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updating illustrator files with added layers

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Andy Engelkemier
updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 3:43:18 pm

Do you folks have any tricks for this?

Here's my current process. Maybe it's already as streamlined as it can be, but I thought I would ask in case this could be faster. So here goes:

example:you have an illustrator file with 5 layers. Import that into after effects as a composition so you can animate each one as a different object, and your on your way.
Now, someone says "hey, I updated that file so you'll need these other 4 layers added"

No problem. I'll just add that to my AE saved version of the illustrator file (it's in RGB instead of the CMYK most people seem to use) and I head back to AE. But they are different objects, so it doesn't update. It would only have updated pieces if I changed the existing layers that it imported.

here's the meat of the process if you're impatient
So I just import the file right over again as a new composition with new layers.
Now I copy the 4 new layers
paste them into the comp that I'm using
go back and delete the comp that I just created
Find the 4 added layers and move them into the folder in the project menu (if you don't do this step things get messy)
then I'm on my way.


SO. I'm looking to see if there is a more efficient way of getting those in. Plus, this process is a little easy to accidentally grab the wrong files. You can see if they are used or not, which helps. After you delete the newly imported file you can just show unused vector art. Assuming you don't have duplicate names for art that isn't in the same composition that Should be pretty easy. But if you have a big project, especially if you got it passed off from someone else *gasp* then it Could be messy.

Let me know what you folks think. I wish they would just have an Add feature, perhaps I'm just missing it.


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Ken Teutsch
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 3:57:06 pm

I haven't actually done this, but I understand that some people include several empty layers in their AI files...just in case. Then if something has to be added, you add it to the already existing empty layer and the file will update in AE.


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Andy Engelkemier
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 5:31:14 pm

Thank you. That's a fantastic idea. I will definitely do that moving forward. I figured the solution to the issue was a simple workaround like this.
Excellent.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 4:02:25 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jul 15, 2016 at 4:10:52 pm

You're doing everything you can do right now.

I don't know if they'll EVER be able to do what you want. The reason is right in your project pane where that folder called "(documentname) LAYERS" lives. How do you tell AE, "Hey, an Illustrator document just got updated, and you need to add some extra layers in this project"?

Sure, MAYBE it could add the new layers to that folder, but does it add them to the accompanying comp? If you created a new comp for the original Illustrator layers, how would AE know enough to add the new layers to it? How would AE know if you even WANT to add these new layers to it?

And THEN... what if you change the layer order in the Illustrator document as you add new layers to it? Does AE shuffle the new layer order throughout the project? How do you get AE to do that in comps? How does AE solve that particular rat's nest?

It gets sticky really quickly.......

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


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Andy Engelkemier
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 5:29:47 pm

you pose some great questions there, but to All of them, the answer is the same. It just needs to Ask. I would hardly call it "real" sticky. We do this in the 3D world All the time. Just go talk to an engineer.
The software just pops up and says, "hey, this thing seems out of order. what would you like to do? Ok, would you like to do that with all instanced, or would you like me to ask you about each one individually. And hey, you referenced this layer, but now I'm changing it's order. how do you want me to deal with that, asign to the new position, or follow the original layer?"
Other software already does it. And sure, not sure if it will ever happen. It's probably unlikely that they would add something like grouping in a way that only really is visual, so we're stuck with nesting, which has benefits, but isn't the same. We're unlikely to get a way to rubberband between multiple compositions. There are a bunch of things that we're unlikely to get, but that doesn't mean they aren't reasonable to do. It just might be hard, and not the highest priority.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 6:23:43 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jul 15, 2016 at 6:25:54 pm

Well, that's the problem: Adobe doesn't have an army of software engineers working on AE. They have a dozen. And they're in the middle of a monster rewrite of code, correcting algorithms that have been neglected for 20 years. They can't change horses in mid-stream.

The chickens have come home to roost, so to speak. A lot of stuff is falling through the cracks.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 15, 2016 at 9:19:24 pm

This is an interesting problem, and I might be interested in writing a script to address it. Andy, I'd be very interested in hearing about the corner cases [link] you've run into with Ai/Ae workflows.


[Andy Engelkemier] "We're unlikely to get a way to rubberband between multiple compositions."

What do you mean?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Andy Engelkemier
Re: updating illustrator files with added layers
on Jul 18, 2016 at 7:07:44 pm

Ha, Re: "what do you mean." I wasn't aware you could do that. Although, it's Quite annoying that you have to completely tear off a composition in order to do it. In case that's still not clear.....
Often enough, I'll need an attribute to utilize an attribute from a nested composition. So I'd Love to just start my expression, use the rubberband tool to highlight that, then it fills out the attribute. It Should work by just hovering over a tab for a second, then it switches to that. If you hover over a layer that is collapsed, then it should expand. Hover over the attribute group you need, and same thing. Then you could select the object you need from there, let go, and it should pop you back to the composition you were in where you can add more expression to what you just rubber banded.

But instead, you need to open that composition, tear it off to a floating window. Then go to the attribute you plan on pointing to, then go back to your composition, and you can rubberband to the attribute.
It's not that it's bad. It's just a time consuming activity that can save you hours if repeated often enough.


Regarding the Ai workflow, I'm not sure what I have to add. the trick mentioned about adding extra layers just to store whatever additional objects you might need is a great idea. I'll just use that in the future. One thing that is really missing is size. I'd like to control the center point, but if someone makes a change to the file that would change it's center, that's a big issue. So how to handle that can be quite annoying. But that Rarely comes up for me. That doesn't mean that it isn't frequent for someone else though.


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