How to keep vector images sharp in After Effects

How to keep vector images sharp in After Effects

Vector artwork scaled up at 400% without and with continuous rasterization
Closeup comparison of rasterization in vector artwork

Raster & Vector

When you import vector graphics such as an Illustrator file, After Effects automatically rasterizes them. What this means is that your vector is converted into pixels in After Effects. Hence, when you scale your vector graphics above 100%, the edges of the artwork will not appear sharp and look pixelated instead.

 

Select the layer and make

How to keep vector artwork sharp in After Effects

To solve this problem, you have to turn on the continuous rasterization switch in your layer. By doing so, After Effects will rasterize the file as needed based on the transformation for each frame. This maintains the sharp edges of your vector illustrations.

Notes on preparing Illustrator files for After Effects

After Effects only import top-level layers

If you plan on animating different parts of your vector artwork in After Effects, ensure that each animatable element is on its own layer. 

Seperating objects into their own invidual layers

Release to Layers (Sequence)

You can do so by selecting your artwork layer, hover to the layer menu and select Release to Layers (Sequence)

Other notes

  1. Ensure your document color mode is RGB
  2. After Effects cannot import multiple artboards! It will only import one artboard and your other artboards will be blank .
  3. Once you import your illustrator files, avoid going back to Illustrator to rename layers

Additional Reading

Desmond Du

Desmond Du is a Singaporean pursuing a B.F.A in Motion Media Design at SCAD Savannah. He enjoys sharing knowledge with everyone and helping people to do their best in whatever work they are doing. He is also looking for content creators to collaborate with or share their content on nosleepcreative.com.

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