Thursday, February 09, 2012

How to move a layout from InDesign to After Effects

It's quite common in tablet publications created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to include animated covers or opening screens for feature articles. You may want to begin the layout of these screens in InDesign, and then take the layout you've created into Adobe After Effects to make it move. Here is a simple way to get an InDesign layout into After Effects, with each InDesign element showing up in After Effects as a separate asset that can then be made to move.

1. In InDesign, use the layers panel to selectively make layers and/or objects visible and invisible, as needed, and export each layer and/or object that you may want to manipulate in After Effects. You'll want to export the entire page(screen) for each object, instead of just the selection, so that each exported JPEG is the same pixel dimensions, making it easier to assemble the pieces later in step 5. Export non-transparent layers as JPEG using the settings shown below:


2. For layers that need a transparent background in After Effects, such as type floating over an image, export the layer as and EPS file with the settings below:


3. In After Effects, make a new project, and new composition using these settings (assuming you're creating a full-screen composition for the iPad 1or 2):


4. Choose File > Import File, and select each of the JPEG and EPS files you exported from InDesign. Be sure to select Import As: Footage. Then click the Open button.


5. Each of the files will be brought into your composition as an asset and will appear in the Project panel. Select each of the these assets in the Project panel, and drag them onto your Composition screen.


6. You can change the stacking order of the layers by dragging the layers in the Timeline panel.



Anonymous said...

Hi Kelth. Thanks for this great post. One question: when I import the EPS type files, they are coming into AE within a white box. How can I make the type files come in with a transparent background? Ron

Keith Gilbert said...

@Ron. I just ran through a quick test to see if the steps as they are outlined in the blog post are still valid with ID/AE CC. It still worked perfectly for me. A layer that contains only type in InDesign gets exported with a clear background. The EPS file should appear in the AE Project panel with the Type displayed as "Vector Art".