Prepping the image
Prepping images for animation in After Effects takes a bit of planning, but from my experience, these critical steps will save you from thousands of headaches later.
Ensure any elements that you intend to animate later are separated into their own layer. If not, then Illustrator has a feature called Release to layers (build) which allows you to do this on images merged into a single layer.
Another relatively unknown consideration depends on your final outcome. For shapes that you plan to “grow” in After Effects, as in the case with my animation, shapes should never be closed, but should instead have the appearance that they are.
Importing files into After Effects
Once you have completed prepped and saved your files, the next step is to import it into After Effects. To do this, start a new file and then choose File>Import File. Make sure you choose All acceptable files from the Enable dropdown and then Footage from the Import As dropdown. The final option is to check to Create Composition.
Setting up Composition
Once you import your file, After Effects will create a composition based on the layers that you configured in Illustrator. So it is important to name your layers correctly so that they are easier to work with.
One great feature of the Adobe CC Suite is the ability to make updates in one program that updates across connected tools. In the case of Illustrator, you can make updates there and have the update in After Effects.
From here one final important step to ensure that that vector files from Illustrator are editable in After Effects. To do so, select the image layer, right click and then choose to Create > Create Shapes from Vector Layer. From there you will have the ability to add effects like “Trim Paths” and other complicated effects.
Have fun creating and remember, Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.
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