12 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2015 11:48 PM by AdamSabla Branched from an earlier discussion.

    Illustrator import issues

    AdamSabla Level 1

      We will have hundreds of illustrator files which contains opacity smaller than 100%. After importing to AE, it will have (A) the huge bounding boxes and (B) 100% opacity for all layers.

      Do you see there any chance that a smooth conversion of this could be implemented in near future? I would pay $1000 or more if it would... damn


      Example image:

      Dropbox - Regular house.ai


      I know that I should rather post a feature request, but posting it wouldn't make any difference to our situation right now...


      Thanks much,


        • 1. Re: Illustrator import issues
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I am very sorry but I don't understand what you are asking. If you set a layer to 90% opacity and bring that layer into AE 90% opacity will be maintained.


          Are you asking for a script that will change the opacity of all imported layers to 100%? That will change the look of your artwork, but if that's okay they script can be written that will set the opacity of every layer in a composition to 100%. You cannot write a script that will change the opacity of the lawyer as it exists in the project panel. You can write a script in illustrator that will change all layers to 100% opacity.


          The easiest way to set the opacity of all layers in a composition to 100% is to select all the layers then press the t Key and type 100% into any opacity value.


          Please try and clarify your question.

          • 2. Re: Illustrator import issues
            zlovatt Level 1

            Rick-- you're thinking too complicated.


            All Adam's asking is for "Create Shapes from Vector Layer" to preserve souce opacity, which it currently does not, and to avoid bringing in bounding boxes/artboard paths with a 'merge' shape layer filter to preserve the original shape. (In summary, a higher fidelity conversion).

            • 3. Re: Illustrator import issues
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Not sure he is asking for that, but if you want to use the alpha (opacity) info from an imported vector graphic on a shape layer created from that shape then you can either use the vector layer as a alpha track matte or use the set matte effect.


              You could also pull the uniform alpha info from an imported vector graphic using an expression. An expression wouldn't work for a rectangle with a solid stroke and a 50% transparent fill though, but a track matte would.


              The only reason that I could see for converting a vector layer to a shape would be to use the shape animator tools or to use Ray-traced rendering to extrude the layers. The sample artwork didn't look like anything that either would benefit.

              • 4. Re: Illustrator import issues
                AdamSabla Level 1

                Hi Rick, I'm sorry for composing such a puzzling message Yes, it's like Zack says.


                In fact, we will be doing what you just said. As the "Create Shapes from Vector Layer" doesnt' preserve souce opacity, we will have to write two scripts. One script for Illustrator, and then another script for AE. The first will bring the opacity of all layers to 100% in the Illustrator files, then the second will bring it back to where it was in AE (for only layers of a specific color)... It's a quick fix dirty dirty workaround, which will work only for this specific case...


                If the "Create Shapes from Vector Layer" worked well with opacity, oh gosh, what a nice world would that be, eh?

                • 5. Re: Illustrator import issues
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I looked at your graphic. Let's take the windows, where the problem is most obvious. The windows are comprised of a bunch of separate paths, each with a different opacity on a single Illustrator layer. You're asking the Convert shape layers to first see opacity as a opacity value rather than an alpha value, then apply that alpha value to the opacity value for the fill for the shape. This is not something that you can currently write a script for. If you put each closed path on a separate layer you may be able to figure out a script that would read the alpha value for the layer and then convert the opacity of the entire layer, not the path but the entire layer to the appropriate value.


                  I'm curious, why are you converting the AI files to Shapes? I can't imagine a workflow for the sample art that would require converting all of the layers to shapes. If you want to extrude the whole thing then I'd create a background layer that was a solid with the whole house, convert that layer to a shape, extrude that shape, and lay the Illustrator art on top. In that case you wouldn't have to import as a comp. I've done a ton of work using complex illustrator files, but the only converting to shapes I've ever found a use for is for simple graphics that I'm going to use the shape animators on. 

                  • 6. Re: Illustrator import issues
                    AdamSabla Level 1

                    Yes, I see it would make sense to briefly explain what's the point in our case.


                    We have this plugin Animation Composer (misterhorse.tv/products/animation-composer/). It's a plugin which offers a better way to work with presets. The plugin is free with 100+ presets, plus you can get additional presets for $.


                    At the moment, we're selling only motion presets. In near future we will be selling also content (pre-animated compositions containing illustrations). Stuff like this: Behance (there are also animations, it's actually small part of one of packs we'll be offering). It's best for us & mostly the customer to have those illustrations as shapes, not as external Ai files (user will just generate the comp into his project, without having to copy Ai file to his disk near his project).


                    All the content is created in Illustrator, and then imported into AE and converted to shapes. The problem is, that at the moment, the designer can't really use opacity in his artwork... So we need to figure out the way how to get all the artwork from Ai to AE.


                    We already have hundreds of Ai files and there will be hundreds / thousands more. So we need to automate it in some way.




                    And now the workaround I was talking about in my previous message... It's a very specific case, which will work only for our artwork.


                    All the Ai files we have will be in a flat design. No gradients, there’s only opacity on shadow layers (black fills #00000 with 20% opacity) and highlight layers (white fill #ffffff with 20% opacity). No other layer will have these two colors.


                    1. We will make a script for Illustrator that will bring opacity to 100% in all layers in all the Ai files (kind of a batch command).

                    2. Then I’ll import everything into AE with no hassle and convert everything to shapes (we’ll actually make a script for that as well).

                    3. Then we’ll make another script for AE that will search all shapes in the project for those two colours (black fills #00000 and white fill #ffffff) and bring on them the opacity back to 20%.



                    Because of this, we are restricted to use only one type of shadows and one type of highlights (like in the "House" Ai file, but I'm not sure if it's already like that in that file). Adding more would add another layer of complexity. It's a possible thing to do, but it's quite ugly form the "workflow" point of view

                    • 7. Re: Illustrator import issues
                      Herbert2001 Level 4

                      This script might be handy to solve issue (A): the art boards. Simple one-click solution to remove them. http://aescripts.com/explode-shape-layers/

                      • 8. Re: Illustrator import issues
                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Now that I understand your workflow I have a suggestion, and it's surprisingly easy. Don't use opacity in Illustrator, use the color values that give you the same look. For example: Dropbox - Regular house Rework.ai


                        I simply duplicated the entire house layer, moved it to the side, rasterized the duplicate, then reworked the right window using the eyedropper to change the colors. Now when you convert the right window to shapes it looks exactly the same as the original. Problem solved by understanding the limitations of Illustrator to Shapes in AE and modifying the artwork so that it will work. Took me less than 2 minutes and only required drawing two additional paths on the top gray bar. Here's what the comp looks like with the fixed window converted to a shape layer.


                        Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.15.44 PM.png

                        • 9. Re: Illustrator import issues
                          Herbert2001 Level 4

                          One issue I encountered with your work-around is that certain parts must be reworked as well - the curtain, for example, for flat colours to work. And the OP seems to have hundreds of existing files - reworking them all will take far too much time. This must be automated in some way.


                          Unfortunately, your work-around does not seem to be a viable solution for the OP, in my opinion.

                          • 10. Re: Illustrator import issues
                            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            I copied the entire house, created a new temporary layer, pasted the copy on the new layer, rasterized it, moved it to the side, then with the direct selection tool (a) selected, selected the layers with transparency and used the eyedropper tool (i ) to change the fill. Saw that I needed to draw two new shapes which I did with the pen tool using smart guides, and then filled them with new colors sampled from the rasterized house. If I were doing this artwork from scratch I would set up a couple of rectangles on the side of the drawing that were filled with the colors that I wanted to use in the drawing. If they were easily generated using transparency or blend modes I would do that, then rasterize the rectangles if blend modes or opacity were required and use those as palettes for my artwork then create the artwork using the drawing tools. I do this all the time for info graphics. Pick a color palette, put it on the side of the artboard, then create and sample away. If I were really organized, which I sometimes am when creating a bunch of similar graphics, I'll create a custom palette and just load it up for the project. I probably have 100 custom palettes that I have set up for various projects.


                            If you intend to convert your artwork to shapes in AE then this is the only work around, and it's not that hard to do. It will take a lot less time than trying to come up with a script that is outside the capabilities of AE to interpret AI files.

                            • 11. Re: Illustrator import issues
                              zlovatt Level 1

                              Rick-- Adam's script-based solution is pretty clever, and allows easy adaptation of both existing and future files with a two-click solution (run script once in AI, and again in AE). Any sort of manual recreation of individual components of art would take exponentially more time and effort. While it's definitely technically doable, it's not a feasible solution.


                              @Herbert2001 -- This post came about directly from Adam using my Explode Shape Layers script and seeing some of the limitations the convert function brings

                              • 12. Re: Illustrator import issues
                                AdamSabla Level 1

                                @Rick, what you're suggesting is one of solution, however it doesn't preserve the flexibility which is there with shadows with opacity.




                                I have a shape of color A, on which is another shape "shadow". If I would like to change the color of the whole thing:


                                - if the shadow is made of transparent black, all I need to do is to change the color A.

                                - if the shadow is a solid color of 100% transparency, I need to change the fill and the shadow as well.


                                Of course, I could do this with some HUE effect slider... But if we need to change the fills, having the opacity is way more flexible.


                                In our case, people will be able to change the color of the house for example, by picking a color preset prom a palette.


                                Btw thank you all for help! I didn't expect this post to be such a party