I'm animating a rocketship in After Effects, and I'm sure I've prepared the artwork in Illustrator correctly.

If you take a look at this video at 2:45, he creates shapes from vector layers. But when I do that, there is only one blue box on top of my outline off to the left above it, whereas the video's shows two blue boxes like in Illustrator.

My flame trails in Illustrator are indeed outlines, not filled objects, so I'm not sure what to do. Haven't been able to figure this out, and I would appreciate help. Here is an image of the incorrect shape, which is what I'm stuck with. There's only one handle instead of one handle on each end.

enter image description here

  • Can you add screenshots showing specifically what the difference is between his example and yours? Perhaps add arrows pointing to exactly what you're referring to...
    – BANG
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 18:43
  • Alright, I just edited the post to include an image.
    – O Dsqn
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


After some testing I've figured out what's up here. This, it seems is a consequence of importing paths from Illustrator.

(Seems to me it would be easier just to draw these simple paths right in After Effects to begin with – but anyhow)

Here I've got three examples:

Three shape layers

  • The one on the left is straight from Illustrator (just as you've done)

  • The center one has been created within After Effects

  • The one on the right has been imported from Illustrator after I fixed it

Going through the layer stack we see that my first example displays the same little square at the top-left as yours does... while the others do not. We also see when we get to the 'Group 1' layer that there is an anchor point in the same location as the little square, while the others have their anchor points in their respective centers as they ought to:

Path comparison

Taking a peek at the Transform properties for the first path confirms that the anchor point is not at zero:

Anchor point properties

So how did this happen? Taking note of the numbers (22 and 247) I went back into Illustrator and put my detective hat on...

What seems to be happening is that when importing this way, the X and Y coordinates are transferred from the Transform Panel in AI to the anchor point in AE. Here is my Transform Panel in Illustrator:

AI Transform Panel

So (if you must import paths this way) rather than mess around trying to fix it in After Effects, let's just fix it before it's exported from AI... The solution is simply to zero out the X and Y values, and then save. Here's what it looked like when I saved it:

Odd workaround

The result then is the fuchsia path (on the right) which appears to be just the same as the version created within AE (except one is called 'Shape X' while the other is referred to as 'Group X').

The little square is no longer there and the anchor point is now centered as it should be.

  • I might be missing something, but if I zero out the x and y coords in Illustrator, it moves to 0,0 on my artboard.
    – O Dsqn
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 20:31
  • Not sure what you're saying here... 0,0 is the top left corner of the artboard... Does it make the little blue square go away in AE or no?
    – BANG
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 0:06
  • So, the x and y coords in AE are 7 and 37, but in AI they're 931 and 829, some large number like that. In your example, the AE and AI coords are the same, so I'm not sure if I'm selecting the anchor point in AI or what's going on. And no, the blue square is still there, so that's why I think I'm mistaken.
    – O Dsqn
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 0:40
  • Did you delete the offending shape layers and replace them with new zeroed out versions from AI? Once your Illustrator files are made into shape layers you can't edit the AI files anymore and see the changes in AE. You have to resave the files after you 'fix' them as I've described and then reimport into AE, etc. Might be easier at some point to just redraw those few paths in AE than trying to hunt down the problem... Just make a new shape layer for each path you need, copy the animation properties over, then just delete the old ones.
    – BANG
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 1:56

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