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    I'm doing a documentary about WWI, and when I bring in my Illustrator clip art file, it turns into a black square or rectangle as soon as I convert it into a shape layer in After Effects. Has anyone else run into this issue? Please let me know if you need more details. Thanks in advance for any help with this.


    Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 10.18.32 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 10.18.59 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 10.18.50 AM.png

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    Yes - you can only work in 2D within a shape layer.


    If the elements you want to seperate out are on their own top-level layers in the illustrator file... Import that as a composition. Find the 'Import as' menu in your import dialog and change it from 'footage' to 'Composition - retain layer sizes'. This will import your Ai file as a pre-built composition contaning all the individual elements of your layered Ai file. You can then select all those layers and Menu : Layer > Create > Create shapes from vector layer.  You'll then have individual shape layers (with 3D position capability) for each element.


    If you're doing this a lot you might also want to look at:

    Explode Shape Layers 3 - aescripts + aeplugins -


    Hope that helps,

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    I'm sure you're not, but I think the general workflow is multiple projects if speed is becoming an issue. Out of curiosity, if you spend the time (and I'm sure it would require a fair bit of effort) to split your giant project into multiple, and create yourself a nice, accessible library, what's the downside of that?

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    Because it will be hard to navigate and explore the projects every time I'm looking for something.

    Also, I constantly change it, and adding more animations..

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    David I agree with you on the Master Comp usage. It would be the easiest and most space saving option to use.


    With the new AE update more values are now open to add to new comps from the Master and Push and Pull allows for easy customisation.


    I have used a similar workflow as the OP on several vfx heavy projects and the only way to do these is to EITHER have multiple independent comps on a timeline or having multiple project versions.

    I understand is why its becoming too space intensive but the OP seems to want to save HDD space.


    This to me is an easy fix but not sure if the OP will agree on it. That being said most if not all large studios follow this workflow.


    As an example if the OP started on his original comp and save all assets in say the Project A folder all he needs to do when creating Project B is save the Project B AE file into the same folder so all assets will point in the same location.

    UNLESS...his assets are changing so much that he is accumulating gigs of data per project and from my experience the only time this happens is when your RAW footage e.g video clips, audio, stills etc are changing per project.

    Should this be the case the OP needs to learn how to archive on backup drives. There is no possible way that you can save hard drive space if you are continuously changing assets. So he needs to create a main project, do whats needed with assets for that project and after final render he needs to archive that on a drive with ALL its necessary assets. He must keep a copy of the main project in its original position and then use the Replace Footage function to bring in his new assets.

    So on and so forth...


    You CANNOT save space if you are adding more to something. Its just the law of physics lol.

    Add more water to a glass and you cannot expect to to get less full (even with evaporation as a factor)



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  • 12/24/18--07:50: Re: After Effects Laptop
  • You can do everything you propose with intelligence and being aware of the equipment you have. In this case you have a computer that is not so powerful but it does serve to do what you want to do in the video that you showed us, but, my direction is that you do it by parts, not as a whole because your Ae is going to collapse . Make short time animations, render and go for the next piece. At the end of everything you import into Premiere Pro, you join it, you add the audio FX and voila, you fulfill your goal of animated video.


    Good luck with your animation!

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    What if you import the Ae project where you have the previous animation to the new project of Ae, it creates a folder with all the compositions and resourses, delete what you do not need, do a Collect Files to have everything in one folder, and you only have what is necessary for this new project. This way your new project is not saturated and you only have what is necessary from the previous one to work on the new one.

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    99% possibility that the artwork was improperly prepared in Illustrator. Each shape must be on a separate layer and effects, gradients, and clipping masks must be applied. No raster effects may be applied if you expect to convert the layer to a shape layer.


    We can't know for sure what is wrong without seeing the layer structure and properties of the layers in AI. Unless you are going to use shape layer animators or actually animate the path of a vector file, there is no reason at all to convert it to a shape layer. If the problem lies with the conversion inside AE then we need to see all of the modified properties of the shape layer that was created. Just press the U key twice and show us the entire UI so we can see what is going on.


    BTW, if the artwork came from Adobe Stock, you will probably have to Edit the original in AI and actually convert it to a path before AE can use it. It all depends on how the artwork was prepared in the first place.

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    Probably a clipping mask could cause something like that.


    you can release clipping mask in illustrator then reimport it back again  or once you convert it to shape layer, check the shapes created and see which one has a fill over the other layers and delete it

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    Ok. I'm using FireFox Send; let me know if you need something different to grab the file. (It'll only last for 24 hours, but I figure that's ok)


    Again, thank you for helping me with this.


    Firefox Send

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    The easiest thing to do is to arrange the AI file so that each element you want to animate is on a separate layer, then import as a composition retaining layer sizes.


    Unless you are using shape layer animators, animating the actual path, or trying to extrude the layer using the C4D or Ray-traced rendering option, there is absolutely no reason to convert vector artwork to shape layers. It is probably one of the most misunderstood and ill-used workflows in After Effects. I'm laying AI files all over AE's 3D world all the time and I can probably count on one hand the number of times it was necessary to convert a vector layer to a shape. You ought to think about it.

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    If you want H.264 the last thing you should use is the Output Module or a Quicktime Container. Use the Adobe media encoder to render a comp directly or use the output module to render a visually lossless, definitely not compressed MPEG, production master and compress that with the AME. Rendering H.264 in a QT container is no longer supported or recommended by Apple or anyone else. QT will play h.264 but it never worked as a rendering option.

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    H.264 is a lossy, interframe (only a few frames are complete, the rest of them are calculated) and frankly, lousy production format. It's only real use is for delivery of the final product. Some consumer cameras jack the data rate way up and actually do a fairly good job of giving you a camera original, but it is still a visually lossy, highly compressed and frankly lousy format for production.


    One more thing, Temporal effects always take longer to render than almost any other effect because they rely on sampling multiple frames and making a lot more calculations than most other effects. That's just a fact of life. You can mitigate the rendering hit if you plan your shots carefully and sometimes it is better to just render temporal effects to a suitable production format DI (digital intermediate) then replace the layer in AE and do the rest of the compositing. What you lose in drive space is more than made up for in time savings.

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    Mo, I'm not sure that file size is the issue here. I think the issue is that the .aep is getting so large, which means that it's slow to import and slow to save when adding new animations.


    guyman20 without more information about the types of animations you're creating I think it will be hard to offer better recommendations. To me, breaking the animations up into categories by .aep makes a lot of sense. Perhaps you have one for icons, intros/outros, transitions, and textures. Without specifics, all we can do is make broad suggestions.

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    Your logic is flawed. If you tie the scale of the nested comp to a null layer's expression controller then the first thing that happens in the nested comp is that it looks to the expression controller for instructions.


    Rendering order is basically what you see in the timeline. There are exceptions. You can use masks and nested comps to change things, but an expression in a nested comp that looks at data from the main comp is going to be analyzed before anything else happens.

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    Let me add more information -

    For example, I have a document graphic that seems to be folded in its edge and is filled with text, and I want to use the same document but without the fold and without the text on it. I have to duplicate the composition and change it.

    This adds up very quickly, despite the fact both animations share some nested comps and look quite similar..


    Another more complicated example -

    I create a scene of 2 characters (pre-rigged, pre-comped, shared through all of my videos) walking down the street and then shaking their hands.

    Later on, I need a similar scene with 2 characters walking down the street, waving, and then shaking their hand.

    I will then duplicate the parent comp, duplicate the characters comp, slightly change the animation of the characters to wave before they shake, and use it.

    Now I have multiple comps which are quite similar and share some comps (like the street comp), but have different nested comp


    I hope that explains the situation better

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    Thank you Rick and thank you Mohammad for your help. Rick, I'll be sure to check my settings in Illustrator. My reason for converting the Illustrator file into a shape layer is because I need to use the "repeater" effect. My infographic will be focusing on the 1918 Armistice so I need to repeat a number of weapon icons like tanks, planes, etc. I know I could simply duplicate layers, but using the repeater effect saves me a lot more time.

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    Presets and Master Comps are the way too go


    davidarborRick Gerard Both of you are spot on

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    Thank you for this. What is a good internediate codec to use on Windows when exporting from premiere? I do not have the Apple pro res codecs

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    Here are my file details in Illustrator:


    Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 11.54.54 AM.png

    This file was imported into Illustrator based on a Photoshop file where I knocked out the white background and added an alpha channel:


    Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 11.55.10 AM.png

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