February 22, 2024

An Easy Guide to Creating Professional Animations: How to Import AI Files to After Effects

Learn to use After Effects to add AI content to your animations with this step-by-step guide. Discover how to import, select, and convert AI files into After Effect projects. Get the latest tips and tricks to get the most out of your project. Click now to start mastering AE!


Creating professional animations can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. This easy guide will show you how to import AI (Adobe Illustrator) files into After Effects.

Step 1: Open your AI file in Adobe Illustrator

First, open the AI file you want to use in Adobe Illustrator. Make sure all of the elements are organized as expected and make any changes necessary. Once you’re satisfied with the design, save the document and close out of Adobe Illustrator.

Step 2: Open After Effects and Import Your AI File

Next, open up After Effects and navigate to “File > Import > File…” from the top menu bar. From the window that pops up select your AI file which should be labeled with a .ai extension. Then click “Open” at the bottom right-hand corner of the window.

Step 3: Select Your Desired Options
After selecting your file, a new window will appear with options for importing your file. Under “Import As” select Composition – Retain Layer Sizes or Composition – Retain Layer Styles depending on what you are looking to create or animate. Next, check off “Editable Layer styles” if desired and then click OK at the bottom right-hand corner of this window as well.


With that you can now start creating high-quality professional animations using your imported AI files!

What is After Effects?

After Effects is a digital motion graphics, visual effects, and compositing software that has been developed by Adobe Systems. It is used for creating video graphics and visual effects in many industries such as film making, TV, motion design, and more. After Effects can be used to create animations with vector art created in Adobe Illustrator. AI files are easily imported into After Effects as compositions which can then be manipulated into professional-looking animations.

What is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based graphics editing program developed and marketed by Adobe Inc. It can be used to create digital artwork, logos, icons, and illustrations in the EPS and SVG file formats. Adobe Illustrator also allows users to import existing artwork into the program for easy edits or customization. With its powerful features, Adobe Illustrator is a popular choice for many professionals working in graphic design or animation.

Downloading and Installing After Effects

To create professional animation in After Effects, you need to first download and install the software. Visit Adobe’s official website and click on the “Download” link for After Effects to download the installer. Follow the prompts to complete installation of the program on your computer. Once installed, open After Effects and you will be ready to begin animating!

Introduction to the After Effects Interface

If you’re new to After Effects, the user interface can be intimidating. However, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your tools before creating animations. To get started, open up After Effects and let’s explore the interface. On the left side of your screen, you will see the Project Panel which is where you can store all of your import files and sequences. Next, move over to the right side of your screen which contains the Composition Panel and Timeline panel — this is where you will edit and create your animation sequences. Now that you are acquainted with some basic features of After Effects, let’s learn how to import AI files into it for use in animations.

Importing AI Files Into After Effects

To import an AI file into After Effects, first open up a new composition in After Effects by navigating to File > New > Composition or by pressing Control+N (on PC) or Command+N (on Mac). This opens up the Composition Settings window where you can customize the duration of your composition as well as other settings like resolution and frame rate. Once this has been set up click OK and wait for your composition to load up. Now click on File > Import > File… which opens a window containing all of your computer’s files – locate and select the AI file(s) that you wish to import into After Effects before clicking Open. Lastly, navigate back to the Project Panel located on the left-hand side of the screen – here you should find all of the imported AI files ready for use in animating!

Overview of the After Effects Toolset

After Effects is a powerful tool for creating professional animations. It provides users with an extensive set of tools for adding motion graphics, visual effects, and other elements to videos. To create high-quality animations, you must be familiar with the After Effects toolset. This includes working with layers, transforming objects, animating text and shapes, applying effects, and more.

Once you have become familiar with the After Effects toolset, you can begin to explore how to import AI Files into your projects. You can easily import Adobe Illustrator files into After Effects by simply dragging them into the Project panel or selecting File > Import > File from the main menu. Once imported, they will appear in the Timeline panel so that they can be edited as needed. With this knowledge of importing AI Files into After Effects, you will be well on your way to creating amazing animations!

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Setting Up a New Document in After Effects

To begin creating a professional animation, first set up a new document in After Effects. To do this, open the application, click on ‘File,’ and select ‘New Composition.’ Then, adjust the composition settings according to your preferences. You can change the resolution, frame rate, name of the composition, duration of time for the video, and more. Once you have finished making adjustments to these settings and are satisfied with them, click ‘OK’ to create your document.

Importing Adobe Illustrator Files Into After Effects

If you want to create professional animations in After Effects, it is essential to learn how to import Adobe Illustrator files. To do this, open After Effects and go to File > Import > File. Once you are in the file’s directory, select your Illustrator file and click Open. After Effects will then prompt you with options for importing your file. Set the type of layer as Composition – Retain Layer Size if you want each individual layer in your AI file to remain the same size when imported into AE. Click OK and your files should now be imported and ready for use!

Working With Vector Graphics in After Effects

After Effects is a powerful tool for creating professional animations. With After Effects, you can easily import vector graphics from Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files. This allows you to quickly create high-quality designs and animations. Follow this guide to learn how to import AI files into After Effects.

Begin by opening a new project in After Effects. Go to the menu bar and select File > Import > File… or simply press Command + I on your keyboard. Select the .ai file you want to import and click Open. You will be presented with an options dialog box; adjust any settings as desired and then click OK. The AI file will now appear in your composition window in After Effects, ready for editing or animation. You can modify layers, change colors, add effects, and so much more! Once complete, render out your final animation using the Composition > Add to Render Queue option from the menu bar or by pressing Command + M on your keyboard.

Anchor Point Basics

For those new to animation, the anchor point may seem confusing. The anchor point is the reference point that After Effects uses to begin transformations, such as scaling and rotating. It exists within the composition at a single x-y coordinate location, denoted by an ‘+’ symbol on the layer in the timeline view, and can be adjusted with the Pan Behind tool. To ensure your transformation animations start at their intended location, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basics of adjusting the anchor point.

Grouping and Un-Grouping Objects

When creating animations in Adobe After Effects, it is common to have multiple objects that need to be handled differently. To help manage these objects, you can group them together or un-group them in the layers panel. Grouping allows you to control several elements at once by treating them as one object. Conversely, un-grouping will separate each element into its own layer and make them easier to edit individually. To group objects together in After Effects, select the desired elements from the layers panel, then right-click and choose “Group Layers.” To un-group a set of elements, select the group from the layers panel and click “Ungroup Layer” from the right-click menu.

Working With Text in After Effects

Adding text to After Effects is as easy as importing an AI file. To do this, open the AI file in Illustrator and select the layer that contains the desired text. Copy it, then go back to After Effects and create a new Text Layer. Paste the copied text into its field and adjust size and font as desired. It’s also possible to customize animations for each letter or word of the imported AI file by activating 3D layers in After Effects. To do so, click on “Layer” in the top menu bar while having your Text layer selected, then select “Create 3D Layers.” This will enable you to move letters around separately and add effects like rotation or position changes with ease.

Adding Effects to Objects

Creating professional animations using After Effects doesn’t have to be difficult. You can easily import Adobe Illustrator files directly into After Effects and add exciting visual effects. To do this, open your Illustrator file and go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy). Make sure you choose the .AI option in the drop-down menu before saving. Once you have saved the file, launch After Effects and create a new project. Go to File > Import > File and select the AI file you just saved. When it appears in your project window, drag it down onto the timeline. Now you can apply effects directly to objects in the animation by selecting an object and using various tools available in After Effects.

Rendering Your Animation

Importing AI files to After Effects is a great way to create professional animations. To get started, open up After Effects and navigate to File > Import > File. Select the Adobe Illustrator file you wish to work with and click “Open”. You will then be prompted with a few options; choose “Composition – Retain Layer Sizes” as your import type. This will ensure that all objects in your AI file are scaled correctly in After Effects. Once imported, you can begin animating each element of your design by adding keyframes and effects. When you’re finished, render your animation by going to Composition > Add to Render Queue and select the desired output format. Finally, hit “Render” and watch as After Effects creates your professional animation!

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Best Practices for Optimizing Your Workflow

Importing AI files into After Effects can be a great way to save time in your workflow. To get started, open the AI file you want to import and select the layers you want to use in After Effects. Then, go to File > Export > Adobe Illustrator (pdf) and specify which options you’d like for exporting the file. Once your pdf is ready, open After Effects and go to File > Import > Composition – Retain Layer Sizes. Now, find the PDF you created earlier and select it, then click Open. Finally, adjust the settings to ensure each layer’s size is preserved when importing into After Effects. By following these steps carefully, you can quickly start animating with your newly imported AI vector graphic!

Color Correction

Using After Effects, you can easily import AI files and begin to create professional animations. After importing your Adobe Illustrator file into After Effects, use the Color Correction feature to modify the colors of your animation. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, hue and saturation of each individual layer or all layers together in order to enhance your animation’s overall look and feel.

Working With Third-Party Plugins

If you are using After Effects to create professional animations, then you may need to import AI files into the program. To do this, you will need a third-party plugin. There are several plugins available that allow you to turn an Illustrator (AI) file into a layered composition that can be used in After Effects. Once your AI file is imported into the plugin, you will be able to easily open it in After Effects where you can begin creating your animation.

Motion Tracking

Creating professional animations with Adobe After Effects is made easy with the ability to import AI files. Artificial Intelligence files are easily imported into After Effects using a few simple steps. With this guide, you will learn how to bring your AI designs into After Effects for motion tracking and animation.

First, select the desired file from your computer and click “Import” in the top toolbar of After Effects. Then, drag the AI file directly onto your composition window which will open the import settings menu. Make sure that you have selected the correct document size, color space and background settings for how you want to use it in After Effects. Finally, press “OK” to confirm all of these changes and proceed to motion tracking your animation as desired.

Preparing your Animation for Export

Before importing an Adobe Illustrator file into After Effects you must make sure it meets the following requirements: the AI file must be saved in a version of Illustrator no later than CS6 and the document size must match your desired composition size in After Effects.

Once you have confirmed that these requirements are met, open up After Effects and create a new composition. Set the width and height dimensions to match those of your Illustrator document, then select “continue” to start creating your animation.

Next, navigate to File > Import > File and select your AI file. When prompted to choose the import type, select “Composition – Retain Layer Sizes” then click “Open.” Your AI file will now be imported as a single composition layer in After Effects.

Now that your animation is ready for export, you can begin editing it however you’d like using the range of tools available in After Effects such as keyframing, motion tracking or adding effects and transitions. When finished with editing, simply go to Composition > Add To Render Queue and define the settings for how you want your video rendered – including resolution, bit rate, frame rate and output format. Once all settings are defined hit “Render” and wait for your video to process!

Exporting your Animation

Creating professional animations in After Effects requires a few steps, one of which is importing AI files. This can be done quickly and easily by using the File > Import > File menu. When selecting your AI file to import, make sure you select Composition and Retain Layer Size from the options at the bottom of the dialog box. Once imported, you will be ready to export your animation as an MP4 or other video file format. To do this, go to the Composition menu at the top of your screen, then choose Add to Render Queue. Select your desired output format, adjust any settings as needed, then click Render in the bottom right corner of the panel. Your animation will now be exported and ready for use.

Advanced Animation Techniques

Creating professional animations is easier than ever with the help of Adobe After Effects. In this easy guide, we will discuss how to import AI (Adobe Illustrator) files into After Effects. Doing so can give you access to a variety of advanced animation techniques such as morphing, warping, and scaling.

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Start by opening your AI file in Adobe Illustrator. Before importing it into After Effects, make sure that your artwork is organized into layers and that each path has been finalized. You can now save changes and close the document.

Next, open After Effects and select File > Import > File from the top menu bar to open the file location window. Navigate through your computer’s folders to locate and select the AI file you would like to use for your project before clicking “Import” at the bottom-right corner of the window.

Once imported, you are ready to begin using various animation effects on your artwork composition! Have fun experimenting with all of the tools available in After Effects such as keyframing, motion tracking, expressions, and more!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you are having trouble importing your AI file into After Effects, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure your file is compatible with the program; some versions of Illustrator use different kinds of encoding that After Effects cannot read. If your file type is not supported by After Effects, consider converting it to EPS or PDF format before importing it. Additionally, if you have multiple layers in your AI document, you may need to select them all and pre-compose them into one layer before importing. Once the AI file is compatible with After Effects, import the file using File > Import > File and selecting the appropriate document type from the dropdown menu. You should now be able to work with your imported AI files in After Effects!


Adobe After Effects is a powerful motion graphics and animation tool. It allows you to easily import vector files from Adobe Illustrator in order to create professional animations. To successfully accomplish this, open the AI file in Adobe Illustrator, select the artwork that you want to animate, go to File > Export > Export As, select the file format as “Composition – Retain Layer Sizes” and save it. Open your saved file in After Effects, then drag it into your project window and begin animating with ease! This guide has shown you how easy it is to import AI files into After Effects for professional animations. With these simple steps, you can be on your way towards creating stunning visual effects.


Ensure you have the right software and hardware. Before beginning any animation project, it is important to make sure that you have the right program and hardware to run Adobe After Effects. After Effects requires a minimum of 8GB RAM and a processor capable of 64-bit computing. Additionally, check your internet connection – you need a good internet speed for smooth running of the program.

Download Adobe After Effects. The next step is to download Adobe After Effects from the official website, which could take some time depending on your internet speed. Once downloaded, follow the instructions for installation on your computer system and launch the program when completed.

Download an AI file or create one yourself using Illustrator or other vector drawing programs like CorelDRAW or Inkscape and save it as an .ai file format. To use vector designs in After Effects, it is necessary to import them into the program first by downloading from external sources or creating them yourself. Downloaded files will typically be saved in your ‘Downloads’ folder unless specified otherwise upon saving it during the download process. Ensure that they are in .ai (Adobe Illustrator) format prior to importing them into After Effects. Alternatively, if you choose to create them yourself, save them as an .ai format before opening up in After Effects.

Import AI files into After Effects with drag-and-drop featureGo to File > Import > File option (Ctrl + I). Drag-and-drop AI files directly onto this window; alternatively, click open at the bottom left corner of this window and select the AI file from its source location then click open again at bottom right corner for importing process to begin An import dialogue box appears with various options for how you want to handle importing layers from illustrator: compositions (retain layer size & position) — footage (import each layer as a single item) — merged layers (merge all layers into one). Select whichever best suits your project needs regarding compositions/footage/merged layers etc., then select “open” at bottom right corner once done selecting options for complete importation process into AEOnce imported, select newly imported AI layer(s) go to “File > Dependencies > Collect Files…” option in order toprepare separate files ahead of easy transfer/distribution if needed

In summary, before creating animations using Adobe After Effects with imported Illustrator files make sure that you have adequate software and hardware resources along with downloading Adobe after effects itself followed by downloading or creating relevant Illustrator (.ai) files themselves ready for importing into AE via simple drag-and-drop technique alongside finalizing correct composition setup within import dialogue box window then proceeding onto collecting all dependencies prior final distribution & transfer if required afterwards


Creating professional animations can be easy with the right tools. Adobe After Effects is one such tool that provides you with the ability to import Adobe Illustrator files (.AI) into your project. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

1. Open up your Adobe After Effects project and select “File” → “Import” → “File…”.

2. Locate the .AI file you’d like to use in your project, then click “Open”.

3. The “Footage” dialog window should appear, giving you the option to choose how you want the file imported into After Effects. Select “Composition” and make sure “Import as” is set at Footage (not layer). hit OK once you have made your selections.

4. Your .AI file should now be visible in your composition panel as either a footage item or an embedded composition depending on which option you chose in Step 3.

With this guide, you are now well equipped to import any AI files into Adobe After Effects and create stunning animation pieces for commercial or personal use!