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How to Prepare Logo Artwork to Animate in After Effects

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

In this lesson you will learn how to take a logo design and prep it for work in Adobe After Effects.

At some point in your After Effects animation journey, you're going be given a set of full-on designs from a designer or some other third-party and these will not always be ready to animate.

Sometimes they need a little bit of massaging in either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop to be able to get them ready to work with an Adobe After Effects and that's the case we are going to explore here.

burger logoburger logoburger logo

This design was provided for me to prepare for animation. To follow along you can use your own logo or find one of the many logo designs on the Envato Elements Website.

envato elementsenvato elementsenvato elements

Now if I were to import this illustrator file into After Effects the way it is now, it would import as a flat layer. This means that I wouldn't have access to all of these individual elements such as the text, the buns, the speed lines, and other individual elements that make up the logo illustration. We need to instead to take this logo from Adobe Illustrator and prep it for animation in Adobe After Effects. This skill is extremely useful and it's the kind of thing that you do a lot when you're working with larger teams.

Prepare the Logo in Adobe Illustrator

The first thing that I would do is in Illustrator if you don't see the Layers panel pulled up, come over here to window and make sure you have up the Layers Panel (Window > Layers). 

layers panellayers panellayers panel

Select the top layer and then click on the menu button on the top right. Choose Release to Layers Sequence. 

choose layer sequencechoose layer sequencechoose layer sequence

What that's going to do is essentially take all of those elements that are built into this layer and put them on their own layer. Just select them and click and drag them down so that they're on their own individual layers. You can tell that they're using separate layers as they now use different colors, which is shown to the left of each layer.

drag the layers downdrag the layers downdrag the layers down

Now if I were to import this into After Effects as it is currently, we'd have access to all the individual layers. Let's go a little bit further and make this even better. Go through the layers and rename them so they are easily identifiable in After Effects. Double click on a layer to do this.

change the name of the layerschange the name of the layerschange the name of the layers

If you if you double-click just to the right of the name, it'll bring up the layer options where you can change things like the layer color for example.

change layer colorchange layer colorchange layer color

How to Import Your Prepped Logo to Adobe After Effects

Once you're happy with the way your layers look, it's time to import those assets. To do this go into Adobe After Effects and double-click in the empty grey space of the Project Panel. This will bring up the import window, where we can navigate to where your file is located to import it in.

double click on empty spacedouble click on empty spacedouble click on empty space

From there I'll get a dialog box with a couple of options to choose from. Make sure to choose Composition instead of Footage. Footage will import in a flat file whereas composition will bring it in with all the layers.

Underneath footage dimensions, you can choose to have it imported with the original Layer Size as opposed to the document size. Layer size makes the bounding box of the individual layers fit around the layers instead of being the entire size of the document. Click OK and we'll bring that in.

import optionsimport optionsimport options

In the Project Panel, double click the composition to open it up. Now you can see that you have imported the logo with all the layers intact. We can now use these layers for animation!

How to Animate the Text 

First let's check the composition settings of the logo. You can do this by right clicking on the composition tab or by going to Composition > Composition Settings.

select composition settingsselect composition settingsselect composition settings

Make sure you are happy with the settings here. In this project for example we are using the following:

  • Width: 1920 pixels
  • Height: 1080 pixels
  • Frame Rate: 29.97
  • Duration: 5 seconds
composition settingscomposition settingscomposition settings

Let's get to work on animating this logo. Now for the text we have a couple of options. We can either work with the text layer that we have imported in, or we can use an actual text layer which will give us more animation options. 

To do this let's head back into Adobe Illustrator and copy the text from the logo using Control - C

burger textburger textburger text

Then head back into Adobe After Effects, use the Horizontal Type Tool (T) to then click on your composition and paste the text in using Control - V.  

From there use the Character Panel and Paragraph Panel to adjust the text so that it lines up almost exactly how it is on the logo. Now if we wanted to use the text animator in After Effects we can do so using the new text layer.

paste textpaste textpaste text

If you want to use the same font as the example here you can download it from Envato Elemets using the link below:

burger fontburger fontburger font

To animate the imported text vector layer instead, click on the text layer. Hit Q on the keyboard to bring up the Rectangle Tool and just draw a rectangular mask around the word 'BEST'. 

draw rectangledraw rectangledraw rectangle

Now rename the layer to 'Best Text'.

rename layerrename layerrename layer

Now duplicate the layer by pressing Control - D and rename this 'Burger Text'.

rename duplicate layerrename duplicate layerrename duplicate layer

And then on the Burger Text layer, double click the Mask and use the transform handles so that the mask covers the 'BURGER' text.

cover the burger textcover the burger textcover the burger text

Select both of these layers and then hit Control - Alt - Home to recenter the anchor points in the middle of the layers.

center anchor pointscenter anchor pointscenter anchor points

With my Best Text layer selected, hit S to bring up the scale options. Click the stopwatch icon to insert a key frame on the eighth frame.

scale eighth framescale eighth framescale eighth frame

Now go back to the beginning of the timeline and scale this up to an absurd amount so no one can see it.

scale textscale textscale text

Make sure to turn on the 'Continuously Rasterize' button for all the layers so that the text and other elements of the logo remain sharp as we animate them.

continuously rasterizecontinuously rasterizecontinuously rasterize

Select the two keyframes, then right click them. Go to Keyframe Assistant > Exponential Scale.

exponential scaleexponential scaleexponential scale

Now let's head into the Graph Editor to see how the scale has an exponential curve to it. Which will give out text a smoother animation.

graph editorgraph editorgraph editor

We can also adjust the animation to make it longer or shorter by first selecting all the keyframes. Hold down the Alt button on the keyboard and grab the last key frame with the mouse. From there click and drag the mouse to move it left or right along the timeline to make the animation slower or faster.

extend the animationextend the animationextend the animation

How to Animate Text Using a Camera

So that's one way that you can do it. Another way, which is somewhat similar, is we can add a 3D virtual camera in here. To do this go to Layer > New > Camera

new cameranew cameranew camera

Choose 35 millimetres.

camera presetscamera presetscamera presets

Make the two text layers 3D layers by checking the 3D layer box next to each layer.

3d layers3d layers3d layers

Now instead of animating the scale, we can animate the position instead, which will give us a similar looking animation with less keyframes. Go to frame eight in the timeline again and drop a position keyframe by clicking on the stopwatch icon next to the position option of your text layer.

position keyframeposition keyframeposition keyframe

Come back to the beginning of the timeline and then use the z axis here and move the text in the z direction so that it goes out of the screen beyond the camera.

move text positionmove text positionmove text position

You can also adjust the y axis and x axis so that the travel line is straight.

adjust travel lineadjust travel lineadjust travel line

You can then adjust the speed of the animation by moving the second keyframe left or right along the timeline. Repeat the same steps on the other text layer to duplicate the animation.

duplicate animationduplicate animationduplicate animation

Now to make the animation look more interesting, we can first pull my burger text layer down below the best text layer. And then push it down the timeline to the right by just a little bit to offset the animation.

offset the animationoffset the animationoffset the animation

Click on the Enable Motion Blur box on each text layer to improve the animation even more.

motion blur motion blur motion blur

Congratulations

final logofinal logofinal logo

Congratulations! And that's how you can prepare your logo for animation and animate the text of your logo in Adobe 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 tutorial useful and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!

More Adobe After Effects Tutorials

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