I've learned that the way to apply a gradient to live text is to assign no fill at the character level, then add a second fill and apply a gradient to it. I never knew I could achieve the same effect by converting live text to a compound shape, then applying the gradient directly. Has this option always existed unbeknownst to me, or did it become a new feature somewhere along the way? And is there any reason not to use this compound shape method instead of the (slightly more cumbersome) new fill technique?
You don't need to remove the fill at character level, just give it a new one at the object level, above the Characters.
The reason not to convert your text to a compound shape is that it would be no longer text.
None of ths is a new feature.
In a compound shape text stays text.
The method itself is simpler than using the appearance panel.
But the original fill stay inside the compound shape as well and would need to be deleted (in order to make certain that it doesn't show)
Whoops, of course. A compound shape is an appearance.
But if you Expand the Compound Shape, you get outlined text.
And the original fill takes less kindly to its being covered and tries hard to show (that it is still there), so it is always safer to take it out (or ouch).
So I see. Sneaky of it.
Thanks for the confirmation, Monika. Has this Compound Shape method always been an alternative to the Add New Fill method? I stumbled on it by accident just before I posted this question and had never heard of it before.
In my little tests, I notice that the original fill color of text (the color assigned before type is converted to a Compound Shape and given a grdient) is not nearly as insistent on being seen as the Character level fill when a new fill is applied to create the gradient. In fact, the only way I've been able to tell that the original fill survives when the text is converted to a Compound Shape is to release the shape. When it's released, the original color is restored.
It exists in earlier versions, but I wouldn't consider it obvious either. Making a compound shape out of a single object is rather unintuitive and the command to do so is rather hidden.
I've never seen this method advertised. So maybe in some communities it is a widely used alternative, but not in the ones that I frequently take part in.
Once again, Ms. Gause, a genuinely informative pleasure.
And thank you for your kind words.