Motion graphics: Adobe Illustrator to After Effects Basic

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End Result:

Adobe Illustrator is a graphic vector editor developed by Adobe. Difference between Photoshop and Illustrator? Illustrator is vector-based. So, unlike Photoshop’s pixel-based format, Illustrator uses mathematical constructs to create vector graphics. A vector graphic will never lose its quality if it’s scaled up or down. So graphic designer uses Illustrator will also give you a better print output since it’s not resolution dependent. Illustrator are typically used to create logos, icons, drawings, typography, and complex illustrations.

Some contemporary design trends are Skeuomorphism, Flat design, and Material design (more details). For this workshop, we work with Flat design.

Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe and used in the post-production process of film making and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing and animation. For this workshop series, we work with Motion graphics.

Illustrator to After Effects is a 3 session workshop series that introduces attendees to simple illustrate-animate workflow: from Illustrator – vector graphic – to After Effects – motion graphic. By the end of the series, attendees will have a basic understanding of graphic design, the software, and a cool animated rocket video/GIF (some work/other work).

The 3 workshop sessions ideally will cover the basics of Illustrator and After Effects can do. Generally, the series is for Illustrator and After Effects newbies. Difficulty levels may increase but not drastically so don’t worry if you miss the previous one and want to go to the next one!

If you have questions, you are also more than welcome to pass by the Digital Media Bar, looking for Thanh Nguyen, or email me at

Agenda & files of session 1 is available.

Agenda of session 2 is available.

Agenda of session 3 is available.

Adobe Suite CC is available on the lab computers in Ebert 109 – Visual Resources Lab and Andrews Library Digital Studio.

Some Illustrator examples


Attendees will create vector drawing of a rocket that will be used for animation using introductory tools.

Files: x

    • Introduction to Vector graphics
      • Vector graphics & common uses
      • Difference between AI, PS, and AE
      • AI User Interface
    • Flat Design – creating this from squares and circles
      • Document setup
      • Select & Direct Select tools
      • Shape & Pen tools
      • Color guide & Color scheme
      • Pathfinder

Beginner tutorials:

  1. Learn to set up a new Illustrator file: x
  2. Learn to use pen, pencil, and flare tool: x
  3. Learn to work with shape tools: x


Attendees will continue the rocket vectors & arrange them into animation components that then will be imported to After Effects

Files: x

    • Continue with Flat Design and Illustrator
      • Quick revision
      • Shape & Pen tool
      • Rotate tool & Mirror tool
      • Transform again tool
    • Motion Graphics & Animating components
      • Introduction to motion graphics
      • Animation components
      • Export components (assets) in Illustrator

Tutorials & Resources:

  1. Add depth and texture in Illustrator (not flat design): x
  2. Adobe Color wheel: x
  3. A simple Typography tutorials: x
  4. Introduction to Motion Graphics in After Effects: x


Attendees will animate the imported illustration using After Effects

Files for workshop: x


  • Introduction to Motion Graphics
    • Quick Revision: import .ai file to After Effects
    • Motion graphics
    • After Effects UI
  • Animate the rocket
    • Create new composition
    • Timeline & Transform
    • Export project files to .mov an .mp4

Tutorials & Resources:

  1. Helpful graphic design channel: The Simple Designer
  2. Slick object transitions tutorial: x
  3. Inspiration Character animation workflow: x