I had created an Adobe Illustrator animation/illustration file with 9 layers each depicting a drawing that progresses.

I tried to import the file to Adobe After Effects successfully, but the image/drawing doesn't show up.

I have recorded a video of it here:

Anyone know why? What can I do to have the illustrations show up on the Effects screen?

Thank you, Jae

  • 1
    Probably everything comes out black because both the background in After Effects and the outlines of your illustration are black. The white background in Illustrator actually is an alpha channel, so you're just putting black on black ... Try changing the color of either the outline of the illustration or the background in After Effects.
    – MoritzLost
    Dec 15, 2014 at 2:30
  • In the video above you did a black drawing on a transparent background did you not? So I'd guess AE is just showing you the black drawing over a black background. What happens when you change the background colour of the comp, or turn on transparency grid.
    – stib
    Jan 1, 2015 at 12:41

4 Answers 4


Are you manually animating in illustrator and then bringing them in as individual frames in After Effects or are they independent assets? After Effects treats Illustrator files as images that are displayed across multiple frames and the background is transparent. You then animate them in After Effects itself by positioning and scaling and such.

If you have multiple layers in Illustrator, you also need to decide which layers are imported as your asset. You can either flatten it or use individual layers when importing.

  • Ok, will try that. Thank you. I also recieved a reply stating that I had simply created a black screen. When I change the screen to transparent, the image/drawings show up: youtu.be/krBytvYLjsA
    – user10209
    Dec 16, 2014 at 19:12

I had the same problem. What worked was to save the AI file as CS3 compatible. Now it showes up again


I had the same issue over and over again. I finally realized that my computer was so slow that it was showing me layers as if they were all black at first and after a couple of minutes they started showing up.


Its just the really bad implementation of the new code in CC. Adobe have released too many versions without adequate testing. They have made the suite rentalware so there is less pressure on them to produce high quality updates. As a result, their software is full of bugs.

  • It is true that Adobe CC quality has been very poor for a long time, but that's not a useful answer to the question. It is at best a comment. Sep 2, 2016 at 14:44

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