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How to Create a Layout in After Effects

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this After Effects tutorial, you'll learn how to import graphics into After Effects to create a layout, so we can begin the process of animating this design.

In this example, we have a design that's already been prepared in Adobe Illustrator with individual layers, and we would like to import it into After Effects so that we can animate it.


To import the design, go to File > Import > File. Select the file you would like to import into After Effects (e.g. After Effects boutique scene_1), and click Import.


Import it as a Composition and keep the Footage Dimensions set to Layer Size.

import as a compositionimport as a compositionimport as a composition

The comp will appear in the Project tab. Double-click to open it up, and you should see your project appear with all the layers intact. The only thing that I need for animation is some individual leaf elements for each corner as they are currently just flat images.

open the projectopen the projectopen the project

So let's import the individual leaf elements by going to File > Import > File and putting them into a separate folder called "leaves".

import leavesimport leavesimport leaves

Click and drag the elements into the comp and use the Selection Tool (V) to adjust them by scaling or rotating them to match the flat image. 

add the leafadd the leafadd the leaf

You can also open the Transform options to adjust things like the scale values and flip the elements by adding a -100 value.

scale valuescale valuescale value

I'm going to change the colour of the leaf layer to red so that we can identify it quickly. You can do this by right-clicking on the coloured box and choosing the colour that you want to use.

choose a colourchoose a colourchoose a colour

Repeat the process for the rest of the leaves, using transform options such as Rotate, Scale, Opacity, and Position so that they match the flat image.

repeat the leavesrepeat the leavesrepeat the leaves

Change the layer color of all the leaves to red.

change colour to redchange colour to redchange colour to red

Make sure that the stacking order of the leaf elements is correct so that it appears the same as the flat reference image.

stacking orderstacking orderstacking order

Once you've done that, you can hide the original guide layer, leaving your new leaves behind and ready to be animated!

layout completelayout completelayout complete

You can also duplicate the leaves and repeat the process so that you have leaves on the other corners of the layout as well.

repeat the cornersrepeat the cornersrepeat the corners



Congratulations! And that's how you can import files and create layouts in After Effects. Now that you've learned the basics, check out some of the other tutorials we have on Adobe After Effects below.

I hope you've found this After Effects tutorial useful, and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!

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