Animation in Adobe Illustrator (Layer based) – Method 1

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create animations in Adobe Illustrator. Mostly Adobe Flash or similar software programs are used to create animations but those who don’t have enough knowledge of Flash can use this technique to create animations. Adobe Illustrator is generally used for designing but you can also animate your designs by exporting layers data as frames.Before starting this tutorial I highly recommend you to have the basic knowledge of Illustrator Layers. Let’s take a look what we are going to create.

A cool looking animated text effect. Let’s get into it.


animation in illustrator

Create a document of desired dimensions then write your text that you want to animate. I already have some text on the artboard.


animation in illustrator

Now, right click on the text and click on Convert to Outlines (Ctrl + Alt + O) option from the pop up menu. Right click on the text again and click on Ungroup (Ctrl + U) to ungroup the alphabets.

Step 3

animation in illustrator

Now, Select the text and copy it by pressing Ctrl + C and lock the Layer 1. Create a new layer and press Ctrl + F to paste the text in the exact same place. Select first alphabet from the text and move it little bit upwards using arrow keys.

Tip: Use Shift + Arrow keys to move your object faster.

Step 4

animation in illustrator

We have to repeat the same process for each alphabet so copy the text from Layer 2 and lock the layer. Create a new layer and press Ctrl + F to paste the text at the place. Now, move the first alphabet back to it’s original place and move the second alphabet upwards.

Step 5

animation in illustrator

It is quite confusing process to follow so let me explain it in more detail. We have to follow these simple steps to do it correctly.

Copy » Lock the layer » create new layer » Paste » manipulating the text » copy (see image)

Step 6

animation in illustrator

After repeating the same process of copy, pasting and adjusting stuff with all the alphabets, you should have something like this (see image).

Step 7

animation in illustrator

Now, go to File > Export…, it will bring up the Export dialog. Give your file a name and select *.swf file format from save as type dropdown and click on Save button.

Step 8

animation in illustrator

After clicking on save button, Adobe Illustrator will pop up SWF Options dialog. Under SWF Options dialog, set Export as dropdown to export AI layers to SWF Frames. Now, click on Advanced button to reveal some advanced options. Set the desired frame fate, I am using 15 fps for the current one and turn on Looping checkbox.

Step 9

animation in illustrator

Layer Order
By making use of Layer Order you can control the starting point of the animation.

Bottom Up
In the Bottom Up layer order, the animation starts from bottom layers and end with the upper layers.
Top Down
In the Top Down layer order, the animation starts from Top layers and end with the bottom layers.

Step 10

animation in illustrator

If you have any common object (static/ non-animated) in your animation then just export it as static layer. In my case I have my background object common in every frame so I am exporting it as static layer. Click OK to complete the exporting process.

Step 11

Here’s our final animation.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. You can create some more cool animations using this technique. For you problems and suggestions just email me or leave your comment below in the comment section. Thanks