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After Effects - Learn Motion Graphic Design

Working with Illustrator in After Effects

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 29 of 53

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Hey, welcome to this video. In this one, we're going to look at working with Illustrator inside of After Effects. If you've never used Illustrator before you might want to skip this one. I guess it just requires a little bit of Illustrator knowledge to work with it. If you are an ace at Illustrator, this is a cooler tutorial. You can do a little drawing and shape building, and typography inside After Effects but it's actually really easy. If you already have skills in something like Adobe Illustrator you can just jump and use that program and import the graphics, and animate, just use After Effects as a pure animation tool rather than a creation tool.

So to do it, I've got a new project open, an untitled project. I'm going to make a new composition, 'Composition', 'New'. It's going to be 'HDTV'. And we're going to make sure it's this one here, '1080 25'. How long is it going to be? Let's make this one 10 seconds. 10 seconds per frame, and let's click 'OK'. So we go to 'Comp', there it is there. We're going to bring in an Illustrator file. We're going to double click in this area here or go to 'Command I' on a Mac or 'Control I' on a PC.

Let's go find our After Effects exercise files, there's one in there called 'Monster'. Grab him, bring him in. And then click, hold, and drag him over here. So we bring in this little monster. Now, hey presto, he's in here, we can start animating him. So I could set my position key frame here. 'Position', I'll start it actually over here. Move along the time line, and get him to go in here. Add my 'Easing', add 'Motion Blur', and hey presto, done some cool stuff with Illustrator. I'm undoing, so I'm going to 'Edit', 'Undo'. And I'm twirling it all up to make it look tidy.

The biggest problem most people have is that they've got this guy here-- we're going to go to 'Full' resolution. And we're going to scale it up. So I'm going to hold the 'edge', hold 'Shift', if you don't hold shift, it gets a bit squidgy, hold shift a lot. Watch this, if I drag it up what you'll notice is that it's got a bit of pixelated run. It's on full, but it's got a bit jaggedy around the outside. I'm going to scroll down a little bit. You start to see, it's pretty bad. It's meant to be an effect, so it's meant to be scalable. So I've scaled it up, and it hasn't. By default it doesn't want to, After Effects. All you got to do is, hit the magic button, there it is there. And this one here, it's under this little star. Now, if you can't see these stars, you'll be fumbling along and you'll be ignoring the motion blur. I should have gone through this earlier, but, this happens.

Toggle switches and modes. We were on switches, modes. We're not going to-- we're going to use a tiny bit in this class but mainly we are in switches, so if you do accidentally click on this you can toggle these guys, say you want to be in this little icon mode. And see this little Sun here? This is the magic button, I click it, and you watch that. 1, 2, 3. Ah, beautiful. So whenever you're doing Illustrator files, bring him in, and the first thing you do is click on that. It does stress the computer a little bit trying to redraw it every frame but, it looks bad otherwise. So, bring in Illustrator files, turn that on, then you can do your animation.

Next thing we do is, we're going to talk about editing this file. You do it two ways. You can just open up the file in Illustrator, and here's my guy. He's going to be there. I will open up 'Monster' from my 'Desktop'. It goes there, 'Illustrator', 'Monster'. And I can go through and edit it. So I might go and add a moustache. Should I grab my pencil tool? Where is my pencil tool? There he is there. And I'm going to go-- Let's go black. And I'm going to grab this awesome tool, the 'Width' tool. If you haven't used the width tool before, be amazed.

What am I drawing there? I'm trying to draw a moustache but somehow I drew some sort of a squidgy line, it's meant to be a moustache. Let's do it again. 'Pencil Tool'. If you're wondering how great I'm drawing, super smooth, isn't it? If yours is coming out really jagged, double click the tool. This is not an Illustrator class, but the crack's smoothing up. That's how I cheat to make it look really nice, so I'm going to go, you-- like that, that's pretty good. Move it up. And we grab to that lovely tool called the 'Width' tool.

If you're ever tried to draw anything with a pencil tool it can be really painful, it doesn't even look like a moustache, looks like a tentacle. It doesn't matter. Let's hit 'Save', see up here, it's unsaved, the little asterix, I'm going to go 'File', 'Save'. Oops, 'Save As', not what I want, hit ‘Save’, here we go. And then jump back into After Effects. And it's gone and updated in here. If you're in an early version of After Effects you'll often have to go in here. And if it's not updating, say it's not updating for some reason, right click it and go to this option here that says 'Update', or 'Reload Footage', you might have to do that. Ours did it automatically.

The other thing you can do is, instead of having it open in Illustrator - I'll close it down. - is you can right click it here, and there's one that says 'Edit Footage'. So I click on you and I go to, can't remember. It's 'Edit Original', there it is there. So 'Edit Original', and it will do the work for you. It'll open Illustrator, find the file, and open it up. You can do the same thing. You can go through in here, and I'm going to color you. I'm going to select that, go 'Select'. 'Same', 'Fill Colors'. And pick a new fill color. And there we go, hit 'Save'. Make sure you hit save, if you don't, it won't update here. So you've got to go 'File', 'Save' otherwise it won't update. And that is how you ruin a perfectly good monster illustration with something that looks like a moustache but not, and make him blur.

The next thing we're going to do is, we're going to go through and-- We're trying to scale them up, say you want to do quite a detailed illustration, you want to match him in here. You don't want to scale it up, and start adjusting stuff. What you can do in Illustrator, say you're making a new file, a new bit of graphic, so go to 'File', 'New'. Just make sure you’re in Illustrator, you're going to 'Profile'. Select 'Video and Film'. And then here, we can go down to the one I've been talking about. 'HDTV 1080', there is no frames because it's a flat graphic, so that one there is perfect to match our size. If your size is a bit of a weird size, you can type it in here. Click 'OK'. The only trouble is that you get this kind of a maddening looking graph with all these green bits and pieces. I often go into 'View' and turn it off. If I can remember which one that is. It is 'Hide Guides’. It's not it, it's one of these ones. 'Smart Guides', 'Perspective Grid', 'Snap to Point'. You were looking at it right, and you can see, and you're like, "Geez, does Dan know what he's talking about?" Just this one thing that always catches me out. 'Bounding Box', it's one of these, I kind of keep smashing them. There it is, 'Transparency Grid' one. And I want to hide the other bits. All right, I had to go Google it. That's how far I got lost. So, I figured out half of it. Easy enough on my own, but I couldn't figure out the rest of it.

So, let's go to 'View'. And let's go to 'Hide Video Rulers'. Go into half of it, it's through the dots along the top, it's these title safe and the-- action safe and title safe, these things here. Now what I want to do is find them, and they are hiding under here. We go to the art board tool. Then you turn these guys off, 1, 2, 3. Go back to 'Move' tool, it's got rid of it. So that's how to turn those off. Now you can start designing in here. You can grab your any tool and you can start doing all your illustrations knowing that it is going to match your After Effects files. I had to Google it, that's okay. I'm okay with that. Then it will match the edges of this, so you can design that way. No problem with that.

Next bit, what we're going to do now is we're going to animate. We're going to get rid of the monster. Thanks, monster, you were really helpful. What we're going to do now though is-- we're going to leave him there. Actually I'll just delete him, cleaned it up. Let's bring in a couple of graphics. We're going to do some animation now with some Illustrator stuff. We're going to bring in Octopus' head and leg, I've selected both of them by holding 'Shift' and clicking both of them. If you don't know how to do that, bring them in separately. What I want you to do is, drag the 'head' in. There he is there. Drag in the 'legs', just kind of align it up. The reason I have them on separate files is so that we can animate them separately.

Really what I wanted to do is to have that one there and that one there, so we can leave the legs, or the head, and put the head on the top. Can you see, I dragged the head, click, hold, and drag, you can move the head, can you see the difference? Watch this. That's up. You can see now that the head's in front. So I'm going to have the head in front and this guy at the bottom. What I'd like to do is zoom out a little bit. I want to animate these legs, so I'm going to animate the Illustrator file. I'm going to turn this on. Both of these guys on. So that the vector gets updated. I'm going to select on this one. And what I want to do is, I want these legs to squish in and out. So we're going to do some animation. Like we've done before, but we haven't done 'Scale' yet. And we're going to look at getting it to loop in the next video.

What we're going to do is, we're going to twirl this down. We're going to twirl that down, and we're going to start 'Scale'. What I'd like to do is, I'd like to not scale it because at the moment if I scale it, it does both of them, what I'd like to do is break that link. So when I scale it, I'm just doing that one so it's kind of going in and out, looks like squiggling around. 'Undo' it, so it's back to 100%. We've broken that leg, I'm going to set, match all my key frames at the beginning. I am going to hit 'Scale'. Set my first key frame. Then I'm going to jump along a bit. How long? I'm going to jump out over half a second. So, 25 frames, we're going to end up at about 12 or 13. And I'm going to put in another key frame. And I'm going to use this first slider to shrink it a little bit. A lot, actually. Then we're going to come back to out here, to 1 second. And I'm going to turn it back to 100%. And it's going to go zip in, and zip out. Now, I want to get this thing to loop. What I might do is, this video is getting quite long. I'm going to save this one, and let's do looping in the next video.