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I want to animate an old WW1 military map in After Effects. I drew this map in vector using the Illustrator and now I need to give it a vintage look by overlaying various textures and overprints. For this kind of work, Photoshop is the ideal solution.

I'm wondering if I export my project from Illustrator to Photoshop as smart object, make all the necessary changes, and then export from Photoshop to After Effects, will I be able to work with vector graphics there?

Or is it better to export from the Illustrator directly to After Effects and try to stylize the image already there?

Thanks for the advice.

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I would keep the .ai files in Illustrator. Then import them to After Effects and do any photoshop-style layering in there, unless there's anything really complex that AE can't do. Otherwise you're adding an extra step that you possibly don't need. Each time you update the changes in Illustrator, you should see them reflected in AE after a few seconds. Using something like Overlord can allow you to manipulate shapes in after effect directly.

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If the effects and textures you add in Photoshop are raster (pixel) based, then you'll lose the advantages of vectors in the process. I'd probably do the stylisation in AE, but if you're more familiar with PS do it there, just use a high enough resolution that you won't be giving yourself headaches in AE.

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