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Copy and Paste

How to copy Illustrator paths to After Effects By Stephen Schleicher
Instead of creating complex paths or masks in After Effects, it can sometimes be easier to create those items in Adobe Illustrator and simply copy and paste them into After Effects. Heres how.

Unfortunately the default preferences in Adobe Illustrator are set in such a way as to prevent you from copying and pasting masks or paths from one application to another. To correct this, first open Adobe Illustrator and from Edit>Preferences>Files & Clipboard menu turn on AICB with Preserve Paths selected.

Once you have set that preference, any path our outline of an object can be copied and pasted into After Effects with ease. This can help you tremendously not only when you are creating complex masks, but also if you need to create a complex motion path for an element to follow.

Step 1: Open Adobe Illustrator and change the preferences if you have not done so already.

Step 2: Create a new image that is 800 pixels x 600 pixels and press OK.

Step 3: From the Tools palette, click and hold down the mouse button over the Line Tool. This will cause the "hidden" tools to be displayed. Select the Spiral Tool.

Step 4: In the center of your canvas, click and drag outward to create a spiral that nearly fills the frame.

Feel free to rotate and move the path so the center of the spiral is in the center of the canvas.

Step 5: Use the Selection Tool to select the entire spiral path. Press Command+C on the Mac or Control+C on the PC to copy the path information to the clipboard.

Step 6: Open After Effects and create a New Composition by pressing Command+C on the Mac or Control+C on the PC. Use the DV NTSC Preset and set the duration of the composition to 5 seconds. Press OK.

Step 7: Create a New Solid by pressing Command+Y on the Mac or Control+Y on the PC. Make the solid the same size as the composition by clicking on the Make Comp Size button. Press OK.

If you are using the After Effects Production Bundle, you can use the Lens Flare effect for this tutorial. If you are using the Standard version create a new solid and make it 200 pixels by 200 pixels, and give it a color that can be seen easily against the other solid layer.

After Effects Production Bundle Way
Step 8: From the Effect menu select Render>Lens Flare. Make any modifications or changes in the Effect Controls Window that you like.

Step 9: In the Timeline, select the solid layer and press the E key to display the effects for the layer. Twirl down the arrow next to the Lens Flare. This will display all of the effect controls for the effect.

Step 10: Highlight the Flare Center control and press Command+V on the Mac or Control+V on the PC to paste the Illustrator information to the Lens Flare Center controls. This will take the control points from the path and create position keyframes for the Flare Center.

After Effects Standard Version
Step 8: With your smaller solid layer selected in the Timeline press the P key to display the Position property for the layer.

Step 9: Highlight the Position property and press Command+V on the Mac or Control+V on the PC to paste the Illustrator information. This will take the control points from the Illustrator path and create Position keyframes.

So so simple.

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Related Keywords:keyframe, illustrator, paste, paths, copy, after effects, schleicher


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