"In the past" means: with a different system? or with a different version of PDFlatex?
It can't be a different version of Illustrator, because obviously you haven't changed your version for years.
BTW: Illustrator CS5 is not fully compatible with Sierra. Apple software can't handle all PDF content. And we don't know what's inside the PDF there seems to be transparency?
Would need to know a lot more detail, but I doubt that this can be solved in this forum.
Thanks for your reply. As with all systems, they are continually upgraded.
1. pdflatex is upgraded with every version of TexLive. So yes, I am using a newer version of pdflatex.
2. And a newer version of MacOS.
3. The illustration was created more than a year ago, originally I think with CS5. But opening it, tweaking and saving again with CC 2018 leads to the same problem.
4. Yes, there is some transparency in the bars.
Happy to provide as much detail as you want, in or outside this forum.
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So basically you have the same file as in 2015.
It worked then.
But now you have a different version of pdflatex and it doesn't work?
To me this looks like there's something broken in pdflatex.