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I've updated the imported Illustrator file that I am using in After Effects with some new layers and other stuff, but the changes are not seen in my compositions. How can I get my compositions to recognize the changes?

5 Answers 5

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Right click the Illustrator file in the Project panel and select Reload Footage.

If you imported your Illustrator file as Footage, then that will work with no problem; you'll see your new layers and all changes etc.

Unfortunately if you imported your Illustrator file as a Composition (meaning you have a separate project resource for each layer as in the above screenshot) reloading those layers won't import your new layers. Also if you imported with Retain Layer Sizes, your layers within the composition won't update they're position, only the content.

The only real solution to that is to reimport as a new composition and copy over the new layers to the original composition.

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I had similar problems updating an Illustrator file and it wasn't updating. After trying the methods above, I then deleted the source file in the Project window. The warning box told me that the element was being used in (x) compositions. I deleted anyway, then immediately performed 'Undo'. Like magic, the file finally updated correctly. Note that this was a layer in an Illustrator file that I had previously imported as a composition along with the other layers in the same file.

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  • "Like magic, the file finally updated correctly. Note that this was a layer in an Illustrator file that I had previously imported as a composition along with the other layers in the same file." - Dang; just tried it and didn't work for me. Guess I'm lacking the magical touch...
    – user147637
    Jan 16, 2020 at 18:57
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I found that if you just rename the files to the original name and put the files in the original location it will recognise the files and it will use the files in After effects

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    You should just use Reload Footage, check the other answer. If you rename files you have to replace them in the project, it's just more work.
    – Luciano
    Feb 10, 2020 at 12:17
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Make sure that the illustrator file saved correctly. If it's in a new location or under a new name, After Effects will just keep reloading footage using the old file, not knowing a new version exists

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I am still new to AE but I have found that you can drag+drop layers from multiple folders in the projects window into a new folder AND you can drag+drop layers from multiple project folders into an open composition and just simple pick-whip new layers into existing null objects that contain old animations. The composition not so much "link" with the layers folders themselves but directly with the layers WITHIN the folders.

However, AE also creates invisible links between an open project and .ai files...so if you rename, move or delete .ai files, this breaks links and there seems to be no way to simply replace layers that are compositions and not "footage". Quite a headache.

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    Nov 13, 2021 at 20:31

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