How to Use Adobe After Effects to Animate a Sketch from Illustrator

Video is evolving nearly as fast as technology, and along with it particular styles of animation are emerging. Nowadays, hand drawn animation (or most commonly known as white board animation) is significantly growing in popularity. You can use this style to tell a story or explain a concept simplistically through a animated sketch on a blank canvas. Moreover, it can also be used to add visual appeal to long narrative speeches or live footage to capture your viewers interest.

In After Effects, the stoke effect tool will help you animate your sketch, making it look like it’s being drawn out before your eyes. If you are interested in this style of animation, it will be your new best friend! So whether you are curious about how it’s done, or you have spent hours drawing the perfect sketch in Adobe Illustrator only to redraw it in After Effects to animate it, this tutorial is for you.

In 7 easy steps I will show you how to take your picture from Illustrator and animate it in After Effects, saving you time and effort.

  1. Create a new composition in After Effects and add your image.
  2. Select it, and add a stroke effect.
  3. Add a mask to your image. (Make sure it’s selected)
  4. In Illustrator, select your drawing. (Make sure there is no stroke or fill on it so you’re just selecting the vector outline)
    Select>CTRL + C
  5. In After Effects, paste the vectors.
    Expand the mask layer & select the Mask Path and press CTRL + VOAK Computing Animation 5
  6. In the Effects window, under the stroke effect, check ‘All Masks’. For the Paint Style, change it from “On Original Image” to “Reveal Original Image”.
    OAK Computing Animation 6
  7. To animate, go to the point in your timeless where you want your animation to begin. Create a key frame for the ‘End’ element in your Stroke Effect. Set the ‘End’ to 0%. Go to where you want the animation to end, add a key frame and set the ‘End’ to 100%.
    OAK Computing Animation 7

Note:  Keep in mind that the strokes animate in the order in which they were drawn in Illustrator.

And that’s it! You should have a fully animated sketch in Adobe After Effect.

One Response to “How to Use Adobe After Effects to Animate a Sketch from Illustrator”

  1. Thanx

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