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Team Think Labs | Illustrator to After Effects workflow
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Illustrator to After Effects workflow

This is a simple workflow that can save a lot of time when importing graphics from Illustrator into After Effects.

Step 1:
This is probably the most important step. While all your graphics are on one layer currently, you need to group each set of graphics that you would like to be separated onto it’s own layer. Each color here are in separate groups.

Step 2:

With your layer selected (the objects don’t need to be) toggle down to “release so layers (sequence)” from the Layers dropdown.

Now all your groups are separated onto their own layers

Now drag Layers 2-5 above Layer 1, because right now Layers 2-5 are actually still contained in Layer 1.
And you can delete Layer 1 now, because it doesn’t contain anything.

Step 3:
Now rename your layers, this is how they will show up in After Effects.

Step 4:
Now in After Effects import your .ai file, it’s important you chose “Composition- retain layer sizes” under the “Import As” dropdown. That way all your anchor points are center to each individual layer and not all center to the document itself. And if you choose “Footage” then your file will import as a flat graphic on one single layer.


Step 5:
Now you will see your Illustrator file has imported as a New Composition with all layer names and anchor points in tact.