Importing Illustrator files to after effects
  • I spent loads of time on a illustrator comp, making hundreds of shapes all in one layer, then decide that I want to animate it. But wait, every single shape needs to be on an individual layer? I have watched several illustrator after effects workflow videos and they all assume that you already have your shapes all on individual layers. 

    So my question, is their a option to put each shape on an individual layer? And if not am I suppose to be making a new layer for each shape that I make? That seems a little excessive.

    Am I missing something?
  • You are correct. Illustrator files need to be layered in order to separate them in After Effects. If you're just working with basic shapes, you might want to look at simply using shape layers and drawing right within AE. If you're creating something a bit more complicated, I'd suggest grouping shapes in Illustrator, then selecting "Release to Layers (Sequence)" from the menu in the layers palette. You can then drag these layers out in the layer stack and they'll show up as separate layers in AE.
  • Woah yup just did it and it made my lip quiver. I dont know how that has alluded me for so long. Thank you much!
  • If everything is in one layer, you can do a "Release To Layers (Sequence)" command which will grab every object and place it into it's own layer (within that first layer). Then you just move them out of that original layer and delete the first. You can then rename the layers (tedious, I know, but super helpful as they retain the names when you bring them in AE).

    If you've found that you've already named the objects instead of the layers (and ended up with a bunch of Layer_1, Layer_2, etc).. you're in luck. I wrote a super quick, small script that traverses through layers and renames them based on the first object within that layer. I don't promise anything as I am in no way a developer nor do I have experience doing so (and I hacked this together in an hour).. but it has saved me the trouble of renaming twice when I forget that I shouldn't label objects but layers instead.

    Anyway, enough talk. If you need it, it is here for now - http://robmonstro.com/aether/dl/SubItem2LayerName.zip (tested on AI CS5 only)

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