Blurred or Pixelated images inside a video may spoil the effort. If the illustration created in Adobe Illustrator (AI) was not properly imported inside Adobe After Effects, such scenario may happen.

Adobe After Effects is a pixel based platform whereas Illustrator is vector based. To keep the vector images sharp inside the After Effects, it is important to follow the following steps. These steps will make sure the vector image (.ai) files are sharp and not blurred in the final rendered video produced out of AE.

Import Lossless AI Files in After Effects

Step #1 Import the .ai file in After Effects. If the .ai file contains layers, then you need to import as a composition and not a footage

Import illustrator file with layers in after effects

Step #2 Drag the AI file (Or a composition containing the AI layers ) in composition.

Import illustrator file in after effects

Step #3 Select Continuously Rasterizeoption which looks like the sun.

If you can’t see these options you’ll need to press the “Toggle Switches / Modes” button at the bottom of the window.

continuously rasterize option in after effcets

If the composition is containing AI layers then make sure to select “Continuously Rasterize” for all the layers inside that composition. Most of the video producers forget it but is very important for keeping the vectors sharp and not blurry.

continuously rasterize option in after effcets

Now you can scale the vector inside After Effects without loosing the quality. This method works for all types of vector files including PDF, EPS, AI etc.

If the vector image inside the AE is still not sharp and appearing  blurry, check the following points and make sure you follow these.

Cases and Scenarios

#1 If you have applied any effects like Shadow, blur in AI file that will overwrite your “Continuously Rasterize” option. First of all remove all those effects and after importing .ai files in after effects you can apply their counterparts in AE. If the problem is about rasterization, then edges would be jagged, not just blurry.

#2 AI document should be in RGB format and not in CMYK (really Basic, but Important) .

#3 If you are viewing the composition at half, third or quarter resolution then you may find your AI files Blur.

#4 There can be hidden, unnoticed adjustment layer or effect acting on the vector layer.

#5 If you have set any transparency to a particular object in AI and you are using it in AE, you may find it blur .

#6 When you zoom in the illustrator ,you may find it blur. But it is normal.When you scale a layer with continuous rasterization, the vector information is converted into a new set of pixels to make things sharp. When you just zoom in a preview, you’re not actually changing any pixels in the composition; you’re just zooming in on the existing pixels for a closer look.This apparent pixelation for zooms does not affect scaling of layers or rendering to final output. 

So if you are creating an animation with character vector image taken out of Illustrator, and seeing the image blurred in the final video, follow these steps.

If you find this article helpful or you have some other cases and their solution then please mention them in the comment below.