically line up with the AI image. Leaving me to highlight the key frames and manually line them up. In addition to this, when I copy and paste several paths (each individually) and apply them to the position property, they don't align in respect to each other like they did with the masks created for the Stroke effect. Some key frames align properly, and some just will back track. If you run into one that back tracks it will cause other paths to come out of alignment.

In this example I have 3 paths copied over (the stroke effect above the hand is real time with the drawing hand). I copied each path individually from AI and pasted it to the position property in AE for the hand drawing image. The anchor point has been changed to to the tip of the pencil, and the comp size for the hand is the same as the main comp size. And the main comp size is the same at the AI image size. You can see that when pasted in, it aligns similarly to the masks in the previous image. The issue here is that the second path I copied didn't align properly and caused the third path to come out of alignment.

Here is the image lined up. You can see that the third path (the top line) doesn't line up. This is due to the second path randomly back tracking onto the first.

Does anyone know of an efficient way to do this effect? I can't spend a lot of time on this effect, as I have upwards to 25 to do for one project.

Again, I'm trying to take the information created in the illustrator file (Image, paths) import them into AE so that I can reveal the lines, while having an object follow the paths created in AI to auto animate.

Thanks again.

Working with CS6, and CS5.

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Anders Hattne
Re: AI Paths to AE Position Property
on Jan 16, 2014 at 11:47:59 pm

I'm sorry to say but your description of the problem is way longer than I have patience to read. But from what I gather, all you have to do is copy the first mask shape, paste it into a nulls position property, copy the next mask and past it in after the null's last position keyframe and so on, then turn all keyframes but the first and last into roving leyframes. Then parent the hand to the null that follows the mask shape.

BUT considering the shape you are drawing is simple I would approximate the motion and not bother with it being exact, no one would notice really.

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Eric Perry
Re: AI Paths to AE Position Property
on Jan 17, 2014 at 12:03:45 am

Thanks for your response. The process your described is exactly what I was doing. I found that when I pasted those paths they pasted abnormally.

The original post goes into detail of what is happening and what I'm trying to do. The key thing for this is efficiency, as I have several intricate drawings to do this effect to.

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