Copy Sketch layers to After Effects with Sketch2AE

This isn’t going to be a long one guys but I wanted to get this out there sooner than later because I’ll forget and never post this.

We all love Sketch right now (as we wonder about Invision Studio) and using it has been a great addition to any designers workflow whatever you may be doing, though its usually UI design of some sort. Its great, love it, wonderful.

OH yeah thats right. I used to do lots of great animations in photoshop and after effects to concept out how things might move, change, etc. What do I do now? ENTER Sketch2AE! It does exactly what it says it does…move sketch layers over to AE very nicely I might add. Created by Google’s motion design studio and released to all of us plebians.

I’ll post the link below and some quick lessons learned.

Sketch2AE link

**For all things install related please see the site. I am just posting a couple of lessons learned while using and issues you’ll run into when importing assets**

  1. Read the instructions on the site carefully and multiple times. Its pretty simple but can be tricky the first couple times.
  2. If you select “copy layers” from the Sketch plugin menu it will ask you to save those layers assets to a folder. I recommend creating a specific motion folder for your project and an assets folder. Keep organized (folder structures) as I dumped everythign in one folder and that was a mistake.
  3. Create comps from your symbols. You can select your entire artboard and import it at once but its sooo much more useful to copy your symbols and other groupings and make your own compositions out of each. I think we already know this but it takes advantage of after effects natural abilities.
  4. DO NOT USE BULLETS IN SKETCH!!! I can’t stress this enough. I had lots of troubles using this program until I went through layer by layer trying to export things into AE. Turns out…it doesn’t like bullet points right now. If you need bullet points then mock up your own (which is probably better anyways since bullets in sketch stink anwyays). ***UPDATE: I also found out that if you copy and paste text over from another program, site, pdf, it may keep some of the previous styling that will be incompatibale with the Sketch2AE plugin.

Having these items in your sketch file will cause an error message to appear. “Error on line xxxxx” message means there is some asset in your design that isn’t compatible and is causing issues. This is another reason piecemealing your design is smart. Helps you pinpoint issues. From what I’ve experienced its either been one of the above two reasons. Again, bullets in sketch and/or left over styling from copy and pasted text.

Enjoy the wonderfullness. Once you’ve figured out its quirks it really makes for a simple transition to starting your after effects adventures. If you have more reasons why sketch2ae is bugging out please comment and let us know!

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Experience Designer @slalom. Founder, designer, and Illustrator @wattle_n_daub. Boring people to death with UX, illustration, typography, and identity design.

Experience Designer @slalom. Founder, designer, and Illustrator @wattle_n_daub. Boring people to death with UX, illustration, typography, and identity design.