If you’ve created gradients in previous versions of Adobe Illustrator, you will love the improvements in CS4. The new on-object Gradient controller lets you intuitively manipulate the gradient position and angle.
Want to change the color of a gradient stop? Hover near the gradient controller and the stops appear. Double-click on a stop, and an instance of the Swatches panel appears next to the stop. Choose a new color, then press Return or Enter to dismiss the Swatches. To add a stop, just click on the bottom edge of the gradient controller. You can even control the opacity for each stop along the gradient.
So far so good.
But I’ve discovered that some objects refuse to display a gradient controller. If you convert text to outlines, then apply a gradient, you’ll see the controller for an instant as you drag across the newly-created shape, but that’s it. The controller immediately disappears and you can’t have any of the fun I’ve described above.
You can’t use the gradient controller with grouped objects, or multiple selected individual objects. With Pathfinder-created objects, it gets even more confusing: if you Expand the object, it will display the gradient controller. Un-Expanded objects will have to be ungrouped first (even though the object may seem to be a single object). As for selecting multiple objects, you just can’t use the gradient controller: you can drag across multiple selected objects with the Gradient tool, but the controller disappears when you release the mouse button. To use the gradient controller, you have to address each object separately,
For text converted to outlines, try one of these approaches:
- Ungroup grouped objects (Object<Ungroup).
- Use the Direct Selection tool (white arrow) to modify just one point on the shape (move an anchor point the tiniest bit, or a yank on one of the direction handles), and somehow you release the inner gradient controller for the shape. Once you’ve done this, all is well, and all the swell on-object gradient options are available.