Why does this AI Illustrator clipping mask not work?

Below is a link to a very simple AI file that represents the issue I am having.


I am trying to get the dots to be coloured by the gradient behind. Please could someone explain why I can’t create a clipping mask with the two objects in the artwork? I have tried all manner of manipulations of the circles in to paths, expanding, grouping, etc

screenshot of objects in file

I don’t understand why it’s not working. I would really appreciate 1 minute of an experienced Illustrator user’s time to answer this conundrum. I am not a novice.

Many thanks.


You need a single path to create a clipping mask. You can’t use a group of objects or objects with effects etc (the effects would be disregarded anyway).

Simple fix: Select all of your circles and create a compound path (Object → Compound Path → Make or Ctrl / cmd+8). Compound paths essentially treat a group of paths as one single path, allowing you to use that path for a clipping mask.

Source : Link , Question Author : Rhecil Codes , Answer Author : Cai

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