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5 Easy Ways to Copy Multiple Illustrator Paths to After Effects

5 Easy Ways to Copy Multiple Illustrator Paths to After Effects

Are you searching for some effective ways by which you can copy multiple Illustrator paths to After Effects?

Do you want to create some incredible motion graphics in Adobe after effects?

If you are saying yes to all these questions, then, believe me, it is your lucky day!

Today, in this article, we are going to throw light on some easy steps which can help you to copy multiple Illustrator paths to After Effects.

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illustrator paths to after effects

What is Adobe Illustrator and After Effects?

Adobe Illustrator is a great illustration software tool that is extensively been used for creating unique artwork by graphic and web designers.

This software comes with a wide range of drawing tools that can help professional illustrators to create some amazing illustrations and drawings.

Released back in the year 1987, Adobe Illustrator is specifically used for the creation of vector graphics.

Now, Adobe Illustrator is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and has become a popular application for creating graphics, logos, fonts as well as comics.

In addition to using Adobe Illustrator, there is other software as well that belongs to the Adobe family.

This software can create unique as well as stunning artworks by using animation.

One such software is After Effects that is a well-known software for producing attractive and eye-catching imagery for your project.

It is specifically used for adding visual effects as well as motion graphics for web, video, TV, and film.

Usually, Adobe Illustrator and After Effects are used together to create powerful and professional quality designs.

At times, while creating the artwork, graphic designers need to copy files and paths from Adobe Illustrator to After Effects.

If you are a graphic designer and want to master in the field of pasting multiple illustrator paths to After Effects, then no worries!

We can assist you a lot in this case.

One Thing to Keep in Mind When Copying Illustrator Paths to After Effects

In the case of converting paths from Illustrator to After Effects, one thing that you should keep in mind is that the illustrator path should be compatible with After Effects.

There are several ways by which you can copy Illustrator paths to After Effects.

These include pasting all Illustrator paths at the same time, copying paths into position keyframes as well as defining a target for multiple paths.

Basic knowledge of all these methods can save you a lot of time.

Illustrator paths play an important role in controlling as well as keeping track of art objects and documents!

In this article, we are going to share some most important tricks by which you can copy multiple Illustrator paths to After Effects.

These tricks can assist you in preparing a path in Adobe Illustrator to be used for animation in Adobe after effects.

Therefore, scroll down and write notes of what this article is going to highlight.

By reading this article, you will learn an important skill that can take your Illustrations to a big place!

Let’s discover these easy ways!

What is the primary method of pasting a path?

The method of pasting a path from Illustrator to After Effects is quite simple.

If you want to move a single path from Adobe Illustrator to Adobe after effects, you need to copy that path from Illustrator and then paste it to After Effects.

As a result of this, a mask path will be formed by default by pressing “M” to get the Mask Path property.

In case of copying multiple paths, the process of copying or pasting the path is the same but the difference lies in the creation of mask paths.

As there are multiple paths to copy, multiple mask paths will be created by After Effects according to the number of paths that you copied.

Effective methods to copy and paste multiple Illustrator paths to After Effects

Paste all Illustrator paths at the same time

Want to copy and paste more than one path from Adobe Illustrator to After Effects?

Paste all the paths of Adobe Illustrator at the same time.

The process of pasting a single Illustrator path to a shape layer is quite simple and straightforward as it involves the creation of a pen path and pasting the desired file into After Effects.

But in case of pasting multiple Illustrator paths, After Effects do not create the right number of paths automatically, leading to several mask paths.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that if you try to copy and paste each Illustrator path one by one, you will not be able to get the desired composition.

As a result, all the paths will lose their relationship with each other.

Therefore, it is always recommended to paste all Illustrator paths at the same time, leading to correct relationships between the paths.

Follow the steps mentioned below to copy and paste all the paths that you created in Adobe Illustrator:

Step 1: Open Illustrator, choose all the paths and click “Copy”. (One thing that you should keep in mind is that a new shape layer can be created or you can use an existing one to paste the Illustrator path)

Step 2: Go to After Effects and select the shape layer in case the shape layer is already created for previous paths. In case of the absence of an existing shape layer, you can create a new shape layer by defining a path property. But before creating a new layer, do not select the previous shape layers. Always deselect them by pressing F2.

Step 3: Select a path and then duplicate it to get the desired number of paths.

Step 4: Choose path 1 and then press Shift + click till the last path. The same procedure applies while copying all the properties of a path.

Step 5: Click “Paste”.

Pasting Paths into Position Key Frames

At times, illustrators need to copy a path to a Position motion path. After creating a path, you need to create position keyframes so you can copy and paste the path into position keyframes.

Step 1:At first, set the Mask Path property. After setting the property, copy the path. For this, you need to go to Edit >> Copy.

Step 2:Select “Position” to target the property and getting the position parameter.

Step 3:After creating position keyframes, you need to add/paste the path as a position keyframe, therefore, go to Edit and then click “Paste”.

Define a target for multiple paths

There is another method to copy multiple Illustrator paths to After Effects. For this, all you need to do is set a target for multiple illustrator paths.

Step 1: To copy an entire path, head over to the Preferences dialog box in Adobe Illustrator, and choose the AICB option. AICB stands for Adobe Illustrator Clip Board. It means that your Adobe illustrator paths will be preserved with no support for transparency.

Step 2:After selecting the Adobe Illustrator Clip Board option, go to Edit >> Copy. Make sure to use the Selection Tool to select an entire path rather than selecting a single segment or an anchor point.

Step 3: Go to After Effects to paste the selected path. Here, you will be given two options for defining the target for the copied paths. By choosing the first option, you can select a layer for creating a mask and by choosing the second option, you can select the properties of a path in case of an existing mask path. (Remember: when you select the path properties, After Effects will get to know the target of the paste operation).

Step 4:After selecting one of the above layer options, go to Edit and then paste the desired Illustrator path.

In the case of pasting multiple Illustrator paths, the first path will be pasted into the shape path as it has a defined target. Other paths will be pasted to an entire layer as new mask paths. The reason is After Effects has considered the target as an entire layer!

Essential Tips to copy Illustrator paths to After Effects

For copying your Illustrator files, go to File >> Import. At the time of importing the files, a screen will appear that will show three options to import. These include:

  • Composition
  • Composition with Retain Layer Sizes
  • Footage

There is a huge difference between the above import options.

If you select “Import as Composition”, the size of the layer will be according to the size of the Artboard in Illustrator.

In this way, when you copy the file to After Effects, you need to work more on the reposition items as well as anchor joints.

Composition with retain layer sizes is the most common option that illustrator chooses while copying the path from Illustrator to After Effects.

As the name implies, this composition will retain the size of the layer, leading to less work on reposition items and anchor joints.

The third import option is Footage that gives you further two options.

The first option is to choose one layer to copy from the Illustrator file and the second option is to choose the entire path as one item.

What you should consider while importing a path in After Effects?

There are several points that you need to consider before pasting a path.

At first, you need to focus on the type of layer. If the mask path is already created, the path that you copy from the Illustrator will take the position of that mask path.

If the type of layer you selected is such that the previous mask is not present, the newly copied path will become a mask path.

It is a path that helps the Adobe after effects to create animations by using various handles and by moving the points.

This path can also become a motion path by making a certain object to follow that path.

Working with Layers and Composition in After Effects

Once your Illustrator file is imported into After Effects, you can start working with the layers and building your composition.

Adjust Layer Anchor Points

First, adjust the anchor points for each layer by selecting the layer, pressing Y to activate the Pan Behind (Anchor Point) tool, and moving the anchor point to the desired location.

Create Animations

Next, create animations for each layer using keyframes. Select a layer, press P to bring up the Position property, and click the stopwatch icon to create a keyframe.

Move the playhead to a different point in time and move the layer to create a second keyframe.

Parent Layers

To create more complex animations, parent layers together by using the pick whip tool or the Parent dropdown menu in the layer panel.

Optimizing Vector Graphics for the Best Outcome

To get the most out of your vector graphics in After Effects, follow these essential tips and techniques:

Enable Continuously Rasterize

To maintain the sharpness of your vector graphics when scaling, enable the “Continuously Rasterize” option for each layer.

This can be done by clicking the small sun-like icon next to the layer name in the timeline.

Use Shape Layers

For more advanced control over your vector graphics, convert your Illustrator layers to shape layers in After Effects.

To do this, right-click on the layer, then select “Create” > “Create Shapes from Vector Layer.”

This will create a new shape layer with editable paths, allowing you to manipulate the individual vector points directly in After Effects.

Utilize Effects and Presets

Take advantage of After Effects’ Effects and Presets to add more depth and dynamics to your vector animations. Some popular effects for vector graphics include:

Drop Shadow: Add depth by applying a shadow to your layers.

Stroke: Apply an outline or change the color of your vector shapes.

Trim Paths: Animate the appearance or disappearance of your vector paths.

Exporting Your Completed After Effects Project

Once you’ve finished working on your Illustrator files within After Effects, follow these steps to export your final project:

  1. Navigate to “Composition” > “Add to Render Queue” or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+/ (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+/ (Mac) to add your composition to the render queue.
  2. In the Render Queue panel, click on the “Output Module” text to open the “Output Module Settings” dialog.
  3. Select your preferred output format, such as H.264 for web and social media use, or a lossless format for additional editing purposes.
  4. Confirm your selections by clicking “OK” to close the “Output Module Settings” dialog.
  5. In the Render Queue panel, click the “Output To” text to set the destination for your exported project.
  6. Initiate the rendering process by clicking “Render.”

Upon completion, your final project will be saved to the specified location, ready for sharing or further editing as needed.

By following this process, you can ensure that your After Effects project featuring Illustrator files is exported successfully and in the desired format.


After Effects is specifically used to create animation in TV programs, films, commercials, music videos as well as websites.

At times, the drawing work of the design is made using Adobe Illustrator. It is commonly said that the shape and path creation tools of Adobe Illustrator are more powerful than those of After Effects.

That is why graphic designers and illustrators usually create paths in Adobe Illustrator and then copy their work to After Effects.

Most web and graphic designers are not familiar with the animation tools of After Effects which makes it difficult for them to import Illustrator paths to After Effects.

Now, the copy and paste procedure of Adobe Illustrator paths and files to After Effects has become quite easier.

You can import a single path or a group of paths. In both cases, what you need to do is choose the paths that you want to copy and set the target to achieve a good composition.

All the steps mentioned above will help you a lot to move multiple Illustrator paths to After Effects.

They play a vital role in the copy and paste procedure of multiple paths.

So, what are you waiting for now? It is time for you to create some unique and extraordinary animations in Adobe after effects!

What kind of graphics do you create in After Effects?