I've got multiple paths which, together, create a single sprite in Illustrator. I'm trying to merge the paths in order to apply a gradient to the whole thing; however, Pathfinder does nothing, and just joining the paths closes open paths and gives me unwanted, and very visible, jagged edges. Is there any other way to combine multiple paths to make them act as a single object, or apply a gradient to multiple paths as if they were a single object?
Have you tried using compound paths? Select all of your paths that you'd like to combine, and select object > compound path > make. Alternatively, the keyboard shortcut is command+8 (ctl+8 for windows) This will definitely allow you to apply the gradient across the entire set of paths.