The zipped PSD file that automatically downloads when you click this link (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 from 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 background 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 shapes on different layers with one color, all at once?

2 Answers 2

  • 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.

  • 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.OL'y.
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 1:30
  • I updated the answer :)
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 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
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 1:51
  • Thank you, I will. I'm a little embarrassed. I'll include my AE questions as well.
    – J.OL'y.
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 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
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 2:03

Super late to the party here but a thing that helped me quite a bit—you can select (with the direct selection tool in PS) a mask/vector points, switch over to AE, create a new solid and paste it in—it will paste in as a path. Very neat.

Another workaround that I've found myself using is exporting from PS as a Photoshop EPS… very hacky but also works!

  • Thanks for this! I will bookmark this solution and refer back to it next time this comes up, and see if we can skip all this nonsense to begin with.
    – J.OL'y.
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 17:23

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