4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 18, 2017 12:09 PM by Rick Gerard

    How do I organize Illustrator file for camera traveling?



      I would like to do a traveling camera over a big Illustrator file:


      How do I organize the file for sending the camera to direct posions? until now I had to move it manually

      By the way I'm using CC 2017

      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: How do I organize Illustrator file for camera traveling?
          Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional

          Hi Nir,


          Rather then creating one large big scene in illustrates like you did, you will be better off compositing the scene in After Effects with separate elements. this will give you much more control because the timing is also derived from the exact composition of the different elements.


          So the first thing you should do is prepare your design file to After Effects.


          1. Create a new HD1080 Preset in illustrator and arrange you different elements in that document as separate layers. everything that needs a separate animation, needs to be in a separate layer
          2. import your illustrator file as a Composition - Retain layer size, or Composition with footage dimensions set to layer size.


          Now for the Animation, this is my favorite approach to hover over a large scene

          1. set all your layers as 3D so you could use a virtual camera to hover over them.
          2. add a 50mm one node camera
          3. open a 2 views setup, set the other to "front" view
          4. in front view you can set up your view by using the track Z camera tool
          5. animate your camera in the front view while viewing the result in the active camera


          If you want, you can use a rig to direct your camera to exact layer position:

          1. set the camera at it's default position
          2. right click on the camera->camera->create orbit null - this will create a rig for your camera that controls the camera from its field of view.
          3. now use the null to direct the camera to each layer's position by copying the position from the layer to the null


          Here's a demonstration of this technique: Panning Large Scenes Using Target Layers in 3D - YouTube


          Note: there are different tricks to make a continuous video (graphic or any other). it does not necessarily mean you need one camera through the whole scene. you should find interesting ways to cut between different scenes to simplify your project. take a look at this video that a student with the same question sent me yesterday: Retro Graphics Title Sequence - After Effects Template - YouTube  - see how the scene changes from a scene to the other - you don't need to control one camera through all of this, but find the proper place to make the transition. this will also make your project much more manageable and possibly more interesting.


          Here's the project file for you to see how this works.

          I converted the layers to shapes so you won't get missing files (you don't have do that if you want to use this technique);

          HoverLargeScene.aep - Google Drive

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          • 2. Re: How do I organize Illustrator file for camera traveling?
            NirW Level 1

            Thank you for your answer!

            I want to do big comics page, thats why I need one camera.

            • 3. Re: How do I organize Illustrator file for camera traveling?
              Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional

              Good luck and thanks for the feedback.

              • 4. Re: How do I organize Illustrator file for camera traveling?
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                If I'm working on a project like you describe I always lay out my shots (Roei called them Slides) with the elements in their hero pose or position. The hero pose is how I want the elements of the design to appear at the most important time in the story. Each element that needs to have individual movement is on a separate layer in Illustrator. A single Illustrator file may contain several shots (slides), but I turn off the layers before I start working on the new shot (slide). I usually create a new Illustrator document for each phrase or paragraph of copy. I would never create a single AI file for a five or ten minute movie in a single illustrator file.


                When I move the files into AE I import as a comp and add the trimmed audio track to the comp that I'm working on. After completing each comp they are rendered and then the final movie is assembled in a NLE where I can easily fine tune the timing of the audio and add any other elements that I need.


                Hang on, here come my time saving workflow tips for working with this kind of project in AE's 3D space. There are a few of them.


                Depending on the design there are two ways to approach the project. One is to arrange the slides in 3D space and move the camera, the second is to move the slides in 3D space. It's just like working with actors. You can either move your actors in the scene or you can move the camera. If you want to move both the actors and the camera it's going to take more work and you will need more takes. From your screenshot I think it wold be easier to move the actors and leave the camera in one position. Here's how I would do that.


                Making sure all of the layers for your scene are turned on and properly labeled in Illustrator, then import as  a comp and open the comp. Turn off all of the layers and then start turning on your layers one at a time until you build your first hero pose (slide) in it's resting position, add a null to the comp, select all layers in the hero pose and then click on the layer color icon in the timeline and set them to a common color, then parent all of the layers in the scene to the null (label the null). Now turn off all of those grouped layers and start on the next hero pose (slide). The reason for setting each group of layers to a unique color is to make it easy to select them as a layer group. The reason for the null is to move them in or out of the scene.


                Once you have all of your layers grouped add a camera and lock the layer. Now set the CTI (current time indicator) to the point in the timeline where the first group is supposed to land in it's hero pose and set a keyframe for all layers. Then work backwards to move the elements out of the frame to their starting position, then go move forwards to move the actors to their ending position, select all of the layers in the group and set an out point. Select the next layer group, turn them on and repeat the procedure setting in and out points and using the null to move everything as a unit. This can go very quickly. I have a bunch of animation presets that I use to move elements in and out of frame based on layer in and out points that I use all the time and I can put together a five minute scene for an explainer video in just a few minutes using this workflow.


                I hope you got that. Here's the second technique, moving the camera.


                Do the same thing you did to group layers into hero poses, add the null's and set the layer colors. Turn on the first slide and animate the elements and the camera to get the action you want in your scene. The camera will be out of position now so when you turn on the next slide everything will be out of position. Move the CTI to the point in the timeline where the next slide should be in it's hero position. Now select the null and press Ctrl/Cmnd + Home. If you are on a Mac laptop with no home hey you can use Function + Ctrl/Cmnd left arrow. If you don't have a home key you can temporararilly set a keyframe for the camera's point of interest, cut it (Ctrl/Cmnd + x) then paste the position info to the position property of the null for slide 2. This will center null 2 and the slide in the camera's current view. Then you can proceed with your animation. This is an easy way to get a bunch of layers in the current camera view when it's way out of it's original position.


                I hope these hints help.

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