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This lovely PSD file (350 Perfect Icons -- brankic1979) consists of a high number of beautiful icon elements that were originally masked in photoshop. I want to be able to import vector files into After Effects eventually. The vector information IS in the PS file as a path, but importing form PS into AE will not retain vector functionality. So here's where I ended up:

  1. I opened the file in Illustrator.
  2. Created Objects From Layers from the box that popped up.
  3. I went through each layer and deleted the BG of the mask.

Now I'm left with the shape object paths, but each object/group is in a separate layer. When I select all, and try to apply a swatch. Not only does it not work, but if I have some objects colored, they will lose that color, and go back to empty. SOMETHING is working, but in an "inverted" way, maybe?

How can I fill in all these empty shape layers with one color, all at once?

EDIT NOTE: This edit was in response to the confusion of my post, I had not mentioned ANYTHING about illustrator before (as you can see in Scott's response.

*SOLUTION*The solution from him is to simply, one by one, select which elements I want from the PSD file, copy and paste into AI, and then color from there. Thanks Scott for everything! Give props everyone.

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  • Select all the shape layers
  • Group them Command/Ctrl+G
  • Highlight the group in the Layers Panel
  • Choose Layer > Layer Style > Color Overlay and choose the color you'd like.


I don't know why you put "Illustrator" in the title or tagged this question with Illustrator. It has nothing to do with Illustrator at all. Or, am I missing something?

If you need each shape layer to be colored, rather than the group, then you'll need to adjust the existing color overly on the shape layers. They already have a dark color overlay. You'll need to remove that or change it's color.


Added per comments

No mention of AI or AE in your question. :)

All you need do for AE is choose File > Import > File.. and select the PSD.

Then choose which layer of the PSD you want to import.

AE import

If you want vector paths in AE, then simply highlight a layer in the PSD, copy, switch to AI, and Paste.

Then you can recolor in AI, Save As, and import that file into AE.

If going through AI, it makes absolutely no difference what color the shape layers are in Photoshop. That color is not carried to AI. So you have to recolor in AI anyway.

If you are simply opening the PSD in AI and converting layers to objects, what you get is a whole lot of Clipping Masks in AI. You'll have to go through and release the clipping masks and delete the raster fill objects below them (what they were masking). Then things will color as expected.

Honestly, I'd either copy/paste each layer to AI and recolor, or simply import the layers from the PSD into AE. I don't see any direct benefit to going through AI before AE.

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I'm sorry, sir, I didn't make it clear that I am trying to import from PS into AI. I meant to say "After I open it in Illustrator," then I Make Objects from Layers. I'm using these in After Effects. Can you import vector objects into AE from Photoshop? –  J.O'Ly. Feb 5 '13 at 1:30
I updated the answer :) –  Scott Feb 5 '13 at 1:47
you should update your question to reflect the ENTIRE workflow and clearly explain what apps you are using, their versions, and the path through the apps. –  Scott Feb 5 '13 at 1:51
Thank you, I will. I'm a little embarrassed. I'll include my AE questions as well. –  J.O'Ly. Feb 5 '13 at 2:02
No reason to br embarrassed :) It's very easy to leave out important things because you are involved in the actual project :) –  Scott Feb 5 '13 at 2:03
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