The artboard in AI has always defined composition size in After Effects. Importing as Footage always brings in the entire illustrator artboard with artwork cropped as a single footage layer.
Import as Composition brings in all Illustrator Layers as a separate layer cropped to the size of the artboard. IOW, all layers, even those that extend beyone the artboard will be a separate layer in your composition, they will all be the same size as the artboard, and any artwork extending beyond the artboard will be cropped.
Import Composition Retain Layer Size brings in each layer with it's original layer size but the artwork is cropped at the artboard boundry. AI has always done this as far as I can remember.
Here is the import box.
In CS6 all three import options result in the bounding box being set to the edge of the artboard. This is different than previous versions. In previous versions you could import ai files as footage and the artboard would essentially be ignored - the bounding box was set to the edge of the actual artwork.
Here's a screenshot of AE CS3. It ignores the artboard when you import an ai file as footage. I could have sworn that it worked this way in CS4 and CS5 as well, but I can't confirm that. It does appear as though later versions of AE respect how the ai file was originally imported, but if you edit the file AE adds the artboard back in.
Thanks for your help, Rick. But I can't quite tell if we're talking about the same thing. I'm not actually concerned with items outside the artboard. What I'm trying to do is get the bounding box to be at the edge of the artwork (not the artboard). The star in my CS3 screenshot (above) is like this. The orange shape in your screenshot also appears to be like this. But, in AE CS6, I can't find a way to avoid having the bounding box set the the size of the artboard (See below).
Note the difference between the bounding boxes in my CS3 screenshot vs. this CS6 screenshot.
The problem I'm having is I'm working on files that were created in earlier version of AE. All the ai files are setup like the star in my CS3 screenshot. AE6 respects that, but the moment I edit the star the bounding box gets changed to one that resembles the CS6 screenshot. So, it's position in the comp gets moved.
Notice how the bounding box is at the edge of the artwork in the sample image I put up. It was imported as Composition Retain layer sizes. CS6 gives me the same results I always have always had.
I'm not sure what's going on with your star AI file, but if you send it to me I'll test it.
That is strange. I've tried all 3 import options and they all come in the same way. The file can be downloaded, here. (link valid for a limited time) That would be great if you could test on your end.
A couple items of note - I'm on a Mac (it shouldn't matter but who knows). The issue isn't specific to the star ai file. I've tried several files from many projects both old and new.
As soon as I opened your ai file I knew what the problem was. You only have one layer. Try adding a layer to your star.ai It can be blank.
As long back as I can remember you have to have more than one layer to import an AI file as a Composition. I think it's always been this way.
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Thank you, Rick!!!
That did the trick. In fact, as long as you have at least one extra (empty) layer you can import the ai file as footage and tell AE to use it's layer size instead of the document size. Creating unneeded layers seems like a silly extra step, but at least there's a workaround.
After Effects should really give you this option even if you only have one layer. There's similar functionality in InDesign (crop to artboard or art), so I'm not sure why Adobe makes us jump through extra hoops here.
Thanks again for your help.