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Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?

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Michael GarskeCopy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 5:39:34 pm

I'm not much for illustrator so I'm hoping this is an easy one to solve.

I have a series of rectangular paths in illustrator that are filled with various colors. I know I can copy and paste the paths into After Effects as masks, but is there anyway to paste them as shapes and retain their fill color information?

Can I go through Photoshop somehow and convert the paths to layers?

Thanks in advance for your time and your knowledge. Cheers!


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Kevin CampRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 5:56:23 pm

in illustrator try moving your paths to separate layers in illustrator. an easy way to do that is to select all the paths, then click on the menu button in the upper-right corner of layers palette and choose 'release to layers (sequence)'.

then save that of as an ai file (you'll want 'pdf compatibility' checked in the window that follows the first 'save as' window).

import that into ae as a comp, and the rectangles should be on there own layers.

however, they will not be editable paths but can have 'continuously rasterize' enabled, and the fill/stroke properties should be maintained.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Walter SoykaRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 6:04:46 pm

[Kevin Camp] "however, they will not be editable paths but can have 'continuously rasterize' enabled, and the fill/stroke properties should be maintained."

You can also convert vector art to shapes [link] with Ae CS6 and CC, subject to some limitations outlined in the linked doc.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Dave LaRondeRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 6:15:02 pm

....and if they're just rectangles, why go through the bother of Illustrator in the first place? Why not just create rectangular shape layers in AE?

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


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Kevin CampRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 6:33:04 pm

[Walter Soyka] "You can also convert vector art to shapes [link] with Ae CS6 and CC, subject to some limitations outlined in the linked doc."

yet, another reason my stations' management need to let us upgrade...

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Dave LaRondeRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 7:04:27 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Feb 10, 2014 at 7:06:17 pm

[Kevin Camp] "yet, another reason my stations' management need to let us upgrade..."

Watch out for that one, Kevin. You may get what you wish for.

The group that owns the two stations I work for excitedly told us, "We're working on a really great deal with Adobe to get creative cloud! We should have a deal done in just a week or so! So go ahead, download the tryout versions, use them for your projects and you should be just fine! Isn't that just wonderful for everybody?"

Well, that was in very early September. Some of the project files came from CBS in AE v. 12... just 'cause CBS could. I don't know if stations had the choice between CS6 or CC versions; the boss, who holds all the secret passwords and secret handshakes, wouldn't have known the implications of getting one over the other.

But the tale takes a twist -- there is no marvelous deal yet. And when you move syndicated program air times around before the November book, you need new end plates for the episodic promos... so we're aced out.

Eventually the boss may say, "Screw the home office, we're getting CC ourselves!" Considering past history, I wouldn't count on that one.

At the moment, this whole subscription deal is a right royal pain in the neck for the station art director.

So be warned. You may not have all the bells & whistles, but you have something that WORKS.

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


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Walter SoykaRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 7:41:48 pm

I won't debate CC subscription in this forum, but if it's a concern, Adobe is still selling and supporting CS6 with perpetual licenses.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Dave LaRondeRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:07:37 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:21:46 pm

Yup, this is no place for CC debate.
And yes, I've tried pleading my case for CS6.

"Oh, but the group's deal for Adobe creative cloud is just around the corner! Wouldn't you rather have that?"

NO!!!! I WOULDN'T!!!

Give me something I can actually count on using for a good, long time! Something that won't go away if quarterly revenue takes a hit and the home office decides to impose a little belt-tightening!

I'm in no financial position to afford a CS6 purchase for my private home machine, so that's why I'm sticking with 5.5. It still works and it won't go away. Sure, I'd love a few more bells & whistles, but I have more pressing needs for that cash.

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


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Kevin CampRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 7:58:19 pm

yep... the ownership group that owns the stations i work for has been talking about upgrading all it's stations (i've lost count of how many, but it's over 20 now) to the same version so we can exchange files for years (at least since cs5.5 was current).

i usually point out to our IT guy or chief engineer (whichever mentions it) that we will also need to upgrade our os's before we can even install something new and we will need to upgrade our third party plugins to have the same functionality... and then i never hear anymore about it.

i guess the osx update is free now, and i think our effects machines would be fine with mavericks (though i'd need to do a full software check), but there may be issues with mavericks and fcp 7, which our promo producers are clinging to for dear life.... and even if they were ok with a switch to fcp x, there would be one more thing to have to upgrade... and they have third-party fcp plugins too.

however, i do get a little tired of having to rebuild network packages in CS4.... however that is job security, and i can rebuild their projects to be significantly easier to update.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Michael GarskeRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 10, 2014 at 11:15:56 pm
Last Edited By Michael Garske on Feb 10, 2014 at 11:25:16 pm

I see I need to do this for each individual group to get it to work. Thanks for the tip Kevin!

The only other question I have is if there is anyway to retain the opacity of each layer in after effects?

Thanks for your help. Illustrator is totally foreign to me.


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Kevin CampRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Feb 11, 2014 at 12:49:47 am
Last Edited By Kevin Camp on Feb 11, 2014 at 12:50:33 am

the original opacity for a shape in illustrator should be maintained after importing into after effects, however after effects will say the opacity is 100%...

ex: a path in ai has an opacity of 50%. when imported into ae as a comp, ae says the layer is 100%, however if you placed a layer under that ai layer, you'd see that the layer is in fact transparent.


ps, sorry for hijacking your original post.


Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Stephen PusserRe: Copy path and fill information from illustrator to after effects?
by on Dec 8, 2015 at 12:19:52 pm

I know this is an old questions, but in case anyone else is looking for the fix:

I traced a photo in AI to make paths to animate in AE

Copy and paste your path in AE
Ctrl click the layer, select effects/generate/fill (or however you choose to apply effects)
In the effects properties select "All Masks", or select ON depending on your workflow

This will fill your path.


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