Month: March 2011

How to Edit a Gradient with the Eye Dropper Tool in Illustrator

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Adobe Illustrator CS4 has a very frustrating object gradient editing tool.  Chances are that you already have the colors of your gradient somewhere in your artwork but not necessarily have spent the time to create a swatch for it.  It would be much easier if Illustrator actually let you choose your color stop colors with an eye dropper tool.  Actually it does–but it isn’t very obvious.  Here are the steps:

Step 1 – Select your shape with the selection tool.

Step 2 – Open the gradient palette and select the color stop whose color you wish to change (notice the triangle above the color has a black fill).

Step 3 – Change to the eye dropper tool (or press “i”)

Step 4 – It is very important that you hold down the shift key when you click to pick up a color or else the gradient will be replaced with a solid color but now the color stop is using your newly-chosen color!

How to Apply a Gradient to a Shape’s Stroke in Illustrator

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Adobe Illustrator CS4 does not let you directly apply special styling such as a gradient on the stroke of a shape but there is a workaround.  This post walks you through the process to get it done.

Step 1 – Draw the shape.


Step 2 – Add a stroke to the shape by choosing Effect – Path – Outline Stroke.


Step 3 – The stroke appears with a solid color.


Step 4 – Convert the solid stroke into a separate object by choosing Object – Path – Outline Stroke.

Step 5 – You now have separate objects so you can select the stroke separately to make changes.


Step 6 – Finally, you can apply a gradient style on the separated stroke object and can apply other effects like a drop shadow.  Rearrange the order of the 2 objects so that the drop shadow of the stroke does not cover up the inner shape.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Disappearing Dock Icons

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I occasionally see one or two icons in my Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard dock show up as completely transparent.  I can still click in that area to launch the application but that slot in the dock shows up empty.

I found a solution that brings the icons back (this could just be a temporary fix):

  1. Right-click the icon and choose Options – Show In Finder so that you can easily locate it in a future step.
  2. Drag the transparent icon away from the dock so that it turns into a puff of smoke.
  3. Open Applications – Utilities – Terminal then type “killall Dock” to restart the Dock
  4. From the window opened in step 1, drag the icon back into the dock where it was before